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Booster vaccines open for the over 40s in walk-in centres across the country

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People who turned up at Citywest in Dublin on Sunday morning for walk-in Covid booster shots had to wait for two hours or longer, but all who spoke to The Irish Times were delighted that the service was being made available.

The vaccination centre opened for business at 8.30 am but some people who wanted the jab began turning up well before that, leading to lengthy traffic jams and a long queue for the earlier part of the morning.

Initially scheduled to close at 12.30 pm, the HSE announced on its website at around 11.30 that the centre was closing for new arrivals seeking the booster.

Darren Smith (43) was among those waiting in line at approximately 11.20 am. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Darren Smith (43) is hoping to travel with his partner and their two children, to see his parents in Reading. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Darren Smith (43) was among those waiting in line at approximately 11.20 am, having arrived by car at Citywest almost three hours earlier.

“We’re due to fly to England on Thursday, so I wanted to get my booster before we went, if we are going,” he said.

From England, Darren is hoping to travel with his partner and their two children, to see his parents in Reading. It is to be his first time home in two years and he is keeping a close eye on changes to the travel restrictions.

“I’m excited, glad to get it,” said Judith Godson (49). She decided to go for a booster as soon as she heard the news on Saturday that the drop-in service was to be available for those over 40 years of age.

“I feel very privileged to be able to get it, to be honest. In other countries they are not so fortunate. I think we are very blessed here that we can get it, it’s free, and it’s widely available.”

In the circumstances, she said, she had no complaint about having to queue.

A primary school teacher at St Pius X, Terenure, she said the school is “managing great”, though it can be cold with the windows open.

Alan Cooper (44), from Celbridge, turned up at Citywest at 9.15 am and was nearing the head of the queue at 11.15 am.

“I just wanted to get it out of the way so Christmas would be okay,” he said. “And my wife has immunity issues, and I wanted to get that all done.”

He had “no problem” with queuing. He expects the situation with Covid to get worse over the coming weeks “but we just have to go through it, and we will get there in the end.

“I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. The authorities, I think, they have got their hands tied. I think they are doing the best job they can. I think they are doing good, compared to a lot of other countries.”

Suzanne McCormack (50) was glad to be at Citywest and anxious to get her booster. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Suzanne McCormack (50) was anxious to get her booster. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Suzanne McCormack (50) was glad to be at Citywest and anxious to get her booster “especially after last night’s numbers. Hopefully if people are vaccinated and boosted, that will mitigate what is happening.”

Marian Coll is in the fifty plus cohort but had not been given an appointment up to now, even though her brother had already received his booster and her brother’s wife, who is in the forty plus cohort, had an appointment. “I am kind of raging I never got one,” she said.

Marian Coll is in the fifty plus cohort but had not been given an appointment up to now. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Marian Coll: “I don’t mind queuing if I know I’m going to get the booster.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

She left her home in Drimnagh, Dublin, at about 8.30 am, she said, parked in Saggart, and walked to Citywest. A friend who was going to meet up with her at Citywest turned back when she saw the early morning traffic.

“I don’t mind queuing if I know I’m going to get the booster,” she said.

One of those who spoke to The Irish Times after receiving her booster was Janet Neville Thomas, who is currently in receipt of medical care for cancer.

One of those who spoke to The Irish Times after receiving her booster was Janet Neville Thomas, who is currently in receipt of medical care for cancer. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Janet Neville Thomas, who is currently in receipt of medical care for cancer, started queuing on the N7 at 9.30am. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

“Because of when I was diagnosed, I slipped through the system in terms of getting an appointment,” she said.

She started queuing on the N7 at 9.30 and arrived in the Citywest car park about an hour later. However she didn’t have to queue once she had arrived at the centre, as she had an appointment for her jab.

“The staff,” she said, “are fantastic.” She was “relieved and delighted.”

Kri Bajaro (30) is a healthcare worker who received her offer of a booster in October, but had not been in a position to take it up until now.

Kri Bajaro (30) is a healthcare worker who received her offer of a booster in October, but had not been in a position to take it up until now.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Kri Bajaro (30) was back in the Philippines last month to see her family, for the first time in two years. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

She was, she said, “reluctant” about the Covid vaccines because they are so new, but has since been impressed by how they positively affect the severity of the illness for those who catch Covid.

She was back in the Philippines last month to see her family, for the first time in two years, and had to spend some of her time there in quarantine.

Tallaght Hospital, where she works, had a lot of people out sick at one stage, but “at the moment it’s okay; in our area, it’s okay.”

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Liverpool ONE welcomes Tessuti (GB)

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Grosvenor has announced that designer retailer, Tessuti, has opened its new global flagship store at Liverpool ONE, demonstrating the brand’s ongoing vote of confidence in the destination. The new location on Paradise Street follows Tessuti’s consistently strong performance at Liverpool ONE and spans two floors measuring 22,000ft². Boasting Tessuti’s biggest store to date, this is four times the size of the previous Liverpool ONE site. The store interiors have been styled with a subtle nod to classic Italian architecture whilst incorporating state-of-the-art technical features, combining classic design with an industrial-chic colour palette and cutting-edge digital screens. Working with local Liverpudlian digital and production agency Liquid, the new Tessuti store has exclusive instore stills and videos showcasing exciting campaigns; the first of which is rumoured to feature Liverpool stars Stephen Graham, Abbey Clancy, Miles Kane and Chelcee Grimes.

