It’s not flu, it’s me

For reasons that were never made clear, as Hunter S. Thompson used to say, I had my first Astra-Zeneca Covid injection yesterday. I don’t know why. Ok, the six thing on my date of birth might have been it, but I’ve heard of people over 70 not having had it yet, so I’m a tad confused. So far as I know, I don’t have any underlying health conditions, apart from the DVT business where I came very close to being very dead indeed, but that was fifteen years ago and all sorted out. So far as I know.

Last week I had an interview about communicating to minority communities about the need to get vaccinated. I thought it was going to be creating communications and that, which I’m quite good at. It was much more about going into care homes, which isn’t something I’d feel very comfortable with at all. I spent years in an old people’s home when I was a kid. It’s a long story. I still like hyacinths. I don’t like wing-back chairs. Especially in wipe-down Naugahyde. In orange. All I’m saying for now.

Anyway, I got a text out of the blue on Friday. I’m eligible for the jab. Go online and book it. So I did.

The first available slot was next day, which didn’t really suit, but the day after did so I went along to Woodbridge Community Hall at 08:45. It didn’t suit either really to be out of bed and doing stuff at that time on a Sunday, but I quite wanted not to get Covid so needs must.

You just go along, they ask for an ID number on the text they sent, they sanitise the chair, you sit down, they ask you if you’ve got Covid and if you’ve had the jab before and if you’re going to have an allergic reaction to anything you know about. Then they inject you.

At one time in my life not unrelated to DVT, for about a week I had to have injections about every fifteen minutes. I didn’t like injections before that. I wouldn’t say I liked them now, but after being jabbed every quarter hour you do become a bit habituated to it. When I got on a plane after that I had to inject myself. Or maybe die, so it was up to me, really. With that amount of injections you get to know who’s good at them and who isn’t. Nurses are. Doctors, by and large, aren’t. At the Community Hall they use nurses. Good.

I hardly felt it. Practice makes perfect. There were some after effects. I had a slightly sore arm about five minutes later, but nothing very troubling. About eight hours later I ached all over and had a slightly more sore arm, as I had when I woke up this morning, clear headed but otherwise feeling dehydrated (I wasn’t) and as if I was having a very mild dose of flu apart from the consolation dream/trance state I’ve always quite liked. The odd thing was that while I ached all over, as soon as I moved the ache stopped. Devoted Partner said that was how she felt all the time anyway.

So that’s it. I booked the second dose as soon as I could, which turns out to the towards the end of April. I haven’t found myself gravitating unaccountably towards 5G phone masts. I haven’t suddenly felt an irresistible compulsion to buy shares in Microsoft. I might short Pratt & Whitney but I’m pretty sure that’s more because they seem to have forgotten how to make airplane engines that work properly, rather than any mind-control stuff injected into me.

It’s really simple, just like everything to do with Covid. You can do what you can to stop it spreading. Or you can act like a selfish prick. It doesn’t really matter how you dress it up about access to information and communications strategies – everyone with a mobile phone has got Google, choice and free will. I chose to listen to the BMA rather than someone who does their research sitting on the loo. It really, seriously, is that simple.

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Parrall lines

Pretty much all I need.

Boats give you a wonderful opportunity to spend money you didn’t know you had spare. Usually. The oddest thing about the Drascombe Lugger I bought myself last year is (whisper who dares..) it doesn’t really need anything bought for it.

My thoughtful partner insisted on giving me a 4hp Honda outboard for Christmas, whether to avoid rowing or to make sure I spent rather a lot more on her Christmas present than perhaps I’d originally planned, so that expense wasn’t an option. Some rowlocks came from the local Facebook marketplace thing, so that was £1 left on a doorstep.

We got new lifejackets last August and amazing strobe personal lights at a boat jumble just before the first lockdown – every time we go to that it’s absolutely freezing but worth it to pick up Jotun strobes for £10 when the first time I’d bought them 12 years ago they were nearer £50. Like any emergency gear, the best you can hope for is that they’ll prove a total waste of money by never having to use them.

So I was a bit stuck for something to spend money on. Luckily I looked at the parrall. In case you’ve never heard of one (in which case you don’t have a Drascombe) it’s a bit of string with some beads on. Not for your neck. To go around the yard and the mast. It’s not supposed to fix it tight, just to keep it roughly there. And the one that came with my boat was manky.

We have Webb Brothers, a very, very good odds and in this case ends shop in Church Street in Woodbridge, where outside lockdown they sell odd ends of rope in hanks in a basket outside, the way they do in films. That’s where I bought the white line in the picture. The first idea was a new, shiny parrall, but then I thought that might come in handy round the top of the mast, with some epoxy resin on it too, in case it ever looks like splitting. Or just because it looks right. The little metal clips were from EBay, to put a high-tech quick-release on the parrall. As one does.

The red and green line was just too tempting to leave in the basket. On the Drascombe Lugger the main sheet runs through a block on a traveller bar. The block has a habit of smacking into the gunwale, because there’s nothing to stop it. It makes a noise and it’s just not right, so I thought a metre or so of line wrapped around the traveller, green for starboard, port for left (the handy way to remember being either that’s the way you pass the port, or less yah, port and left have the same number of letters. I meant one passes the port, obvs.).

Well under £10 for all of it. As conspicuous consumption goes it’s not very good, is it?

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Bunged up

I haven’t done any open mic nights or any other performance for a couple of weeks. And I’m getting antsy about it.

About three weeks ago, but maybe four, I got what I thought was hayfever. I haven’t had hayfever this bad for years, not just the sneezing (but suspiciously not much of that) and sore throat but eyes full of crud every morning as well as being itchy all day long and that horrible feeling in my legs as if I’ve had a massive electric shock and that never very pleasant pain in the kidneys. And a cough. And a really sore throat. And feeling tired all the time.

I don’t generally get ill, no more than one cold a year, but this was a big one. The net result has been I’ve gone temporarily deaf in one ear, which is ringing out white noise all the time anyway. It means I can’t hear how loud I am and I can’t accurately hear my own voice full stop.

So all in all, it’s not great for performing. I’m a little concerned about it, because I was enjoying doing it and the three-piece band that seem to have assembled behind me were really getting it together and transforming the spoken word stuff I do into something very much better.

That and the police. Last time I went to Woodbridge I got breathalysed. That was fine. I don’t drink and drive, or not over the limit, anyway. But although the breathalyser thing tested nil alcohol, which was odd in itself as I’d had two small glasses of red wine so it should have shown something, there were a lot of odd things about the whole stop, as we road-warrior non-criminals call it. So much so that a friend whose husband was a police officer until he was killed told me ‘it’s not what you think it is. Watch out.’

Back when I lived in Trowbridge a policeman saw a police van parked up at the side of the road so he went over for a chat, tapped on the window and found it wasn’t Gary Robbins’ dad, the PC who usually had the van. It was someone else entirely. Someone not actually in the police. And it wasn’t a police van either. As things got odder and odder at the side of the road I remembered all that happening and wondered if it was the same thing. My friend refusing to say what it was if it wasn’t what I thought it was in a Facebook private message creeped me out a bit too.

So that’s why I haven’t done any spoken word recently. I’m bunged up. But for the moment at least I’m not banged up too.

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