Oh, the freedom when you’re one of the double-jabbed

I dream about my postpandemic party. Imagine, family and friends gathered in one place again

It may sound a tad obscure but after I got my second jab I felt a little like Jake Blues (John Belushi) blinking in the sunshine after being paroled from jail in the opening scene of the 1980s movie. Other than the fact I didn't have a brother called Elwood, know a nun named Mother Mary Stigmata or own a battered old cop car to propel me back to freedom, I felt very much like the Blues Brothers and ready to take on the world.

A shopping trip across the boggy frontier from Westport to Castlebar to purchase new pyjamas suddenly seemed like a walk in the park. So too did my long deferred visit to my hairdresser – blended grey with blonde sounded like a most attractive cocktail for my new coiffure.

There is also the tentative thought about a train journey. One that would bring me across the Shannon once again, through the Curragh, trundling to a screeching halt in Heuston Station.

Ah! Yes, at last my recurring nightmare of a masked man wearing a hard-hat and goggles whilst administering a potion into my arm with a pneumatic drill could be consigned to the past.


Indeed, as I dance the Stack of Barley out of the clinic, the friendly vaccinator smiles benignly and moves seamlessly on to the next bared arm.

“So that is what it has all been about,” I’m thinking as I skip and hop out the door.

Naturally I video-call the princesses. They live down the coast in the independent republic of Cork.

"Have a drink," the eldest suggests.
"You are not allowed."
"One glass of Prosecco will hardly kill you."
"No. The advice is to avoid alcohol for about 48 hours. It was in a number of of the 4,567 articles I read in the last week about possible side-effects from the vaccine."
"What have we told you about information overload, Mammy?"

It’s the youngest this time. She is the family’s chief executive and sometimes speaks to me as if I’m the child.

With good reason, I might add.

"I think I'll have cake and a cup of Lady Gray tea as my celebration."
"Tea and cake. Lady Bracknell would be proud of you," the middle one opines.
"I fancy a lemon and poppy seed muffin with a frosting of chocolate ganache. They have just installed lovely little Perspex pods outside my favourite café at the Quay."

The sun is beaming through my windscreen and Croagh Patrick – usually dispassionate, even dour – is winking at me through slivers of sunshine.

"It's a glorious day here in Westport," I say to the three smiling faces on my phone screen.
"So what are you going to do after you eat the cake?"
"I'm going to plan the rest of my life," I say. "Write a list of guests for my postpandemic party."
"Great idea, Mammy. No parties until we have all had the jab, though?"
"Of course not. I'm thinking September, perhaps. As you already know, dearest daughters, even aging socialists can be model citizens during a global crisis."

It is time to say goodbye. After all, I need to have my cake and eat it!

Toddler in a sweetshop

So I mask up, cross the road and join the takeaway queue. It is the first time I am inside a café since last summer, and I feel like a toddler in a sweetshop.

I am so excited I have to stop myself from choosing a selection of all the sweetness on offer – Polenta and Pineapple, Courgette and Pistachio, Lemon Meringue Crumble.

Instead I consider telling the hot looking man standing socially-distanced before me in the queue that I am one of double-jabbed.

Back outside in my pod on the pathway I dream about my postpandemic party. "Imagine," I say to my carbon-friendly takeaway cup, "family and friends gathered in one place again. Eat your heart out, Electric Picnic. "

It must be a side-effect of the vaccine but I can already hear myself singing that Aretha Franklin song from the Blues Brothers movie.

Oh freedom (freedom)/Freedom (freedom)
Freedom Yeah freedom Freedom (freedom)
Freedom (freedom) Freedom.