A shot in the arm
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you clock into this space regularly, you’ll know that I am an optimist as far
as Covid-19 is concerned, and have been since the moment it showed its ugly
face a year ago.
know it’s been awful, with death and grief, and our lives turned upside down. But
I have always believed we would, as a nation, come through and even live in a
better and kinder society as a result.
just received my first vaccination (which I’ll get back to in a moment), that
belief is strengthened. It had already received a boost by newspaper reports
that 'optimistic over-50s' were rushing to book summer holidays both at home
Thomas Cook, TUI, National Express and Saga all report a surge in demand. Not only for holidays in 2021, but also for 2022, particularly for long-haul trips. Saga has sensibly insisted on proof of vaccination before a booking will be accepted, and I’ve no doubt other tour operators will follow suit.
sixty years ago, when I was still trying to get the hang of the travel trade,
somebody told me that, when times get tough, holiday bookings are the first to
suffer – but are the first to pick up again when times get better. So it would
appear, with 'Silver Travellers' leading the trend.
news, plus a recent steady reduction in the number of new cases, leads me to
believe we might be getting over the latest 'spike', though we must not become
transformational element is, of course, the vaccination – a shot in the arm,
literally and figuratively.
received mine in a 'pop-up clinic' in the heart of town, just a few yards from
a convenient bus stop. We had to wait, of course, as the procedure was running almost
an hour behind schedule. That was nobody’s fault. It happens when you are dealing with people,
especially the older generation, who are not as nimble as they used to be.
Anyway, shuffling along in a socially distanced queue provides an opportunity to chat with strangers, which is always a good thing.
chap immediately behind me, wearing a plastic visor and a face mask, was named Stanley. We had a fascinating
conversation – though he did most of the talking – being interrupted from time
to time as the volunteers politely ushered us along.
fits and starts, Stanley told me of a neighbour who had been widowed for
several years but re-married in 2019, at the age of 76.
for him,” says I.
says Stanley, “it really isn’t that good, because she’s only 27. A lass from
says I (there being no other suitable response, when you come to think about
says Stanley. “His three kids hate her. She’s younger than they are, and they
reckon she’s only after his money and the house.”
pondered on this. That old guy might not have much money, but having been told
the area in which he lives, I know his house must be worth the thick end of a
million pounds, probably more. Something tells me his children may have reason
that was just incidental to the evening, though reinforcing my belief that real
life is more interesting than anything you’ll read in a novel.
only disappointment was that the jab I received was the Pfizer version and not
is because I have knowledge about the Oxford vaccine that has been kept from 'The
General Public' – as we, who are in the know, call those who aren’t.
as you are a discerning reader of the Silver Travel Advisor web site
(especially this bit of it), you are not, strictly speaking, “The General
Public” so I can let you into the secret. But don’t breathe a word.
the hypnotic sequences you have seen on television, with little bottles passing
through complicated machines, the real manufacturing process of the Oxford
vaccine takes place in the kitchens of Cotswold farmhouses.
the wives and daughters of worthy yeomen whip up the basic mixture in huge wooden
churns, wielding traditional 'Firtlespoons' and 'Puddling Ladles' with
The wives, for the most part, are plump and apple-cheeked, with
pinafores and beaming smiles. Their daughters are prim maidens with downcast
eyes who dream, as they stir, of their swains.
the bubbling brew, their young hearts become equally agitated when they think
of what might happen when 'Wurzling' season comes round again. That headstrong,
heartstrong time when al fresco
courtship re-commences, might persuade lusty Silas to come up with a proposal
rather than his usual proposition. If so, joy – and much more – will be
I digress. I must tell you that those toiling mothers and daughters are
unbelievably efficient. On a daily basis, gallons of their industrial-strength,
herb and berry-based 'jollupmix' (as it is known to the cognoscenti) are
conveyed in stout oak barrels on horse-drawn carts to the cellars of a certain
age-withered alchemists transfer the mix to copper cauldrons in order to
contribute their secret ingredients and necromantic skills. That toiling team
of anonymous Dumbledores – never acknowledged in the 'Clap for Carers'
demonstrations – are as dedicated as those we do recognise. Truly, unsung
hoped to have that home-grown elixir sloshing around inside my old corpus, not
something produced in an impersonal foreign laboratory by people in white coats.
And not merely for patriotic reasons.
you see, the Oxford vaccine I describe has beneficial side effects.
only does it protect you from Covid-19, but it gives you command of the dance
floor, a singing voice that charms birds from the trees, and the ability to
play, at concert level, the musical instrument of your choice.
closest chums know of my lifelong ambition to master the flageolet, but that,
and those other advantages (which, I forgot to mention, include becoming
irresistible to members of the opposite sex) have been denied me.
mind, the Pfizer fizz should keep Covid-19 at bay, and that’s more important
than any fringe benefits.
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