As the lockdown drags on, so does my lockdown blues, nowhere to go apart from trips to the supermarket for food supplies and bottles of wine. Weather has been too cold of late to take much exercise other than a couple of hundred yards walk down the lane and back. Not much fun.
Things were briefly more interesting a couple of weeks back when Emi and I got our Coronavirus vaccine shots. We’re both over 70, plus I have underlying health conditions, so we were in the second group of people to receive the vaccine.
I must admit that I was impressed by the entire operation and efficiency of the medical staff performing the task. Two huge marquees had been set up in the old Park and Ride car park next to Tesco’s supermarket and cars were directed to parking spaces from which a short walk to the marquees brought us to a brief wait until we were directed to one of several ‘pods’ where a couple of NHS staff dealt with us. One staff member asks a few questions and checks details on the NHS computer system then the other one, (in my case a very kind lady doctor,) prepared the vaccine and injected it into my upper arm. All relatively painless. We did, however, suffer some side effects, (flu’ like symptoms, energy loss and headaches,) but these only lasted for just over one day and we’re fine now.
One slight matter for concern is that our second ‘booster’ shot won’t be given until May 1st. As I understand it, the second vaccination is meant to be administered three weeks after the first but the government is not adhering to this timescale in an attempt to give as many people as possible the first dose.
But, regardless of the vaccination, we will still need to continue to wear face masks and maintain social distancing. The vaccine doesn’t prohibit anyone from catching the virus, it only reduces the chance of serious illness and death. Apparently you can still carry and transmit the virus to others, even though you might not know that you have it.
It’s clearly going to be a long haul to bring back some sort of ‘normality’ to people’s lives. And, until the whole world is vaccinated, this horrible disease is still going to find vulnerable targets.
Nevertheless, the vaccination program seems to be going very well here in the UK. The mass vaccination centre which Emi and I attended is working continuosly, every day, from early morning to late at night. It’s a gargantuan task but one which the NHS is performing tirelessly at the moment. I’m so grateful and glad that we have the NHS here in the UK. I hate to think what would happen if things were otherwise.
While on the subject of the NHS, I had to attend the hospital eye clinic last week for my regular eye injection. My previous appointment was early in December last year, so I’d gone a welcome eight weeks without having an injection. However, my eyesight has deteriorated considerably during that time and the scans at the hospital confirmed that the condition was worse. So, the doctors have decided that I need more frequent treatment and I’ve been put back on a four week cycle of eye injections, which isn’t good news.
I’ve been enduring these regular injections direct into my eyes since 2015 but I still dread having them. It’s a very unpleasant experience and time consuming too. The whole process can take two to four hours out of the day and 24 hours to fully recover from the blurred vision and soreness that inevitably follows. But it is supposed to slow down the descent into blindness, so worth enduring. At least, that’s what they tell me...
With little else to do except occasional supermarket vists and hospital appointments, I’ve kept up the pace of my daily recording sessions and have amassed even more material for future albums.
I’m currently putting the final tracks together for ‘Dazzlebox’, which will be a double instrumental album. I’ve been undecided as to whether it should be a double or a single album. There are so many good tracks that it seems to demand being a double, but on the other hand the tracks are so rich and densely packed with ideas that I worry that listeners might feel overwhelmed by the scale of it all. It certainly won’t be an ‘instantly’ digested thing. It will require time and patience to find a way through it.
Nevertheless, a double album it will be and I’ll just have to trust that people will spend sufficient time with it and, hopefully, find lots to like.
I’ve worked out a running order for disc one and have now turned my attention to disc two. I have a new track ‘under construction’ for it, which I may get finished tonight or tomorrow. Once that track is mixed I’ll then make decisions about which tracks to include on disc two and in what order they should appear.
Then it’s a matter of sending them off to John Spence at Fairview for mastering before turning my attention to the packaging artwork. Once I’ve chosen the images they’ll be sent over to Martin Bostock for layout and text work to be completed, and then the entire project will go for manufacture. So, I’m guessing the earliest it will be available will be end of April or early May. But it could even be later. We’ll see...
Almost 5pm now, time to tackle that track.
BILL PHOTOGRAPHED AT HOLY GROUND STUDIO IN THE LATE 1960s.
BILL RECORDING 'NORTHERN DREAM' AT HOLY GROUND STUDIO.