Hi ho holiday week (12.21)

Yes, it’s been a week of much excitement, a whole week off work! Not that I went very far as we are still in lockdown. But it has been fun to sit in another room and look at some different walls instead of my work screens and the walls of my ‘office’.

Actually I did take public transport and go places several times this week – for the first time this year, I think. Wow, that’s almost 3 months without a bus or train or tube ride. On Monday I took a bus to the other side of Epping Forest, met a friend, and walked back to this side (I’m pretty sure it’s legal to do this now.)

Typically, and despite me having a map, we took the wrong path and ended walking along Up and Down Ride, a path that is exactly what its name implies. I thought I was reasonably fit but it seems I am not quite as fit as I thought I was. By the time we walked up the fourth hill I was over it already. Luckily that was the last one.

Monday was blue sky sunny and almost warm, perfect spring weather for a walk in the forest. I was grateful for the opportunity to get some fresh air, be amongst nature for a bit, and even riding the bus was like a wonder, looking out the window at people, shops and houses in an unfamiliar neighbourhood.

Tuesday was also an exciting day – it was the day I got my Covid-19 vaccine! I’d only booked on Friday, when I heard that bookings had opened to all (ahem) over 50s, but that supplies were likely to run low over the next few weeks. Rather than wait for an invitation through the post or from my local GP, I booked directly.

The process for the vaccine was smooth. I check in on arrival and get sent to a queue. There’s a second check before I enter the building (a repurposed sports centre), and then I join a fast moving queue up the stairs and one more check before I enter the holy of holies – the vaccination hall. I will confess I felt a little emotional. This day was the anniversary of England’s first lockdown and I was thinking of all the things this last year has brought us.

But I didn’t have long to think; I was waved forward to a cubicle for another identity check with the nurse who would vaccinate me and a run through the safety questions. Luckily I passed and it was time to roll up my sleeve. I looked away because I’m not good with needles but it hurt less than the scratch I got from the rose bush in the garden on the weekend.

And that was it. The vaccination took about as long as it takes you to read these sentences. I was given my paperwork and made my way to the door. They gave me a sticker on my way out. I walked down the stairs and found myself outside. This was a little confusing, as I thought I had to sit and be supervised for 20 minutes in case I had an allergic reaction.

I bought myself a coffee on the way home to celebrate, and then Husband and I mowed the lawn for the first time this year. The excitement never stops!

All was well until the early hours of Wednesday when I woke in a chill, my body aching. These flu like symptoms carried on for the whole of the next day after my vaccination. Paracetamol did help but I was not feeling up to doing much. I understand this is a sign of my immune system doing its thing and not something to be concerned about. And it was an excuse to do something I never usually do on days off – sit and watch movies.

Using my post-covid-vaccine aches as an excuse to do nothing except make myself comfortable in the sofa, I tracked my way through four films on Netflix and I notice three were ‘teen’ films: Booksmart, Moxie, Blinded by the Light. The fourth film was Late Night and it wasn’t a teen film. None of these were particularly challenging watching but Moxie scores top for its feel-good factor. I could kind of tell it was written to an agenda for teenage girls, but is that a bad thing? Blinded by the Light next, again feel good and fun, and worth watching for anyone who ever listened to Born to Run and agreed that “baby this town rips the bones from your back”.

Once I was over the post-vaccination aches and pains and the plumber finished installing our new shower, Husband and I started the paint the bathroom (again) project. The bathroom has now been painted four times since we moved in, more than any other room in the house. But I think this colour (a dark blue-grey) is a keeper. And we have a new shower curtain as well, to complete the new look. Actually, to complete the look we need a new toilet seat and bin, but we are working on that.

This week I completed my 12 weeks healthy eating sprint. I’m down 2.3kg from where I was in January. Not quite the weight loss I hoped for but it’s a start. So I will start another sprint to take me through to June, and see what I can do better or differently this time (it’s going to have to be exercise, I think). (*shudders*)

Saturday night I got to watch another film – this time one I’ve seen many times before, Absolute Beginners. In many ways it’s terrible but at the same time, I love it despite all the terribleness. The opening tracking shot is famous, and not something many directors would attempt, as the camera weaves through a busy night in 1950s Soho.

The plot also weaves about, blending a teenage love story against rising racial tensions and urban redevelopment culminating in the 1958 race riots. As a musical. But it does feature David Bowie in his first ever tap dancing role. On a giant typewriter.

One thing the film brings home, despite the singing and dancing, is how soon after World War II and the fight against fascism, that fascism raised its head in the UK. Steven Berkoff as The Fanatic is a caricature, but representative of a mood in the country at that time (and unhappily in many times since) whipping up anti immigrant fervour.

The film is set mostly at night, with almost painfully bright colours emphasising the liveliness of Soho. Some of the themes in the novel are somewhat buried in the movie – in particular the importance of jazz and the school of jazz you follow (reduced to a moment of chanting “Mods” and “Trads” in the movie), but like any book-to-movie conversion, something has to get cut, even more so when you’re making a musical.

In fact, all this thinking about the movie and the book has put the book back into my mind, so I might have to re-read it. It’s been a while so it must be about time.

Do you have films or books that you keep going back to? Books or films that are like comfort blankets for you?

3 thoughts on “Hi ho holiday week (12.21)”

  1. Glad you are over the post-vaccine aches and pains. My mom got her first shot and didn’t have any side effects but she’s going in for her second one very soon, so we’ll have to keep an eye on her. And also it’s nice to hear that you are enjoying a week off, watching movies and relaxing.

    As far as comfort films or books, I’d say more like comfort TV series like the US Office or Seinfeld, funny, light, and nostalgic shows that provide that quick escapism. xo

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    1. All the best for your Mom getting her second shot! Different vaccines seem to have different side effects – some you get the flu symptoms with the first shot, some with the second, but I’ve only heard about Astra Zeneca (which I had) and Pfizer, as they are the two most in use here. I haven’t heard anything about Moderna. Who would have thought that one day people would be expressing brand preferences for vaccines? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crazy, for sure. Strange times, but even stranger is reading a book on the Spanish flu and learning how history repeats itself!

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