|At the Civray vaccination centre|
Social media can be a funny old thing. Some people rant, some boast, some just seem to be out for a fight, but we all share and, from my experience this week, many people out there also care.
I had a bit of a wobble this week, caused by the frustration around booking my covid-19 vaccination. As Adrian is over fifty, I was able to look for a date and time that suited his work schedule and book his appointment a week in advance. As I’ve not yet reached that golden age, I was only allowed to book last minute, for an available slot in the coming twenty-four hours. I naively assumed, with three centres within twenty-five kilometres from home, I would find a slot and pop out, possibly even while Adrian was working, and be home to pour his morning coffee. I was wrong. I soon found myself caught in a negative loop of continually refreshing the online booking platform, so much so that by Wednesday the phrase “Aucun rendez-vous de vaccination n'est disponible dans ce lieu d'ici demain soir” began to play on a loop in my head. (No vaccination appointments are available here between now and tomorrow evening.) Every now and then an appointment or two would appear, but they were in places like Rochefort, Royan, Poitiers or Chauvigny, all over eighty kilometres from home. The only ones more local were at a time that clashed with Adrian’s appointment, and at a centre in the opposite direction.
The weather certainly didn’t help as it was either raining, threating to rain, or dry and sunny, but with a fierce wind. Getting out on the bike is a great way to clear my head and put things into perspective, not being able to get out just added to my vaccination frustrations and made me cranky. Having rolled my eyes at a particularly heated post on Facebook, where a fight had broken out over whether our department of the Deux Sèvres was or wasn’t far enough south to be classified as south-west France, I took to Instagram with a vaccination whinge.
I was quite bowled over by how many people commented on my post with advice, ideas and generally trying their best to help and make me feel better. Thank you it really did help. As luck would have it, on Thursday morning I found myself an appointment for Friday afternoon, at the same centre in Civray Adrian was headed to on Thursday afternoon. This did mean two eighty-kilometre round trips in two days, which is not ideal for people who rarely take the car out these days, but it did mean I was able to book our second slots at the end of June for the same place, on the same day, one hour apart.
The centre in Civray, who are vaccinating around one thousand four hundred people with the Pfizer vaccine every week, was superb and worth the drive. The spacious double hall is well laid out, and the Red Cross volunteers who run it are friendly, helpful and efficient. The form you fill in prior to vaccination was available in English and French and everything was calm and organised. It is a real relief that we are both now part of the 22,587,920 people in France who have had their first injection. Reports from the UK today claim that the Pfizer vaccination looks to give 88% protection from the latest Indian variant, once both doses have been administered.
As Ed is twenty, I could go back to the continual searching for a last-minute appointment for him, but this week the government announced that from 31st May, anyone over eighteen will be eligible to book a time that suits. He has quite a bit going on at the moment, so I think it will be much less stressful for both of us, to wait a week.
With the excitement of vaccinations, the reopening of bar, café and restaurant terraces on Wednesday, seemed to pass me by. Adrian did stop for a coffee on his Thursday morning bike ride, while I was on my yoga mat, but it’s been five days now and I haven’t yet managed to partake. Every evening, when we’ve witnessed clear skies and no wind, we’ve planned a morning coffee ride for the following day. Every morning, we’ve woken up to rain once again. Let’s hope this week brings a bit more warmth, a lot less wind and rain and the chance to get out on the bikes, stretch our legs, clear our heads and enjoy a coffee with a spot of people-watching. It’s the simple things.
Keep safe and sane, it will get better.