Well finally I had my COVID19 booster jab today in a church hall connected to St Peter and St Oswald's Church on Abbeydale Road. The vaccination centre seemed to be staffed entirely by people from South Asian and African communities. Not all of them spoke English fluently and comprehension difficulties were exacerbated by the masks they were wearing.
After my jab I had to sit in the waiting area for fifteen minutes with others who had just been vaccinated.
A big man with a striped stick entered the vaccination centre. There were two young African men at the reception desk. The big man was asked for his name but with the African accents and the masks he didn't understand them at first. When the penny dropped he said in a booming voice, "I'M ALAN BIRD!" It echoed around the quiet church hall. Then because of some confusion, he bellowed even louder, "I'M ALAN BIRD!"
The young African said quietly, "You mean like a bird that flies in the sky?"
"AYE- JUST LIKE THAT! B-I-R-D. BIRD! I'M ALAN BIRD!"
Alan Bird gave his date of birth - ten years older than me. Then he shuffled from reception to registration and on to the curtained booth that I had been in to receive my booster jab from a rather miserable South Asian nurse whose demeanour said loud and clear, "I am only here for the money".
"WHAT YELLOW LINE?" Alan Bird said and then twice more, "I'M ALAN BIRD!"
After the booster, I went round to Frances and Stew's house which is very close by. Little Phoebe positively grinned when she saw me wander in. Almost ten months since she was born, she is just starting to crawl and she can now raise herself up to a sitting position. Her little fingers are able to press buttons in a targeted way to set off music in books or toys. Then she nods her head as she listens.
It has been lovely to observe her development. Somehow I had forgotten so much of that stuff from when Ian and Frances were babies. Time may possess healing powers but it also has the ability to blur our memories quite ruthlessly.
It was Guy Fawkes Night this evening - also known as Bonfire Night. Outside there were some loud bangs and rockets bursting in the sky causing sparkly fountains. But it's nothing like it was when I was a boy. Back then it was one of the best and most eagerly anticipated days of the year.
Lasting memories of it still make me smile. The "guy" being eaten by the flames. The jacket potatoes and the toffee apples. Pocket money fireworks coming out of their tins. The smell of gunpowder and the sense of danger as penny bangers exploded and catherine wheels span round madly on nails. You watched wild amber flames leaping high into the night sky and in the morning light you surveyed the still smoking embers of the bonfire and the spent remains of fireworks. Twelve long months later it would all happen again. Did we really have to wait so long?
The pace at which babies and young children learn is astonishing. Jack's language skills have exploded lately. I imagine you and Mrs. Pudding are delighted to have Phoebe home.ReplyDelete
It's too bad you didn't take a photo of ALAN BIRD! I would loved to have seen a photo of him. I've found that between masks and plexiglass and accents, I often can't understand people. I may need hearing aids.
I have a photo of Alan Bird in my head. He was shaped like a barrel and about five feet ten tall. His tie was skewed and his his checked shirt was bulging out of his trousers. He moved slowly.Delete
They used have a similar system here for vaccinations. It was nuts...a good place to spread the virus. Our pharmacies do most of it now....paper work and all.ReplyDelete
I felt very safe in there. We had to wear masks and there was good social distancing.Delete
Ye are a humourist as well as a poet. Can I hire ye for my funeral wake?ReplyDelete
My attempts at humour ends with a ned saying, *You tryin tae be funny pal?*
I say Aye to the jacket potatoes and Naw to the taffy apples. Tooth hygiene.
Call me Glaswegian, gunpowder in the air puts me in the mood for a wee dark rum.
Only I stopped drinking liquor years ago. A glass of wine or a small German lager.
Glad ye got your booster, Shirley as a nurse is in the front line.
I get my booster soon from the mosque in the Gorbals, my flu vaccine from Boots, and a kindly nurse rang me up to book me in for a shingles jab in December.
I had my pneumococcal (a word James Joyce would have savoured) a year ago.
What is it with the fruit loops who are anti-vaccine?
I blame Fox Not The News and Skyshite: I left cheeky comments on the lies they have been spouting about COP26 and Greta Thunberg (YouTube).
Lord Beaverbrook's Express would not have sunk as low as Murdoch's well-paid drones.
"Friends, we are gathered here today to mark the passing of John Fauntleroy Haggerty. There he lies in yon cardboard coffin fuming in his rigidity because he has finally been silenced. Not many of you know but John was passionate about Syrian hamsters and bred them in his tenement. Each morning he would read Proust to them or sometimes Dostoevsky before cleaning out their cages..." (I need to work on this)Delete
Don't you dare silence Haggerty, YP!!!! The world is in need of him right now. When he's done reading Proust to his hamsters, he is energized to take on the liars of this world.Delete
I had forgotten the excitement of new skills and awareness and how wonderful it is to watch babies develop. They are incredible little humans! Alan Bird sounds like a character.ReplyDelete
Imagine having to spell out Bird!Delete
Brighton used to have a big Bonfire Night; mostly on the beach. This year NOTHING. I'm still waiting for my booster, but I now hear it might be brought forward by a month.ReplyDelete
When you go for your booster, please remember to bellow at the top of your voice, "I'M CRO MAGNON!"Delete
I well remember how much I enjoyed reading the Bonfire Night scene in Headland, Neil. Since I have never attended such an event myself, your description will forever be the one I associate with it. Then of course, remember remember the 5th of November has a particular meaning for me, it being the anniversary of Steve‘s death.ReplyDelete
Soon, Phoebe will come running towards you when she spots you! 10 months, and she has already been to a different continent.
