2022

So, welcome to another New Year.

I don’t know what it’ll bring, what new things will happen, and what other things will fuck up. We’re still in the midst of Very Very Weird Times, and I don’t think they’re going to go anywhere any time soon.

For the first time in a while though, I’m making some plans for this year – not resolutions by any stretch, but some changes and plans all the same. I’m not going to publicise them at the moment, but we’ll see how things go.

One thing I do want to do is get back to writing here a bit more (which is a pretty low bar, on the evidence of the last year or two) but we’ll also just have to see how that goes.

Anyway, here’s 2022. Let’s see whether it’s any good.


Shortest

And here we are, at yet another Winter Solstice.

The shortest day, the longest night.

From here, the days get longer. Not by much, but it’s good to be on the new cycle.


Vaccinaceous

Somewhat fortuitously, I managed to get my Covid booster jab a few weeks ahead of the latest Omicron variant’s appearance, so it was already in full effect by the time Omicron occurred.  (That wasn’t through anything like me being organised, of course, just the way timings worked out) At the time it was a nicely organised process – rock up at the time booked, sign in, get the jab, wait fifteen minutes (in case I’m allergic to the jab and die, or something) and then fuck off to get on with the rest of my day.

The week after, I also ended up getting my flu jab.  (In my opinion, getting the “you now qualify for a flu jab” message is *definitely* a sign you’re getting old) It’s safe to say that getting that one done was pretty much the polar opposite, and not far short of an absolute clusterfuck.

I’d originally tried booking it through Superdrug, but their entire online presence seems to be “Give us a call to find out”. Utterly, utterly fucking useless.

So eventually I went to Boots where the booking process was long, with big doses of repeated information. (No idea why, but hey ho, got it booked) That bit was OK(ish) though. It was when I got to the shop that things went utterly tits-up.

I got there a couple of minutes early, and no-0ne was in the waiting area. No-one at all. Not even staff.  Another couple of people also arrived to get their jabs. Eventually someone turned up, and gave me a paper form to fill in with all my details. Which was a bit of a concern.

It turned out that – in a large town-centre store – the “proper” jab person was on a day off, and no-one knew their password, or could log in to the system and see what bookings were expected. (Nor, as it turned out, mark appointments as completed etc.) So it was all back to paper, and no-one had a single sodding clue about what was happening, who was booked in (or when) and generally shambolic.

The jab process itself was fine, once everything was sorted.  And thankfully I’ve experienced no real side-effects from either vaccination.

Mind you, the following day, I got a set of messages and emails from Boots telling me that I’d missed my appointment. I assume it’s also not gone into my medical record, so I could probably decide to get another one early in the new year, or something. (Not that I would, but still, fucking hell)

Anyway, it’s all done now, and so far as I’m concerned, if one of these viruses is going to get me, they’re going to have to work bloody hard to do so.


50

Fucking hell, I’m 50.


Re-Identified

For some reason, this year has involved renewing both of my primary forms of ID – a few months ago it was the passport that got done, and I’ve now had to do the driving licence as well.

In fairness, both processes have been pretty painless, and made much easier through technology – the passport had some issues with uploading a new photo (because I wear glasses, and photos without a reflection on the lenses is *difficult*) but it’s all involved a lot less hassle than one would expect.

The driving licence also pulls through the photo from the passport process (although the reverse doesn’t apply, weirdly) but it needed a lot more linked information than I expected – for example, why does my driving licence renewal require me to know/remember my NI Number? I’d already connected it to the passport system/number etc. for verification, so that seems like an unnecessary extra step, really.

Still, it’s all done, the new licence card arrived promptly – and well within the quoted two weeks – and the old one got cut in two and returned.

I now shouldn’t need a renewal on these things for another decade. How time flies, and all that!


MoTivated

Today, the car got its annual service, and also passed its MoT for this year. All told, a much better process than last year – and, of course, a lot cheaper!

I did take it back to the same dealership to get things done, and they’re still as shambolic as ever, insisting on filling every slot in the workshop, rather than leaving anything free for people who need work (for example, if the car had failed the MoT today, they’d have had to book me in for work to be done, rather than having availability on the day)  It’s a farcical situation – and similar to the bullshit system my GP is currently operating – and takes no account of things failing, or accidents happening.  Deeply annoying, to say the least.

The thing is, despite me raising it every time I deal with them, they just don’t seem to understand that the servicing side of the business is just as much of a sales tool as any of the people on the shop floor (most of whom seem to spend their days just farting around, but that’s beside the point)  The company – in this case, Kia – make a huge thing of their reliability, of their seven-year guarantee (so long as people follow the service routine, of course) which is great. But when I’m faced with a constant “Oh no, we can’t do [the work] on [that date], you’ll have to book something else” attitude, why on Earth would I buy a car that ties me in to that even more?

It’s something that would be so simple to fix – and something I’ve been told that they’ll try, but I’ve been being told that for three years now – but there just seems to be no real inclination to do it.

Still, my little car is doing OK, and as and when it does die, I just won’t get another Kia. Their loss long-term, not mine.


Non-Emergency

Back in early 2021, I did something stupid to my knee – still no idea what – which I didn’t take overly seriously.  It was sore enough that I did use a knee brace – particularly overnight – but it didn’t incapacitate me or anything.

Anyway, it turns out that the brace is quite possibly the worst thing I could’ve done, as it allowed things to heal incorrectly and so on.

The knee still plays up – but it’s intermittent. When I first stand or move, it’s sore as fuck, but then it eases off. I’m still fully capable of walking miles on it, but it’ll hurt significantly the next day, or if I then stop and leave it in one position for a long time (for example, driving home from wherever)  Having talked to others with a similar thing, and doing some research, I think what I managed to do was a meniscal tear – basically ripping some of the meniscal membranes in my knee.  Ooops.

Honestly, it’s pretty certain now that there’s not going to be much I can do to improve it. It’s as healed as it’ll get.  But I’d like to get a proper diagnosis of it, in case I’m wrong – I’m only basing this so far on personal experience (of my own damage, and the stories of others) and Dr. Google/Wikipedia, so it’s quite possible that I could be wrong.

However, getting that diagnosis is proving problematic.  It’s not an urgent thing by any chalk, but that’s an issue. My GP surgery are still only taking bookings on the actual day, so it’s a free-for-all of calling in at 8:30 in the morning in order to get a slot that day.  And honestly, I feel guilty at that point about trying to get a slot that could be better used by someone with, you know, something actually important/urgent.

It really is a massively fuckwitted plan. I don’t understand why they can’t do it so that at least one of the GPs in the practice is doing non-urgent bookings for even one day a week.  (Or balance the load and have a rota of who does a non-urgent day, or even week as a break from the urgent daily shit)

As it is, in this case I don’t honestly know that the GP would even be the best thing – all they’re likely to do is say “Oh, that’ll need an X-Ray/MRI” and refer it to the local(ish) hospital anyway.  So maybe it’d be better to go direct to what used to be the “Minor Injuries” clinic, so I can get a scan straight away. But “Minor Injuries” is now somehow “Urgent Care” (which is somehow different to “Accident and Emergency”) and that has the same effect on me – it’s non-urgent, and there are people way more in need of treatment than I am.

I’ll get round to it in the end, I’m sure. But in the meantime it’s a situation that is utter, utter bollocks.