JENNI MURRAY: I'm jabbed up to the eyeballs and I shall go to the ball

JENNI MURRAY: I’m jabbed up to the eyeballs and I shall go to the ball!

  • Jenni Murray has had the flu and pneumonia jabs as well as the Pfizer booster
  • Columnist has been lonely in London following the cancellation of festive plans 
  • Reveals she will be testing ahead of her remaining two plans and wear a mask  

Oh dear, that terrible sense of a painfully sinking heart as I watched a sad and untypically lifeless Prime Minister hand out his somewhat muddled and certainly unwelcome Plan B. Yes, there is a new variant.

Omicron is rushing around the country so we must take great care. Masks in enclosed spaces again, working from home (not a problem for me as it’s what I do anyway these days), but it’s OK to go to Christmas parties. Which would be lovely in this season of goodwill, formerly known as advent, when we traditionally meet up with friends and family before Christmas.

Now, however, it seems ‘Sadvent’ is taking hold. From yesterday, December 15, it’s ten days until Christmas. Anyone testing positive from now will still be in the required ten-day isolation period on Christmas Day. 

With many people determined to ensure they’re fit enough to meet their family for the big event, endless traditional encounters are being set aside in favour of home isolation. The Prime Minister’s advice to go ahead with jollity seems to have fallen on profoundly deaf ears in my circle.

Jenni Murray, who has had the flu and pneumonia jabs as well as the Pfizer booster jab, said she isn’t cancelling the two events she has remaining in her diary (file image)

Friends who had booked a jazz club and a great band we all love sent an email last Friday headed ‘Cancelled’. My disappointment knew no bounds. It worsened when the second planned party for a friend’s ‘59 forever’ birthday — she’s actually now 60 — was also cancelled because her son-in-law had tested positive.

Being in the house in London while my husband remains on the south coast, it meant another lonely weekend at home watching rubbish on TV. The only exciting moment was shrieking at the screen at the end of the new Sex And The City, And Just Like That. ‘Call an ambulance you idiot!’ I shouted as Carrie cuddled her dying husband, Big, at the end of episode one. It’s come to something when talking to the telly is your only conversation.

I may be being foolishly overconfident, but I am not cancelling the two events I still have in the diary. I am jabbed to the eyeballs. My age enabled me to get my Pfizer booster jab two months ago, before the panic and endless queues began, so I reckon I’m as safe from the new variant as it’s possible to be.

I’ve had the flu and pneumonia jabs so my immune system must be in overdrive. My generation, I suspect, has more confidence in vaccination than any other. We were the children who saw the first preventative measures against smallpox, measles, polio and diphtheria that had killed so many of our predecessors.

I do, of course, have to face the moral dilemma of whether to test myself before going out to mix with friends or family. Luckily, I ordered a couple of sets of lateral flow tests at the weekend before they began to run out, so I’m well stocked up. I tested yesterday before my dinner tonight and I’ll do it again tomorrow before Saturday’s lunch. I shan’t require my friends to do it too, although I hope they will as a matter of course.

Jenni (pictured) said if she has symptoms and a positive test, she will stay alone on Christmas instead of pretending it’s just a cold 

As for next week and the run up to Christmas, I’ll test two days before setting off. If I’m positive I shall stay alone. I know Omicron is supposed to be only a mild infection, but if I have symptoms and a positive test I shan’t try to pretend it’s just a cold. It’s not fair on others who, if I pass it on to them, may have to stay away from work and lose money, which is always needed at this time of year.

I have no elderly relatives to visit, but if I had I would test, even if they’d had their boosters. It is, as they say, far better to be safe than sorry.

I am as determined as can be not to miss another Christmas with my family this year, as I was forced to do last year, so I shall be as careful as is possible when I join my best friend for dinner tonight and my neighbours in our local pub for lunch on Saturday.

I’ll wear a mask except when eating or drinking. We’ll be socially distanced, no hugs or handshakes and wash our hands frequently. I need to have faceto- face company and a chat that’s not limited by telephone or any other technology.

On December 23, having carefully done my share of the shopping and preparation for the big day, I shall be on my way to be with my family. We decided on beef instead of turkey this year. I am absolutely certain I will not have another lonely Christmas. I shall go to the ball!

60 years on I still sobbed through West Side Story

Jenni, age 71, admits she sobbed her heart out at Tony’s death and the misery of Maria, while watching Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story

I couldn’t wait to see Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story, an updated version of the original I first saw circa 1961. Aged 11, I sobbed my heart out at Tony’s death. Aged 71, I again sobbed my heart out at Tony’s death and the misery of Maria, but most telling was the all-too-familiar story of gang violence and young men killing each other.

Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original, has a leading role as Valentina, who runs Doc’s drugstore and tries to end the violence. She’s now 90 years old and phenomenal. I hope young people will see this new adaptation of the Romeo And Juliet story and not be warned — as they were by London’s Globe Theatre before its production of the Shakespeare play — that it will be hurtful, triggering or unsafe. The message is too important.

How did we do? Don’t ask

So many online orders. So many emails asking ‘How did we do?’, ‘Tell us how we did’, ‘How would you rate our performance?’, ‘How successful was your delivery?’ It’s enough to make you want to scream: ‘I ordered. I paid. I have it. I have no time to massage your commercial ego. Just go away!’

Even I know Lewis was robbed 

Jenni said she can’t help feeling sorry for Lewis Hamilton’s (pictured) failure to fulfil his ambition of becoming world champion for a record-breaking eighth time

I am not a fan of Formula 1. Cars, for most of us, are a necessary evil whose purpose is to get us from A to B. Otherwise, walking or using the Tube or bus is much better for the environment.

Why do we call a practice so damaging and dangerous a sport? Around 52 men have died in Formula 1 in my lifetime. I’ve never understood how my family can sit for hours watching racing drivers putting their lives at risk as they zoom around for 50-odd laps. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling sorry for Lewis Hamilton’s failure to fulfil his ambition of becoming world champion for a record-breaking eighth time.

I can’t say I understand what went wrong in Abu Dhabi, except there was a crash, a safety car and Max Verstappen pipped Hamilton to the post. Hamilton handled himself with grace and good humour but, as far as I understand from reading expert opinion, he was indeed robbed.

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