Judging by the expansive and excitable chatter that took place when my wife responded to a telephone call, I was convinced we must have won the lottery! As it turned out, it was a telephone call for me from Ambleside Health Centre. Times and dates were being discussed when Gill’s mobile phone played a tune and an appointment had been made.
“We are going to Grange on Saturday,” I was told.
“Isn’t that the place where old people go to die,” I said, “and then they forget to?”
It turned out we were going for “the jab.” The family were informed on WhatsApp, of which I am the only non-member. I remember two of the replies: one from our youngest grandson which said “long live G & G” and the other from our daughter in Krakow, beseeching us to have at least one garlic clove a day before we were vaccinated!
As Saturday approached, there was a nervous anticipation and worry about getting there. Would the car break down? What time would we have to leave? Since March, we had been to Kendal once and to Sawrey for a walk by the lake. It was a beautiful day on Saturday and we left early to locate the home of some friends who had moved into Fell Road. We went via Bowness, which was deserted, and enjoyed a beautiful journey by the side of the lake and then through Lindale to Grange. We found Fell Road, but not the home of our friends and arrived far too early at the Centre behind the Fire Station.
We were warmly greeted by the many volunteer marshals, who directed us to the large car park and told us to go to the centre 5 mins before our appointment. Surveying the sunny scene, I could have imagined that I was in Benidorm or Playa de las Americas in January with retired gentlefolk, slowly making their way to a Taverna for a glass of sangria before supper! Wheelchairs were eagerly brought to help those in need and masks were fitted for those who didn’t want them on. Time soon went, as we chatted to some of the many from Ambleside and Grasmere.
At the appointed time, we walked the short distance to the centre, and guided by another team of volunteers to collect our appointment slips and then to the treatment rooms. There was a nurse and a doctor in the room, who carefully explained the procedure and administered the vaccine, gave us a card and slip for our next appointment in a few weeks (neither of us could remember how many!) We will be contacted by the health centre with details of when and where. After a 15 mins. stay in a lounge of sanitised chairs, we left by a different route, seeing at least two volunteers from Rotary. Overall, it was a very professionally organised affair and stress free.
The journey back was a bonus, leaving just at sunset, with an ever deepening red sky, most intense as we headed for Bannerigg and enjoyed it all the way home. A glorious ending to an event of great significance. No bad effects were experienced other than a sore arm for a couple of days and Gill feeling a little off colour on Sunday.
My little tale of the Virus and Vaccination is designed to let you know that there is much to be thankful for in this uncertain time. The interconnectedness of Science, politics, our wonderful community and heroic NHS gives us much hope for the future and Gill and I congratulate and thank all of those who made this possible. By the time you read this, I hope that there is evidence to underscore our optimism. I also hope that this difficult time in our history will be a turning point when the world wakes up to the need to treat our planet with respect and to deliver a better and fairer life for all, not just the few.