Saturday, 4 December 2021

Boosting our immunity. Out and about in the wild and windy weather. Feeling fortunate.

Well, we’ve had our booster! We received our “invitation” while we were in Portugal but were unable to organise it immediately. So on our return we set about booking ourselves into the system. As ever, we were given the opportunity to travel half way across Greater Manchester for a vaccination but finally settled for Lees, not quite on our doorstep but closer than some places offered. 

So this morning we trotted off to catch a bus and then walked for about 15 minutes to get to the health centre in Lees. Normally that would not have been a problem but today is particularly wet and windy, just for a change. All in all, it’s the sort of day when you wouldn’t go anywhere unless you absolutely had to. 

When we located the centre, there seemed to be a queue, which did not bode well. The prospect of standing outside in the cold was not really inviting. However, it turned out that the queue was for the chemist next door and we had to make our way round to the back of the building to find our way in. All very confusing.

Inside it was all brisk efficiency, at least four nurses sticking needles in peoples arms and other helpers checking when nurses were available. Cries of “I’m free but I have no vaccine!” rang out from time to time but on the whole all went smoothly.

We were asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving, just in case we had an immediate adverse reaction. So far, however, we have had no reaction at all. Let’s hope that continues to be the case.

Leaving the health centre, we headed for a bus stop, hoping to be able to catch a bus to Uppermill and maybe coordinate there with the service to Delph. But the bus that goes through Lees and on to Uppermill occasionally stops at Grotton - the middle of nowhere unless you live there - and goes no further. This was the case for the bus due two minutes after our arrival at the stop. The next was in another 15 minutes! And it was still raining hard and blowing a bit of a gale! And there was no bus shelter at the stop!

So we gave in and made our way to the taxi rank to see if a taxi was available. Five minutes later we were on our way home with a chatty driver who gave us his coronavirus story. When the lockdown was threatened he took the decision go to Pakistan to visit his mother, who always complained he did not visit often enough. He would have been bored stuck at home, he declared. He returned in July and two weeks later was in hospital with the virus. No idea where and from whom he contracted it! Fortunately he survived. He’s been back to Pakistan again since then and regaled us with tales of the amount of paperwork needed, and how nobody even looked at his Passenger Locator Form. After he dropped us off I reflected that maybe his to-ing and fro-ing had actually contributed to the spread of the virus. 

We’ll never know, of course, and he was just one of many doing that kind of escapism. 

As we struggled to prevent our umbrellas from blowing inside out, I was grateful to know that we had a warm house to return to. I thought of the people in the North East of the country and up in Scotland who have gone for days and days without power, all thanks to Storm Arwen. According to the latest news broadcast there are still about 5,000 households without electricity. The lucky ones have gas hobs so they can cook warm food. Others have fires and stoves to feed with coal and wood and are managing to heat up some water or soup and at least are able to keep part of the house warm. But many are just barely surviving. 

I said it was all thanks to Storm Arwen but according to my brother-in-law, an electrical engineer who used to work for one of the power companies, cuts over the last decade or so have meant that the infrastructure has not been well maintained. Hmm! Whose fault is that? So maybe some of Storm Arwen’s effects might have been avoided! Who knows!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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