Tag Archives: Covid vaccination

In which my plans go mainly right . . .

I didn’t feel great this morning, so used it as an excuse not to go for my blood test. It was just a walk-in at the hospital, so I didn’t have a slot and that made it easier. Not much easier, as I still had a Covid vaccination booked for 8.30. Moving slowly, as I was, it was a little marginal, but I was in line for 8.25. The system has improved a lot since the first vaccinations, and I was in and out in ten minutes, though I did have to wait in the car for fifteen minutes. It seems you aren’t insured for fifteen minutes after a vaccination, This is something the insurance company never tells you.

Then it was off to Julia’s dental appointment. This was interesting, as they have a car park, which they share with the health centre. I have nothing to base this on, but looking at the cars, I would estimate that most of the car park was taken up by staff. This something to remember when relying on the parking for my appointment. Then it was time for a trip to the jeweller for some information (and a pair of geometric white gold ear rings) before going home.

Seaside postcard c 1950s

We had lunch then – nice healthy avocados with prawns and toast (and eggs in Julia’s case. I did a little editing and then went out to collect my prescription (which I had been told would be ready yesterday). Note the technique I use here – it is called “dramatic foreshadowing”. The plan, after that, was to fill the car up, as the fuel warning light went off yesterday.

So, there I was, standing in line at the pharmacy, when I was told they had just had it delivered and were packing it now. Thank goodness I hadn’t made a special trip yesterday. It took around 20 minutes, and I was able to see many more people being messed about, so at least I know it is general inefficiency, not just personally aimed at me.

That set me back a little, but even so, it was a bit early for rush hour when I started to queue on the main road. It was raining slightly too, and there seemed to be a competition for the World’s Worst Driver going on. They seem to have had, based on what I see, several heats this week, followed by today, which, I hope, was the Grand Final.  I hope so, because I’m not sure I can keep dodging idiots as they hurl themselves at me.

The tank of fuel was £8 cheaper than it had been last time I filled up from empty. However, it was also about the cost of filling up my old Ford Escort in the late 70s. How times change.

There had been two sets of roadworks on the way, so I decided to take a different way back (I am recovering the navigational skills I seem to have lost during lockdown). The new route avoided the major queues but still took me back through two more sets of roadworks. You wonder what degree of planning goes into this. I’m sure with another couple of strategically placed temporary traffic lights hey could have brought traffic to a complete standstill.

That was the end of my day. We had ginger biscuits, followed by TV then cauliflower cheese, broccoli, sprouts and potato wedges followed by more TV.

All in all, a frustrating day, but I ma vaccinated, Julia is well on the way to completion of her treatment, I have pills and I have fuel to last for the erst of the month (we don’t drive far these days).

On the negative side, fuel is expensive, the queues were irksome, the pharmacist inefficient (surprise!) and my arm is just starting to ache a little bit at the site of the vaccination.

Seaside postcard c 1960s

Today I am using seaside postcards to lighten the mood, though they don’t seem as funny now as they did in the 1960s. This is a bowdlerised seelction, as some of the others are definitely unsuitable for the blog.


It was a slightly surreal experience, leaving the house just after midnight to go for a vaccination. However, despite my misgivings about the lack of clarity in the time of the appointment, we were there for 00.20 and left at 01.00. It would have been quicker but there was, according to Julia, a lot of duplication of information (having filled in a form on-line you have to fill another one in when you get there and then answer the same questions again to a real person). It’s all very bureaucratic and time consuming, which is typical of the NHS.

The vaccination centre is in a building at the Forest Recreation Ground Park and Ride. I would post photos but when I turned my camera on I found I’d left the card in the computer after downloading the fish pie photos.

After the vaccination (which was administered by military personnel) she had to wait fifteen minutes to be released – having to give her details again before they finally let her out.

It seems that they were able to start vaccination of front line staff earlier than planned because they had an unexpected supply of vaccine. The original date had been the second week in February.

It was noticeable, from the increase in pinging on Julia’s phone this afternoon, that something was happening. She checked and found that the code had been released to allow  front-line staff to book vaccination slots. The early adopters seem to be all the cowardly stay-at-home types who have been refusing to come into work at Mencap. They are keen to take the wages, but not quite so keen to actually go to work and help the people they are supposedly there to support. However, show them a vaccine code and they are on it like a pack of dogs. Because they stay at home they are actually at no more risk than I am, but they have all leapt in to claim their priority vaccination.

Two of the Mencap workers have already been vaccinated – one because they are also employed by the NHS and another because they exploited a loophole (now closed). I heard last week that two twenty-somethings had been given a vaccination because a friend rang to tell them there was some left-over vaccine at a local centre. I mention them here only as an example of how the vaccine is not been administered uniformly, as they did nothing wrong.

It is now a case of waiting to see if I get my first dose before Julia gets her second.

While I was waiting I noticed a number of cars with middle-aged men in them waiting for their womenfolk to return. It seems that we stick to certain stereotypes in the UK, even in the 21st century; the women work in the caring professions and the men do the driving.

I thought I’d add that so a 22nd Century PhD student of Pandemic Britain might one day unearth my blog and find a nugget of knowledge.


My New Saturday

Before lockdown, my old Saturdays were spent in the shop. The morning was a bit hectic because I didn’t have to get Julia to work. This may seem counter-intuitive, but free time gave me the opportunity to make choices, which didn’t help. I was often only just in time, whereas I am normally an hour early when I take her to work during the week.

In lockdown I am free to watch Sharpe. It’s not, I admit, jane Austen, but it makes up in humour and action what it lacks in culture. It’s a reminder of simpler times when good always triumphed (in stories, at least) and we were still allowed to have violence and to look down on the French. Oh, how I miss those days.

Saturday afternoons in the shop were the social times, when people used to come in for a chat, as well as to buy things. I tend to have lunch after Sharp (avocado with prawns and Marie Rose dressing for me, mashed avocado on toast with poached eggs for Julia – the eggs were slightly overdone but at least they held together this week). Then I snooze as Jessica Fletcher rabbits on. I really should do something, but  a man needs to recharge his batteries.

Late afternoon, I rose from my recharging and messed about on the internet. It was mainly watching eBay. I lost one lot (being underbidder once more) and secured  a second lot for a very reasonable price.

Then I made fish pie in my quick and easy style. Soften some leeks (I had some green tops – you could use onions) and mushrooms. Add flour, add milk, make a sort of white sauce. Add the fish from the pack – salmon, smoked haddock and something white- and throw in sweetcorn and frozen peas. Let it cook gently.

Meanwhile, take the potatoes off the heat (yes, I forgot to mention boiling the potatoes, sorry about that). Mash with a little butter and some mustard. These are not American mashed potatoes so go easy on the butter.  And don’t add milk. You don’t need to.

Fish Pie with potato topping – the dark bits are the mustard seeds from the Dijon mustard in the mustard mash

Add some prawns (I had some from the pack we had for lunch), warm them through, pour the sauce into the dish, add the potato on top and stick it under the grill. I did put cheese on top, I confess, just to show off. With hindsight, it added nothing to the flavour and didn’t look as good as a nice pattern of lines browned under the grill.

You can add more seasoning and some herbs but tonight I just kept it simple.

I’m now marking time until I take Julia for her Covid Vaccination . It’s either half past midnight (which I think of as 00.30) or it’s half past mid-day (which I think of as 12.30). Unfortunately the booking site and the confirmation email use both times for the same thing. We will be going down just after midnight and I will report back.

I’m not good at food photography and I promise it was more appetising than it looks here.