Monday, 1 February 2021

What the postman brought. Praise for posties. Making vaccination appointments. Cold weather sleeping.

We received a Christmas card this morning, one of those with a photo of someone’s small children, cute or twee depending on your point of view, sending you the season’s greetings. In this case it was from my Spanish niece, or rather her children: “Samuel, Mireya y Adrián os desean Feliz Navidad”. Now, there are several possibilities as it is already the start of February:-

... the international postal service is totally rubbish and it has taken about 6 weeks for the card to arrive from Spain. Likelihood: HIGH!

... my niece has got her English mixed up and thought that Feliz Navidad meant Happy Birthday and it was meant to arrive for my birthday last Monday. Likelihood: LOW!

... my niece ordered these fancy photo cards and had some left over, realised that by next Christmas the children will all be a year older and so she decoded to send some out now anyway. Likelihood: MIDDLING!

I also received a pair of boots that I ordered weeks ago. It’s quite a miracle they arrived at all as the address was given as Delph, our postcode, Oldham. It says something for the efficiency of the local post office workers that they could not only managed associate the postcode with the correct road but to recognise the name and make a good guess that it might be this house. Well done, Posties!

And I received a letter from the NHS inviting me to go online and make an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination. So I duly did so, only to find that they were offering me vaccination centres on the other side of Manchester or in Holmfirth or Huddersfield. Difficult for me as we have no car. Now, it happened that while I was out and about this morning I spoke to two people who have just had their first dose. One of them advised me to ring 119 and tell them I had heard nothing yet. This is what he did and he was given an immediate appointment, I am afraid I don’t remember where. The other was an old chap in the post office, who had done the recommended thing: i.e. he waited for an invitation, made an appointment and had his vaccination this morning at ... wait for it ... our medical practice’s Delph surgery! 

The letter from the NHS said that if the centres they listed were too far away then you should try again later or wait for a letter from your GP. Our medical practice website says to await an invitation from them. The general advice is not to harass the providers as it will slow down the service. More vaccination centres are said to be opening every day, but maybe nobody has updated the NHS website to tell them that Delph is available. There is probably not a highly paid IT consultant working on the site every day! So I shall wait a little longer. I am not going to be able to go anywhere in a great hurry anyway.

It’s still very cold out. The mud puddles are nicely frozen. Last night I looked out late in the evening - rather like Good King Wenceslas - and saw a more or less clear sky, lots of stars and a bright, cold moon, waning now. I was supremely thankful not to be sleeping on the street. And this morning I read this article which informs me that there are about 8,000 homeless people, some of them families with small children, in Rome. Centres which have been open in the past have had to close or at the very least reduce their capacity because of Covid restrictions, meaning that about 3,000 people are sleeping on the streets of Italy’s capital city, in shop doorways and bus shelters and, where possible, underground stations. People have frozen to death! When we think of Rome, we conjure up young people sitting on the Spanish Steps in the sunshine, tourists queuing to visit the Vatican, fanning themselves as they wait, footsore walkers getting into trouble for bathing their hot feet in the fountains. We don’t imagine people freezing to death. 

But they have winter in Italy too. We once spent Christmas in Florence, another city we visualise under the summer sun, and have rarely been so cold - bright blue sky and sunshine and subzero temperatures! That’s one kind of Italian winter for you. 

Now, to cheer us up, here’s a little something from Michael Rosen:

Dear Dominic

It doesn't matter what we screw up, we stay ahead in the polls. To tell the truth, dear boy, it all feels like a bit of a jape. Don't hear from you at all. Where dost thou lurk? Not Chez Barnard, perhaps? Missing you.

Synthesis pubis


Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I ordered art supplies from Jackson's in England a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday I got an apologetic email telling me everything was delayed because of Covid and Brexit. So, I would bet on a six week delay of the international mail service to be the norm this year.