The Ladybird Invasion.

Haven’t blogged for a long, long time (not for my personal one anyway) so bear with me!

However recent events have made me consider starting it again. 

Starting with – The Ladybird Invasion. 

One innocently appeared about a fortnight ago to which I actually cooed ‘ahh look a ladybird!’ and lovingly let it crawl on my finger and out the window I let it fly. (THIS WOULD NOT BE HAPPENING EVER AGAIN)

Two weeks later and lots and lots of ladybirds later I am now too traumatised to sit in my living room. (Just had to stop typing to scratch my head as every time I talk about them I can’t stop itching like some sort of dog with fleas). 

This itching of head is probably due to the fact I found one in Mairead’s hair the other day. (My flatmate)  

Enquiring about whether a Ladybird nest could actually exist, on Facebook, only worsened my irrational fear. My friend Beth cheerfully informed me that her family had lots in her house once and at one point ‘there were like 50 all over the window’. 

Imagining FIFTY ladybirds crawling all the windows on my flat was too much to handle. 

I emailed my mum for help. 

Unfortunately her reply was ‘some ladybirds are endangered so it’s against the law to kill them.’ So far having spotted an unusual black ladybird with massive RED SPOTS (one of which was in my flatmate’s hair) and also red ladybirds with lots of tiny spots, I was willing to bet that we had a few endangered ones flying around. Although if you did accidentally hoover them up who would ever know…???

(Not that I want to kill them, honestly I don’t, I know they are really great for plants, just not so great in my living room)

So far we have done nothing and I am currently hiding in my bedroom because when I ventured in the kitchen to make my tea earlier there were three in the lamp and one flying around. 

(At least, if anything, it is keeping me away from the fridge.)

Now three doesn’t sound many, but apparently we could have a whole swarm of them living in our attic. Mairead, has informed me that we need to open the hatch (bagsie not me) and put a lamp on in there and then wait and see how many are attracted to the light. 

I currently have visions of opening the hatch and being attacked by a swarm of ladybirds who have been woken up by the sudden stream of light. 

Luckily Mairead ‘is excited because it is like a science experiment’ and is going to be the one who implements this. Once we have proof we have a real issue apparently we can then contact environmental health. 

Does anyone have any advice on how to keep ladybirds away?? Or more importantly GET THEM TO LEAVE MY FLAT??? 

Since discovering the infestation, everywhere I go there are red and black dots or ladybird merchandise. I am in Tesco and they are on the bloody ‘re-usable bags’ I am in another shop and they have ‘ladybird’ headphones. Another shop I saw a t-shirt with the damn things all over it. 

AND after looking through my Facebook photos I have come across this (look closely)

THERE IS NO ESCAPE. Image

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The Great Yorkshire Run

In a moment of madness I signed up a few weeks ago to run the Great Yorkshire Run.

This is definitely one of my more crazy moves seeing as running is (or used to be!) one of my most hated past times.

I successfully avoided every Cross Country race at school (2 a year), after the first one nearly finished me off, by coincidentally being off ‘sick’ or by volunteering to do any extra curricular activity that coincided at the same time. At Sports day the only event I volunteered for was the Shot Putt.

After a close family member of a very close friend was recently diagnosed with cancer I felt it was about time I did something about this. Being affected by cancer myself a few years ago when both my Grandads and Grandma sadly died from this horrific disease I am glad to finally be doing something positive – the Great Yorkshire Run – to help people fight cancer.

I felt a bit guilty at first, creating my ‘Just Giving’ page. I felt that if people saw me posting about it all over Facebook they would inwardly groan and think ‘not another one’ and politely ignore me. I felt awkward having to ask people for money and the first time I posted it on my Facebook status the next hour I waited with baited breath.

‘What if no one sponsored me??’ I didn’t think my target of £300 was unachievable but what if people just ignored me. I would have let Weston Park Hospital right down and that quite frankly would have been devastating after all the care they provided for my family.

Turns out I should have more faith in humanity.

