Yes, I got my first Pfizer jab last Friday. If you are scared of needles as I am, you will be relieved to know that it didn’t hurt at all. I have to confess that I put on a slick of make-up and changed my shirt three times until I found a suitable off-the-shoulder number that would be perfect for getting jabbed. I also put on lipstick even though I was wearing a mask, ridiculous I know but old habits die hard.

I did wrestle with the ethics of getting jabbed before the 15th but was advised by a very clever friend of mine – a rather high-powered lawyer – that it was more important for me to spread the word about vaccines and set a good example than to wait. So, off the husband and I went. He was a bit nervy to go to Hillbrow, so we stopped by Milpark first. When he saw the queue at Milpark, Hillbrow suddenly became a much more attractive option.

Outside Hillbrow Community Health Centre
Outside Hillbrow Community Health Centre

We were able to park inside at the *Hillbrow Community Health Centre and the queue was outside which made me feel so much better in terms of germs.

In the queue outside
In the queue outside

There were six people inside and five people in the queue when we got there so they were relieved to see us as they vaccinate six at a time. You do sit in the sun, so I would advise sunblock and a hat. There was a lovely friendly vibe and we were BEYOND excited to receive our jabs. I went in first. We had a talk asking us if we had had covid recently etc…then we went through to a well-ventilated waiting area. We waited a few minutes before we were called individually into the private cubicles. Nurse Bongeka Dlamini did a stunning job and I did not feel the needle going in AT ALL.

After you get your jab, you have to sit for fifteen minutes to see if you are going to have any allergic reaction. The nurse monitoring us said that so far she hasn’t had one single problem. I felt quite emotional afterwards plus I felt the bizarre need to sing the national anthem. No, I’m not sure what that was about. The only side effect I noticed at that point was a weird metallic taste in my mouth.

When I got home I was very tired and I started feeling hot and cold but I’m not sure if that wasn’t just a response to the adrenaline rush of being vaccinated. A few hours later I felt like someone had kicked me in my upper arm and getting my lovely off-the-shoulder shirt off was a bit of a struggle. At three am I woke up and I was freezing and couldn’t get warm no matter how many blankets I put on the bed.

Jabbed Vaccination Logsheet
User Vaccination Visit Logsheet

The next day I was man down and felt like I did when I first had covid, plus the glands under my arm were bloody sore, I also had no appetite.

I alternated between panado and disprin every six hours. Sunday, I felt slightly better but still stayed in bed, only took panado twice. Monday, I woke up with a huge red patch on my arm where I was vaccinated and with my eyes still feeling sore, initially I felt better and then later on that morning I had terrible stomach cramps – they were the sort I get from drinking too much milk so I’m not sure what that was about. Later on, the injection site got very itchy and finally, on Tuesday I started feeling more like myself.

Having experienced quite a reaction to the jab did not phase me because I know that I will have GORGEOUS IMMUNITY by the end of this process. Getting vaccinated gave me such a sense of hope, that this shitshow might soon be over and as the Zambian branch of the family said, it’s a step closer to us being able to see each other again.

The Kid Detective

Movie recommendations: we watched some crackers on Netflix over this past couple of weeks. First up, the docu-drama Murder by the Coast about a murder case in Spain. So tragic – not just the deaths of the young girls but the miscarriage of justice it involved – and very well told, I found it riveting. Then The Kid Detective. Set in Canada, the humour was drier than Joburg air in winter (pretty fucking dry) and so damn poignant. Loved it.

Our Ladies

Lastly Our Ladies – set in the 90s, this is about a group of convent school girls who go to a choir competition in Edinburgh and what they get up to. This is not a Full Monty feel-good story, it’s gritty but incredibly well-told and being a former Convent school girl, I enjoyed it enormously.

Death at the Gates

Book recommendations: Death at the Gates, the third in the Epiphany Bloom series from Katie Gayle which is of course writing duo, Gail Schimmel and Kate Sidley. It’s light, it’s funny, it costs around fifty-seven SA ronts on Kindle, and Schim assures me it’s their funniest one yet – perfect for these depressing times. They are now working on their next series with new protagonist, Roberta Bird, I think the first book in the series is out this December. Can’t wait!

Suitcase of Memory

Suitcase of Memory by A’Eysha Kassiem. It’s about a mixed-race boy who is fair enough to pass as a white child and is adopted by an Afrikaans family during the apartheid years. Only snag is – and this is SUCH a clever concept – he has that special condition where he remembers everything that ever happened in his life. Beautifully written, both funny and heartbreaking, I found it totally engrossing. I hope an international publisher has snapped this one up, it deserves to be widely read. Thank you to lovely Helen Holyoake and Exclusive Books for my copy.

Before I sign off, I would like to remember those who passed as a result of Covid complications this past week. Let’s say their names and remember that these are people and not just numbers:

  • The incredibly talented Saranti Reeders, with whom I worked on the Yo Kids Holiday Show in 1996, our kids were also together at nursery school and she was about to do a cabaret at my local The Blind Tiger when she passed.
  • Mutodi Neshehe who played Ndalamo on Muvhango. I remember doing an actors’ workshop many years ago which he attended and he was so lovely to work with and so talented.
  • Paul Van Dongen. Beloved husband to school buddy, Kim and dad to Ross and Kai. What a loss. I feel absolutely devasted for them all.

What can we do to honour our dead?

We can get vaccinated.

Happy reading, sending love to you all. xxx

Childhood Nightmare

Ps…my daughter released her first single a couple of weeks ago: She plays the guitar, sings on it and does all the harmonies and yes, that is her in the pic. I am BEYOND proud.

Go forth and stream/purchase Childhood Nightmare by Ruby Vos!

*Before you head off to Hillbrow, please check to see if they are still taking walk-ins.