It’s been a while – my head just hasn’t been in it. But I’ve popped back on to mark the day we got our first vaccine for posterity’s sake. What a year.

So anything to be scared of? Of course not. Sharp scratch and now an achy arm. We will see what the next 24 hours bring in terms of headaches etc – and apparently I’m not supposed to drink alcohol for 2 weeks so I’ll see how I go with that. It’s all positive (in spite of the lack of wine).

I was emotional at the surgery. I could say it was because of the incredible NHS who, despite all the badly governed awfulness of the last 14 months and the lack of respect shown to them with paltry pay rises, have still somehow managed to vaccinate millions of people with a smile on their faces. Or because of the smiling volunteers who had given up their days off to stand in a car park and hand out laminated sheets. Or perhaps it was just because it felt like there might be a taste of freedom on the horizon.

All that did make the experience emotional, but to be honest what made me well up was the weird acceptance of being in a very long poorly produced sci-fi movie. How did it come to this? Walking 2 metres apart, wearing masks, cleaning everything before and after we moved. It was the visual culmination of a year of awfulness and a stark reminder that things are not going to get back to normal anytime soon. And more than that of course a reminder of the loss, oh the loss. Of so many lives. Of livelihoods. It’s too much for me sometimes.

So yes I’ve had the vaccine and that’s amazing. I’m so thankful that I and so many people I care about have had their first jab now. But living in a bad science fiction plot messes with my head – I’d rather still hide away from it all. I don’t think I’m going to be running out to the shops next week. When I’m at home, or in the garden, or walking with friends I don’t feel it so much – the weirdness. That all comes when you’re browsing for paint with a mask on or having your temperature taken at the hairdressers. Too eerily bizarre for words.

So what next? Gently starting to see people we love outside. Other than that much the same. Still working from home, still thankful that we get on quite well and don’t mind yet another night in. This years’ teen birthdays at least allow for some garden sitting action they just have to sit a bit further away from the fire pit than they’d probably like (especially since it snowed yesterday). It’s still take it day by day. We’re dragging ourselves upwards step by step while our lives are punctuated by the kids sticking cotton buds up their noses. I don’t think you could write it. I wouldn’t buy it if you did.

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