Some people have sponsored me already, large amounts in my eyes, and have put anonymous – only I can see who it actually was – and this has included a lovely girl I went to school with who I haven’t seen or spoken to since school. She sponsored me £30.

Someone who used to work with my dad who hasn’t seen me since 1997 and who I have no recollection of – through seeing it on my Dad’s Facebook wall he sponsored me £35.

Another friend who I do not know that well, out the blue sponsored me £55. I nearly fell off my chair at work when I received the email from Just Giving.

I cannot express my gratitude to every single person who has sponsored me so far, family, friends and my boyfriend (without which I wouldn’t have been brave enough to sign up to this). Even £5 means such a lot that they took the time to sponsor me and wish me well.

I am a social media addict, and social media is also my job so it is unsurprising to me that all of my donations have come through Facebook and Twitter so far, enabling me to reach people I wouldn’t have always.

I haven’t blogged for over a year, unfortunately losing inspiration after University. Peoples’ efforts and kindness has changed this today and I have been inspired to blog which has actually made me really happy!

If you haven’t sponsored me to take part in the Great Yorkshire Run but would like to you can at www.justgiving.com/beth-nunnington 

I have written this in a massive rush as usual, and unlike work blogs I don’t need to proof read this so sorry for any spelling/grammar issues (don’t tell my boss!) I am off for an hour long gruelling body attack at the gym to try and help my fitness! Wish me luck xxx

Thank you to everyone who has donated xxxx

Thank you to everyone who has donated xxxx

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The Real World

It’s what every recent graduate dreads, but what we all secretly long for.

The.Real.World.

Although my still student soul dies a little every time my alarm goes off at 7am, (how did I ever think getting up at 9am for 10 O’clock lecture was bad?!) I can’t remember the last time I was in reaching distance to being in credit. No longer am I scrapping the barrel of my over draft, another pay cheque and I may be a few quid in credit.

The decision to take the job and move to Liverpool was easy, I didn’t have a second thought. However I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the most petrified I had ever been in my life. Two days before I started working I felt I had turned a pale grey colour and couldn’t eat I was so scared. No one really knew how scared I was apart from those I was living with, which was at the time my parents and my best friends family (in one house , long story) where I became a tightened ball of stress.

Moving in with two strangers was a tough concept and starting a job was terrifying. But moving to a city I had only been to once was also pretty damn petrifying.

Emotional tears inevitably came and the panicked words of ‘I can’t do this’ spilled out before I said bye to my parents and drove myself and my Great Aunt across the pennines in the pouring rain to my new city.

I was staying with my Great Aunt for 2 weeks before I could move into my new place. This was a comfort but also at times was unsurprisingly hard. At 86 she is used to living on her own and didn’t seem to realise that I too was used to looking after myself at uni.

Despite me begging her not to buy yoghurts because I don’t like them (I can only ever manage half a pot at a push) she continued to buy more and I continued to force them down in politeness. Every morning she would insist on waking up with me and making me my breakfast because ‘she was looking after me as your mum isn’t here’.

Offering me cups of tea every 15 minutes, a sandwich every 10 and a biscuit every 5 it was a miracle I didn’t leave obese. She consistently told me I wasn’t eating enough ‘Auntie Ange I have just had my tea and a cream egg for pudding I’m fine thank you’

‘Well a cream egg isn’t very much, here have another one and you can have a biscuit later…’

NOOOOOOOOO.

Offering me a hot water bottle every night (in August) also made me smile a lot, and her comments about ‘not talking to strange men unless they’re rich and handsome’ made me giggle.

In fact ultra favourite quote from Great Auntie Angie was when I told her I hadn’t met a ‘nice man’ (do they exist?!) on holiday

‘Ohhh love, never mind – have a yoghurt instead’

I was so lucky to have her there but after 2 weeks I was ready to move on and go it alone.

Now I have very much entered the real world there are few issues that have arose.

1) Washing and Ironing.

Since when did I ever have to worry about those? Washing at uni was simple, when your basket is full and you’ve run out of socks just wack a load in. Ironing has always been non applicable in my life as I (didn’t used to) see the point.

