This week I've been thinking about appointments and queuing...!
I'm pleased to report that I've had my first vaccination and had only to walk down the road to receive it at my local centre.
There was a queue of quite a few minutes to wait outside - apparently there were a few problems with the check in desk. But everyone was content to stand patiently, enjoying the spring sunshine and exchanging a few words of friendly conversation with the steward before stepping inside the hall for the deed itself.
Everything was run very calmly, confidently and efficiently and there was a warm, friendly, collaborative atmosphere. I'm sure we were all very grateful to everyone who is playing their part in making this particular service possible. A short delay was no hardship.
Of course, our daily schedules are different these days and we are making more allowances for things taking a little bit longer than usual. But will we be willing to stand quietly and patiently in line when things get back to normal? Perhaps we shouldn't expect everything to happen to our own personal timetable. And perhaps there are benefits of things taking a little longer.
I've had cause to use other medical practices in recent months and I've noticed that the staff, who in other times might have seemed rather tense and hurried, now appeared happy, attentive and relaxed.
The restrictions ensuring distance and cleanliness are not ideal but they have set clear parameters, recognised and, generally, accepted by all. Perhaps those boundaries have allowed staff a new freedom to give more time to their patients and we are all valuing personal interactions more deeply.
We never doubt the dedication of medical staff, of course, and there's a profound reminder of their care and compassion in my recommended reading this week.
Michael Rosen's new book relates his experience of suffering from Covid. His memories and observations are presented in verse, but he also includes a number of letters written to him by members of the medical teams caring for him during his time in intensive care.
These messages are incredibly moving, willing him to recovery with great warmth and affection, written at the end of emotionally and physically demanding shifts. It is clear they never once forgot the person in their care.
While Michael's gratitude to them is present in his writing, it is also evident how great a toll the illness has played on his life. It was interesting, then, to hear the novelist Maggie O'Farrell on Desert Island Discs this week.
She had a serious illness as a child and talks about how she feels she wasn't the same person after the event as she had been before. She also says she is forever grateful for the life that she has been able to lead subsequently. It's a fascinating interview. If you remember, Maggie joined us in Woodbridge three years ago to talk about her memoir 'I Am, I Am, I Am'. Take a look here.