after the vaccine

wednesday last week and i had my vaccine. started as a pretty miserable day, not so cold, but drizzly and overcast, not too cold tho’.

had to go to a clinic in stratford. not the home of william shakespeare, but the district in newham, east london, whose chief noteworthiness lies in its being home to one of the largest shopping centres in europe. it’s also the home of the 2012 olympics. the vaccination was a pretty straightforward procedure, if a little unnecessarily prolonged, by the way they had scheduled the invitations probably. there was a snaking queue outside the clinic entailing an hour-long wait to get inducted through the paperwork and get issued with a ticket. this was followed by a short wait for the vaccine; a perfunctory jab from a young doctor in white crime-scene-forensics-style overalls. then a short wait to be monitored (so that i don’t immediately fall over dead, presumably).

i walk down through the few available passageways allowing me to traverse the westfield centre now that it’s mostly closed for lockdown, and into the olympic park. still drizzling, although for early february, relatively mild. continue past zaha hadid’s aquatic centre, the former olympic stadium (now west ham football club) and down to the complex of waterway and river constituting the river lea, navigation, cuts, and bow creek. for this walk down to cody dock my main feeling is one of exhilaration, punctuated by exultation after receiving my jab, and yes, hope. these images illustrate the walk.

in the victorian era these waterways were used as a source of washing, cooking, and drinking water by the residents of the nearby slums, giving rise to periodic outbreaks of disease; cholera most notoriously, but also poisoning, and other gastric related disease. the irony wasn’t lost on me.

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