Now though I am a respectable person currently working in a solicitors where everyone dresses really smart which means as I don’t have that many work clothes yet this means washing frequently.

And ironing. I DETEST ironing and end up putting more creases in it then I started. So if anyone wants to give me a lesson in ironing that would be great. Maybe I will YouTube it surely there must be a demo?

My landlady found it hilarious that I couldn’t even work out how to put the ironing board down so for several days it served as a book shelf.

Much better purpose for it if you ask me.

Also when does one have time to do washing and ironing? The last thing I feel like doing (there goes the words of Mandy Nunnington right there (Mother) ) is washing when I get back from work. However whilst I was in Sheffield this weekend I was panicking about the fact I hadn’t done any washing.

Since when did my worries revolve around washing?

2) Supermarket shopping

Again when does one have time? I definitely do not want to spend the weekend doing boring chores like food shopping. Also once upon a time I would never have referred to it as a boring chore. Driving home from work today I had to force myself to go to Tescos and buy food and petrol. 100 pounds later my mood hadn’t improved much…

3) Cooking.  I love cooking but cooking is no longer fun when you come home, tired and then have to start cooking your own tea. Now I also worry about what I have in my fridge and what needs eating up.  

Where is my mother when you need her??

This is when the guilt kicks in and I remember my mum not only worked but also cooked and cleaned for us all. 

 So this leads me to number 4 – living on your own.

Technically I guess this should be number 1. The best thing about living away from your parents is there is no one there to nag you to ‘tidy your room’ ‘WILL YOU PLEASE STOP LEAVING MUGS IN YOUR ROOM’ ‘put your clothes away’ ‘make your bed’. Unfortunately I now have to nag myself and I have become one of those weird people who are obsessed with getting into a made bed. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

However I love living on my own, I couldn’t go back to living with my parents and I doubt they want me back. I love Liverpool too, developing a slight scouse accent can only be classed as a highlight. Thankfully I also really enjoy my job. Plus being here means I only have to answer to myself, I can eat what I want (if I can be bothered to cook it) and do whatever I want and no one ever needs to know but me..

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Hugh Grant: What A Hero.

Although the News of The World Scandal is getting to be old news, whilst I was scrolling through all the information, an interview with Hugh Grant and former features editor of the newspaper Paul McMullan caught my eye.

For those of you who have not heard, Hugh Grant secretly recorded a conversation between himself and McMullan who proceeded to give away many details of the NOTW involvement in phone hacking.

After Hugh explains briefly what happened the camera is then pointed at McMullan who nonchalantly jokes that Hugh still owes him 6 pounds for the two pints he drank whilst recording the conversation.

The joke seems to stand awkwardly in mid-air, making him look idiotic.

The former features editor then proceeds to slate Grant by saying he can’t believe such a well known actor would ‘lower himself to such tactics’

At which point I have to stop the video, re-wind and play that bit again in disbelief.

The utter absurdity of such a statement is almost amusing.

Almost.

I think it is safe to say that you can’t get much ‘lower’ than using ‘tactics’ such as hacking into people’s private voicemail accounts; especially missing teenagers, all in order to obtain a sensationalised story.

McMullen successfully made himself look foolish in my eyes by having the audacity to say such hypocritical words.

The closure of NOTW is no loss to society, although I do hope that the innocent journalists who worked for the paper are able to find jobs. I have heard though that Murdoch owned The Sun is to start running 7 days a week which makes me wonder if Murdoch has really lost out, or even learnt his lesson.

Hopefully the delayed takeover B Sky B will open his $$$ coated eyes a bit, however I doubt he even cares that much.

Murcoch has domianted the press for years and it is about time he took a knock back.  As Grant says in the video, Thatcher was one of the first Prime Ministers to wise up to this and the Conservatives continued to use the power of the media throughout their campaign. Neil Kinnock’s spectacular failure in the 1992 election is another example the frightening power of Murdoch’s press.

On the day of the polling The Sun ran a headline slating the Labour leader

Following the Conservative success the paper then gleefully ran this gloating headline the next day:

Therefore it is about time that the tabloids were throughly checked and held accountable for their unethical procedures.  Although I do not wish for this to be at the expense of freedom of speech, phone hacking is unnecessary and unacceptable.