 

Aligning with Liverpool ONE’s community ethos, Tessuti’s new global flagship will also support the vibrant community in the heart of Liverpool, championing local businesses through collaborations, pop-ups, and in-store events.

 

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor, commented: “Tessuti’s commitment to Liverpool ONE, through its relocation within the destination and decision to make the new store its global flagship, strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. The impressive growth trajectory of Tessuti within Liverpool is a great indication of the potential for success and expansion of other brands that join Liverpool ONE.”

 

Chris Rowan, Director of Brand & Customer Connection at Tessuti, added: “The opening of our global flagship at Liverpool ONE is a huge moment for us. Liverpool is an urban hub for international fashion retailers, so upsizing and relocating within the city’s leading retail and leisure destination was a natural next step. We feel confident that it is the ideal home for our flagship location, and are excited to offer Liverpool ONE’s visitors our most stylish project yet.”

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What you need to know about having a home swimming pool

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This summer, it’s not just sales of rosé wine and ice cream that have rocketed during the heatwave. Interest in swimming pools has also surged.

‘This sweltering summer has undoubtedly inspired people to install swimming pools,’ says Sallie Leslie-Golding of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA). 

‘There are now 270,000 in-ground pools in the UK, with about 65 per cent of them in the southern half of the country.’

There is something incredibly glamorous about a Hockney-blue pool. But how does the reality match up to the imagery?

Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather

Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather

‘It’s been wonderful to be able to take a swim at the end of a long day,’ says Felicity Cooper, 55, who in 2006 installed a 12m x 6m pool outside her country house in Potterne, near Devizes, Wiltshire. 

‘It has also been great for the children, Lily and Ryan, who learnt to swim here.’

Felicity stresses the importance of finding the right setting for a new pool. 

She ensured hers was west-facing to catch the evening sun; then she went to the trouble of digging out a mini-amphitheatre so that the displaced earth formed a windbreak around the pool itself.

‘The pool is the optimum distance from the house, being not so near that it detracts from the garden and not so far away that anyone in trouble would not be heard by those inside.

‘It is far from trees so few leaves blow into the water and, with the children in mind, it has a top quality safety cover. Felicity’s six-bedroom Jacobean stone house standing in 1.7 acres is for sale for £1.95 million.

Opinions vary as to whether an outdoor pool helps or hinders a house sale. Some think that the hassle of maintenance may be off-putting to buyers. However, the property buying agent, Jonathan Harington, disagrees.

‘I have had many clients come to me with a pool on their wishlist of luxuries,’ he says. ‘But I have never had anyone say they wouldn’t buy a house because of the pool. If they felt strongly they could easily fill it in anyway.’

Yet owning a swimming pool is an expensive hobby. An above-ground pool — like a giant paddling pool — costs from £1,500 to £15,000. These pools may not quite cut it in terms of glamour, but their lower water capacity means maintenance costs are more reasonable.

For those looking at a more substantial in-ground pool, one with a liner finish of PVC will cost about £75,000. A concrete pool, finished with mosaic tiles, marbled plaster or paint will be about £125,000.

Larger projects can easily cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

You may opt for an infinity pool — a pool designed with an edge that gives the illusion that the water is overflowing. 

Those who want to improve their fitness may have a counter current device installed; the equivalent of swimming on a treadmill.

Many pool owners are interested in sustainability and heating the pool with solar panels is popular, as are covers that help heat retention.

Maintaining an outdoor swimming pool is expensive. The cost of heating and chemicals has increased so buyers should budget for at least £8 to £10 a day, dependent on the weather, according to SPATA.

Anyone fancying a workout in their own home may be interested in Ivy Cottage, Grendon, Northamptonshire.

Outside, the four-bedroom cottage is a 10m x 5m pool neatly positioned in the north-west corner to catch the sun.

‘After swimming in the pool, you could go running, riding or cycling on the countless trails nearby,’ says Ian Denton, of Jackson Stops. ‘It’s a lifestyle amenity in your own garden.’ Ivy Cottage is for sale for £825,000.

On the market… splash out 

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Radisson launches new resort in Greece

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Radisson Hotel Group has launched its latest Greek resort in Skiathos. Skiathos, the westernmost of the Sporades islands, is known for its stunning coastline of more than 60 beaches with soft sand and clear blue waters, as well as sea caves, impressive rock formations, and hiking trails on the tree-covered hills along the north shore made famous as the location for the filming of Mamma Mia. The island’s Byzantine churches and monasteries, Venetian-style Bourtzi fortress, and Papadiamantis House with its typical architecture are important parts of the island’s rich history.

 

The resort’s 84 rooms and suites are decorated in a modern, minimalist style, and most of them offer views of the hotel pool or the sea. Private balconies or terraces are available in select rooms, and the resort’s biggest suites feature private whirlpools for ultimate privacy and relaxation. The resort is ideally suited for weddings with its own on-site orthodox chapel and versatile outdoor pool area that offers receptions with stunning views. The main all-day dining restaurant celebrates Greek and Mediterranean flavors on its lunch and dinner menus. The poolside bar offers breakfast treats and late-night snacks as well as a wide selection of drinks and an extensive wine list. For guests looking to keep up their fitness routine, a well-equipped gym is available.

 

“We are excited to offer our guests a fantastic resort experience on the beautiful island of Skiathos, as we continue to expand our Greek resort portfolio. Radisson Resort Plaza Skiathos allows guests to switch off and relax surrounded by stunning natural beauty,” said Yilmaz Yildirimlar, Area Senior Vice President at Radisson Hotel Group.

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