Alan Bird must have found the whole set up at the vaccination centre rather confusing.
I expect that Steve also had happy memories of Guy Fawkes nights around Wath-upon-Dearne.Delete
Poor Mr Bird. If he has hearing problems then a combination of masks and unfamiliar accents makes for an incredibly frustrating experience.ReplyDelete
You are right. Although he made me chuckle I had sympathy for him.Delete
They've banned the good fireworks. Remember jumping crackers? The smell of sparklers? Although some of the newer ones would get you arrested in the wrong place.ReplyDelete
Wonder if he's related to Dickie.
I caught a debilitating post-lockdown cold at the vaccination centre.
Certainly not related to The Bird of Paradise that's for sure. Sorry about your debilitating cold - the technical name for it is coronavirus.Delete
As I have heard here, our public vaxx staff are very good, friendly, caring and will explain in detail to hesitant people.ReplyDelete
Mr Bird sounds like a memorable shouty bloke.
I think grandparents take more notice of their grandchildren developing that they did of their own children. They are a bit less busy.
Your last point is very valid I believe.Delete
I dont hear too brilliantly either so masks and foreign accents don't help.ReplyDelete
Clarity in communication is important....I SAID CLARITY IN COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANT!Delete
I think a great deal has been lost because children do not have to wait anymore. It sounds very silly, I know. But I remember when I was a child, when we all gathered around a snowy black and white television to watch The Wonderful World of Disney, and the excitement of seeing the previews for next week's program...the full week of waiting for a favorite show. Now, a child looks at the menu and picks what they are going to watch. We were rarely allowed to go into town with my parents, so when it did happen, there was huge anticipation. Christmas. Oh my. I guess children still have that, but I remember the waiting, and how that wait imbued the most ordinary of things with a very special magic.ReplyDelete
You got it exactly Debby. Anticipation and patience are great things.Delete
Did Alan perform his Birdie Dance song after getting his vaccine?ReplyDelete
The chorus goes like this, "HAVEN'T YOU HEARD, I'M ALAN BIRD!"Delete
Of course we do not celebrate Guy Fawkes Day here. Sounds like a delightful excuse to have bonfires and fireworks and eat fun food.ReplyDelete
Good thing that assassination attempt failed four hundred years or so ago!
Also a good thing you got your booster.
It is sad to see the magic of Guy Fawkes Night fading away year by year.Delete
Yesterday a boy arrived at school late and was signing in (this happens at my desk) and he asked me the date. So I said, "Remember, remember, the 5th of November...." and he stared at me, totally nonplussed. So I recited the whole thing for him, and gave him a very brief summary of what Guy Fawkes night/bonfire night is all about in England. He said, "That's so cool!" as he took the pass I'd written him and headed off to class. :)ReplyDelete
Actually it wasn't "cool" because the fire got very hot!Delete
Poor Alan Bird, I can sympathise with him.ReplyDelete
I've been instructed to turn up at the local health centre next Thursday at 5 p.m. for my booster. Me, and probably a good percentage of the rest of the town's wrinklies. Chaos will no doubt ensue, as it did when I had my second jab. One nurse (usually very tiny but with a very loud voice) with a clipboard with our names on it. She will come out (we have to wait outside and rain is forecast for that afternoon) and shout out names - usually about half a dozen at a time - no more allowed in the building. The best fun the 15 minute wait afterwards, trying to keep 2m apart, as those vaccinated try to distance, and those waiting to be done, get mixed up as the nurse tries to speed things up and allow more people in for a quicker turnover!
You will have to remember your umbrella Carol. Good for keeping you dry and for fighting off Spaniards who try to get in your personal space.Delete
I'm laughing at your Alan Bird story. Our Bonfire Night was similar here -- we heard pops and bangs but that was about it.ReplyDelete
I wish you could have seen a typical Bonfire Night in the sixties.Delete
They have just opened up the booster shots here today to those other than healthcare workers or in Long term are homes. I won't qualify until the New Year but I'll be there as soon as possible. Had my flu shot last week and will schedule the shingles shots after my Covid booster - add in two pneumonia shots in the past year and no wonder the pharmacist asked if I was feeling a bit like a pin cushion yet!ReplyDelete
Your Phoebe is just lovely! I welcomed the arrival of a new great-niece a couple of days ago - it has been a high risk pregnancy and there were some difficulties during the delivery but mom and baby are both fine now and home safely so that's all that matters. I do think that it's around 10 months when they really begin to be their own little person and then they just come on so quickly with all that they learn each day! Enjoy your little one.
Thanks for a lovely comment Margie. Perhaps you need a few extra shots...tequila, gin, rum, vodka...Delete