I believe that following more investigations it will soon come clear that the NOTW are not the only culprits and for a medium that is fast becoming left behind in the Internet age; there could be serious trouble ahead for newspapers.

I meant to buy the NOTW yesterday for the first and last time. I forgot. If anyone has a copy I would be interested to have a read…

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Change Is Liberating

You never know if you never try…

I still regret nothing.

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Just a thought

Sometimes you have to take a step back

Look at other people

And think…

Oh actually, my life isn’t so bad after all.

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The awkward moment when you develop an intense fear of flying just as your parents move to Abu Dhabi

Ever since my flight had been booked I had been dreading this moment. Saying bye to my parents for 3 months and flying away from them. On.My.Own. It was ridiculous really, having never had this fear before. The angst that I felt was multiplied by my reluctance to say goodbye to my family and I had successfully pushed it out my head for the majority of the 2 weeks.

The night before I was so anxious I gave myself tummy ache, I just wanted time to hurry up and I willed it to be morning. Hugging me, my mum kindly offered me her cuddly camel to take on the plane.

I declined.

There was too big a risk of me crying in the airport/and or plane. A 22 year old crying and clutching a cuddly camel is not a great image when you’re meant to be Miss Independent.

Waking up at 7am I felt sick to my stomach. Sitting on my straining pink suitcase I decided it was definitely time to admit defeat and buy a bigger one. Two week stints in Abu Dhabi are just too long for my sugar pink companion. On the way there someone even mistook it for handluggage its that small.

Travelling taught me to travel light but I hadn’t realized how much of my Dad’s hard earned cash I was going to spend on clothes whilst I was out there….

Half way to the airport we had a call from Mum’s lovely friend Sue who was flying out with her (equally) lovely daughter to Heathrow 2 hours before me –

From the look on Mum’s face I knew it was BAD news and I felt my already churned stomach tighten even further.

‘Sue says your flight has been delayed till 2pm’

Oh goody. Just what you want to hear at 7: 45am in the morning en route to the flaming airport.

Decided to go ahead and check in anyway and we were then umming and ahhing whether to leave the airport and come back or what when we noticed a young girl crying and talking to a member of staff.

The staff member gestured for her to have a sit down, near to me, and said she would come back and try and help.

The girl continued to cry and I felt upset for her. I was just debating whether or not to open my mouth and ask her if she was ok when mum went and stood by her and said quietly

‘is there anything I can do?’

She explained she had been in a car crash coming from Dubai and so missed her flight to Heathrow this morning. She was upset as she was only nineteen and a student and didn’t have the cash to be spending on a new flight.

Abi (I found out her name at least an hour later when we suddenly realized we hadn’t a clue what each other’s name was) insisted that there was nothing mum could do but mum had entered into full flight mother hen mode and started hunting down the general manager until he had transferred her onto the next flight to Heathrow at 1 30. Free of charge.

Mum then made sure I was entitled to a food voucher due to the delay and the man was kind enough to say he would make sure Abi got one too. We just had to go to either the flight transfer desk or the gate and pick one up.

Hugging mum goodbye we were both very teary but it was actually a relief to have Abi with me because it was a big distraction. We headed straight to security where there was miraculously no queue. I’m surprised I didn’t cause a queue because he made me take off every single piece of jewellery including my shoes.

I still beeped.

Even more worryingly I noticed that instead of looking at the contents of my bag on his computer screen the security man was secretly texting under the keyboard desk – not exactly ideal when you’re a nervous flyer with an over reactive imagination.

After that palava we then enquired where the flight transfer desk was. A man kindly took us and pointed us back where we came – back through security.

Oh for goodness sake I thought

‘well we may as well’ I sighed to Abi ‘we’ve got enough time to kill’

Went back through security which until today I didn’t realize was even possible. Found the flight transfer desk and the queue was ridiculous. People were sitting down and looked like they had been for a while.

