Well, the first one anyway. I was invited to apply via NHS letter so immediately followed the website link to book my appointments. Oddly, I wasn’t offered anywhere in the Halifax area – only Huddersfield or Bradford. Plumping for Huddersfield I had the choice between the John Smith stadium or Boots the chemist in the centre of town. Choosing Boots as I could walk there seemed like a sensible choice to that’s where I booked.
So, this morning Dawn and I drove in as Dee had arranged to do some work at the Community Rail Network office at the station, which left me with a short walk into town. I decided to make the most of it by combining my visit with a wander around the centre to get some exercise before the jab just in case I was laid low afterwards. To be honest, my perambulations were rather depressing. I’d not been into central Huddersfield for several months so I’d forgotten just how many vacant shops there are. Whilst the Council have clearly got plans for the place they’re facing an uphill struggle to attract businesses. The world’s changed with the triumvirate of online-shopping, Brexit and Covid coming together to create a perfect storm for the traditional high-street. I’ve no idea what sort of businesses will want to take on many of these premises with their expensive overheads, but I wish the Council well in trying. I could see another problem on my travels, I don’t know what Huddersfield’s demographic is nowadays, but I lot of the people I saw out and about were what could best be described as ‘economically inactive’ – a trend I’d noticed before Covid reduced numbers on the ground to a shadow of their former selves…
It gave me something to think about as I headed to the large Boots the Chemist in King St which used to be a busy pedestrian street – only now the pedestrians are mostly missing. The vaccination centre had been set up on Boots’ first floor, where one side had been partitioned off. They were very efficient. You queued to give your details to a chap who had the air of Captain Peacock from the 70s sitcom ‘Are you being served’? He had the same ex-military manner, clipped tones plus a lack of a local twang that made him easy to understand. Once you’d answered all the questions correctly and you go the green light he ushered you behind the screens to a socially-distanced waiting area where single seats had been laid out with precision. I was waiting a matter of minutes before I was escorted to one of the two groups of staff who were administering the injections. I had a young Asian couple. Whilst she double-checked I had no medical conditions he prepared he AstraZeneca vaccine and within minutes it was all over. I was given a vaccine leaflet to read and told to sit in the exit area for five minutes (to double check I wasn’t going to keel over) – and that was that. Done.
Wandering back to the CRN office I picked up my back and left Dawn busy working as I’d decided to get the train back to Halifax. I mean, having your Covid jab must count as an essential journey, surely? Plus, it was my chance to take my first train trip of the year! The station was pretty deserted. It’s hard to believe that (pre Covid) 4.7 million people passed through its doors every year. A Manchester-bound Trans-Pennine service arrived just as I did and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people detrained, but even so, this was nothing like the numbers we used to see. But then – what’s there to travel for? Everything’s closed!
I grabbed a few record shots for the library whilst I was there before joining the 11.35 Huddersfield – Bradford Interchange shuttle service which was worked by what’s now one of the oldest diesel trains in the fleet – the BR built Class 150s.
In a sign of the times only two of us occupied the front car of the two-car train when departed, weaving its way across the viaducts above the town to head to Halifax. By this time my left arm was starting to throb but as I’d been told that having a reaction to the vaccine is a positive sign your immune system’s working I wasn’t worried. Instead I relaxed and enjoyed the sights and sounds of something that used to be so commonplace, but that now had become special – a trip on a train.
All too soon we arrived in Halifax – at a time that coincided with a hailstorm, but I was fully kitted out in waterproofs as I’d taken no chances before leaving home. Knowing that there was a real possibility I’d feel like death warmed-up later I elected to walk home and get my daily step quota in before I did. I really enjoyed it because after being stuck at home for so long there was a new-found novelty to treading old boards as it were…
I may have pushed myself just a little bit too far, because when I did get home I soon felt like death – only sans warmed-up! I’ve not sallied forth since. Instead I’ve spent the day shivering and aching in front of a computer, but I really don’t mind! These side-effects are positive and short-lived, unlike the severest side-effect of catching Covid!
Tomorrow the sun could shine or the wind may blow – it matters not to me – I’ve lots to do at home, so expect my ‘picture of the day’ feature to return then as I’ve a lot of new scans to choose from. Right now, I’m off to bed….