Uptown funk

Shane had tried to  get flu jabs at a pharmacy in Market Drayton, 2 weeks ago, but they said they were booked up until December. Trying to book an appointment when you are moving place to place is tricky if you have to book that far ahead so he has been researching walk ins. I am also eligible for my COVID booster now. He had found a place in Worcester had walk ins and when the day was sunny, a cycle ride there seemed a nice use of the day, unless there was going to be some work done on the boat. I rang them and they were having trouble sourcing one of the parts. It didn’t sound like there was a plan for any particular job today so we didn’t need to stay around the marina. Snag though, Thursday was not one of their walk-in days at Worcester and they asked for an appointment using an app which won’t recognise us because we aren’t registered in the English system. Shane continued his search and found that Redditch had a walk-in centre, which was a similar distance away. We saw a sign on the way that told us the direction for Redditch and Droitwich but, in contrast to the milestone yesterday, didn’t have the distance. We found a fabby cafe on the way though so refuelled thoroughly there and then I didn’t mind the distance any more.

 We have cycled from Redditch to Droitwich before, back when we moved in to Bartimaeus  and returned a hire car to there and cycled back. But we hadn’t cycled this direction and Shane was fine tuning a route on the way.  We both spotted a rather unusual attempt to blend in to the scenery of a massive artificial tree. I keep being surprised by new sights and I really hadn’t seen one of these before. Perhaps if it is in pine trees it would have been less noticeable.

Spot the odd one out. What is it anyway?

The approach to the centre of Redditch was through a park and as we approached a small footbridge, there was a cyclist already stopped on it,  we slowed down and he couldn’t resist sharing with us that he had just seen a kingfisher fly along the river and under the bridge. He was thrilled with the sight and said it was the perfect time to stop. He rode off saying it was a sign it was going to be a good day.

When we arrived at the vaccination centre, there was a volunteer steward directing people near the car park and he said he’d keep an eye on our vehicle. He said he had done the job for ages but never seen a tandem.

It turned out the centre was doing walk in booster COVID jabs and flu jabs were appointment only until next week.  I was quickly ushered to a waiting area and after a short time it was my turn. I couldn’t get the app to work at first and a huddle of different people were there offering to help. I don’t fit their system, and they aren’t allowed to give it without evidence of my date. After a little fiddling, it was sorted out and I could show them from the Scottish app and they were very quick. I had to wait on a seat for 15 minutes after and while I was, I got a message from a friend in Edinburgh telling me she had been asked to help organise a “vaccination for all” publicity campaign (similar to the COP 26 Stitches for survival campaign, for which I knitted my panel – they will be displayed on 6th November). How strange she chose to contact me just as I was sitting in the vaccination centre! Thanks to everyone who was so friendly and efficient there.

I might not be feeling so good tomorrow but as long as I don’t have to work a flight of locks, that should be okay. I thought while I was near a town, and not unwell, that I could have a look for waterproof shoes or boots to feel properly ready for winter. We found a shopping centre and I had a search for a pair of waterproof boots in my size, while Shane waited outside (not being a fan of shopping centres generally) and I found there was one pair that were reduced from £50 to only £15 as one of the lacing loops was broken. I liked the look of them better than any of the others on display. It was possible to relace and they are comfortable, so I snapped them up.

Definitely worth it.


We may have just missed seeing a kingfisher at the bridge, but I struck it lucky at the Kingfisher shopping centre. Shane didn’t have quite such a productive day out in town, but at least he enjoyed the ride and lunch, if not the waiting for me outside the vaccination and shopping centres.

Mosaic of a kingfisher in the shopping centre in Redditch

It was really warm in the sunshine but cold air without it. I got to test out the new mitts and they kept me cosy, even when the sun went down.

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