Fringe Box



XX Notes: Golden Roadmap to Guildford Vaccination

Published on: 27 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 1 Mar, 2021

Maria Rayner

Maria Rayner‘s observational, fortnightly column from a woman’s perspective…

There’s a definite warmth in the air: the sun is higher, the sky is bluer, there is blossom on the trees and green shoots in the flowerbeds. Everything feels better when the sun is shining, including pandemics. Hope springs eternal. We are on the road to recovery.

Barely a week ago the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, outlined the roadmap out of national lockdown.

With the news that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces hospitalisations and deaths by at least 75% ( and a single standard dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine provides 76% protection overall against symptomatic Covid-19 in the first 90 days (BMJ 3/2/21) there is certainly a lot to be hopeful about.

Snowdrops opposite Millbrook car park

The government are determined this will be the last national lockdown, avoiding any more damage to the economy. The priorities are to get children back to school, restart wraparound childcare, allow people in care homes to have one designated visitor, household picnics (not just exercise) outdoors and for students on practical courses to return to university.

This is the first half step of the four-step recovery. Yes, it’s confusing, but stick with it because in the four-ish steps there is something for everyone. A bit like how Oz meant different things to Dorothy’s companions at the end of the Yellow Brick Road.

It would be lovely to meet with more than one friend (March 29), go swimming (April 12), attend a rugby match or music festival (May 17) or have “all legal limits on social contact … removed (aka hug someone outside your social bubble; I still can’t believe this is actually illegal, starting June 21) and these would all be in my personal Oz.

But before these privileges become an actuality, there will be a number of tests, and this is where I lose the will to live and think it’s better to put your head in the sand and wait until Boris, Dr Chris & Co tell us, better that than have your hopes crushed.

OK, let’s be brave: four tests, involving vaccine efficiency, mutant strains (I love writing those two words), and infection rates not surging and putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

In 1929, Dorothy exclaims: “Home! And this is my room… And I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again. There’s no place like home!” In 2021, the rest of us are desperate to go outside.

An early, cheerful celandine

Today I travelled the yellow, or maybe golden, cycle-path to Guildford where there were many green shoots of recovery and signs of Spring.


It was a beautiful Saturday morning for a cycle ride. Not a cloud in the sky and the lack of rain means the towpath is not as muddy as earlier in the week when I nearly got stuck in the mud with a flat tyre. There are catkins, daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops and the willow trees lining the Wey are showing that lovely greenish tinge before they burst into leaf.

Families were out for their daily exercise and there was more than one illegal picnicker and bench-sitter (wait until March 8, people). My husband and I approached Guildford town centre from Shalford, stopping at the Castle grounds to check out the flowers, lovely daffodils and a few pink and white bedding blooms with the budding promise of more to come.

A landmark on this Saturday morning’s roadmap was the vaccination centre at G Live. I haven’t been called yet but it looked reassuringly orderly. I have friends who’ve been vaccinated, are vaccinating or volunteering; all impressed at the efficiency of the operation.

G Live vaccination centre

I don’t know if this is where I will get jabbed but we are all counting on the wizardry of modern medicine not to let us down.

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