The letter inviting me to book for my coronavirus jab landed on the door mat this morning. It was tucked in between a leaflet inviting me to feast myself on pizza and a letter inviting me to consider installing a conservatory
on the back of my house. I only had the time and the energy to accept one invitation - so guess which one I chose?
I could have waited, as I had been intending
to do, for my local GP surgery to contact me with an appointment but I made the mistake of informing The Foursome about the letter. As one, they insisted I book up on-line straight away. I’m sure I am much more obedient, much more likely to do as I’m
told than they were when they were littl’uns.
I entered my NHS number (helpfully included at the top of the letter so I didn’t have to
go scrabbling in my Files of Important Stuff to find it) and my birth date (which I knew off by heart - some details are engraved in the memory, don’t you think?) Next, my post code to identify the nearest vaccination centre to my address. I assumed
the local GP surgery would be top of the list but no, my nearest centre was Brighton, twelve miles away, followed by Crawley and Guildford (both even farther away.) Should I really fancy making a day of it, the website indicated I could travel to Epsom Racecourse
(would I need to wear a fancy hat?) or I could stop off at a venue in Newcastle, should I happen to be passing on my way to heaven knows where. The Foursome, individually and collectively, were of one voice: Book at Brighton!
I have never had the experience of trying to book a major concert on-line but I understand it’s quite a performance (if you’ll excuse the pun.) Trying to book my jab this morning was similarly
challenging, made more so because I was helping Young Morgan with his latest English lesson at the same time. This involved listening to his teacher read an excerpt from The Iron Man (I’m wondering when we might move on to another book, my interest in
the Iron Man is waning) and then drawing the scene described which involved an extremely large red star, a crowd of spectators and an astronomer or two, armed with telescopes. Being more than 200 miles away wasn’t helpful when Morgan’s pencil lost
its lead and he couldn’t find a pencil sharpener. Not only that but he couldn’t find a red pen either and one of the “success criteria” of today’s task was that the extremely large star (as big as the moon!) should be coloured
red. I eventually prevailed upon brother James to lend his own red pen to his young brother but, just as I thought we might be getting somewhere, all three boys declared unilaterally that it was lunchtime and the discussion turned to whether cream cheese spread
on bagels was delicious or disgusting. On-line learning has its challenges...
Turning back to the booking site, my initial sense of accomplishment was shattered
when, having booked my slot at the vaccination centre and pressed “submit”, the message came back that the slot I thought I had booked was now unavailable and I would have to start all over again. After an hour of trying, unsuccessfully, to do
what should have been a simple process I decided to give up. I felt a little guilty, given that I hadn’t allowed Young Morgan to give up, despite a blunt pencil, the lack of a red pen and the lure of a bagel spread with cream cheese.
Guilt drove me back to the website later this afternoon and, amazingly, I booked a slot at my very first try. I even booked a slot for my second jab in April. The Foursome were all
so very pleased with me, my performance earning praises such as “brilliant”, “awesome” and “well done, Mum!”
that’s what everybody needs. Captain Tom Moore supplied it in bucketfuls when we, as a nation, needed it most. He never, ever gave up walking up and down his garden. Now we all mourn him - and must remember that our loss is nothing compared to that of
his loving, caring family.
I just wish he had been able to have HIS jab....