We queued for 5 minutes and then gave up

‘He said they were giving them at the gate so we could just try there’ I suggested

Tried and failed to persuade the security people to let us through without checking us a second time. Of course they were having none of it but I did manage this time to keep all my jewellery and shoes ON.

I didn’t beep.

Don’t ask me how that works because I don’t know..

We traipsed to the Gate – surprise suprise it was number 32 and the furthest away.

Got to the gate – completely empty.

Tried in vain to see if the airport staff could just get us 2 vouchers but everyone just insisted we went to the flight transfer desk.

Neither of us could face going through security a third time so we resigned ourselves to paying a small fortune for an airport breakfast.

I’d just like to add here when I was explaining this story to my friend Alicia I said

‘Yeah so I was offered a free breakfast voucher for my wait’

‘What????’ She exclaimed looking shocked ‘because of your WEIGHT?!?!’

No no not my WEIGHT although I must admit I do look like I would appreciate a breakfast voucher or two.

Anyway spent a ridiculous amount on a coffee and a pastry and then decided a bit later on to opt for a Burger King with Abi. Opting for 5 chicken pieces that looked very large and juicy on the picture I was slightly devastated when they came as pieces smaller than my big toe.

After a lot of waiting around Abi and I said bye – it was funny how both of us were in a bad situation (hers worse than mine) and yet we managed to help each other despite being complete strangers.

Boarding the plane I nearly jumped up and down with delight at being put next to a very sweet elderly couple who would clearly look after me should I turn into a sobbing wreck.

‘Hello!!’ I said cheerfully plonking myself down next to the man ‘Good holiday?’

(He was probably thinking OH NO last thing I need is some irritating chatterbox sitting next to me for the entire 7 hour flight – in fact that would explain why he switched places with his wife as soon as the seatbelt sign went off…)

They seemed very friendly and I soon felt a lot better about the fact I was trapped in a metal prison that was soon to be flying 33 000 feet in the air across the world.

Every lurch of the plane made my stomach plait itself into several knots and I could feel my heart pounding the entire journey.

‘FOR GOODNESS SAKE YOU IDIOT’ I shouted inwardly at myself

‘MAN UP’

Luckily the food came and there was not one, but two curries to choose from so that distracted me for a little bit.

No one was more relieved than me when we touched down.

I’m going again in less than 2 months so lets hope I get a grip before then!

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Life as an Abu Dhabi female expat

The week before I flew here I spent a miserable week in the libary frantically trying to meet all my deadlines. My housemates kept trying to cheer me up by telling me I would soon to be in Abu Dhabi. I didn’t have much time to think about it but a lot of people told me ‘to have a good holiday’.

Abu Dhabi to me though is not exactly a holiday but then again it can’t really be called home either. I have been here over week and unlike ‘holidays’ I haven’t spent every waking second either sunbathing or in a bar.

I think people will be surprised at my lack of tan when I return but the truth is I didn’t come here to sunbathe (well I did a bit…) I came to see what life is like for my mum.

When I was last here at Christmas she hadn’t moved then and was a visitor/tourist like my brother and I. Now she has residency and a visa in her passport to prove it.

So what is life like for an Abu Dhabi female expat?

Pretty damn good.

Being a female in this city definitely has its advantages. For example, there is always a seat on the bus as the front half is reserved for women only.

On a recent trip to Dubai, at the coach station Mum and I were ushered straight to the front of the ticket queue and as my Dad was with us he also bypassed the long line and we got first pick of the seats on the coach.

In supermarkets they have priority check outs for women and if a female drives into a petrol station they are not expected to put the petrol in themselves – a man working there will do it for them.

Ladies nights are on every night of the week apart from Thursdays where women can drink whatever alcohol is being promoted free of charge.

Feminists will probably rage at this but personally if I am guranteed a seat on a bus, can skip to the front of queues, and have free alcohol – I really don’t have much of an issue with it.

Anyway back to the expat lifestyle, I went with mum to her weekly ‘Abu Dhabi Ladies’ Club’ coffee morning and met all of her new friends before going out to lunch with them all. An event which appears to happen at least once or twice a week.

Another day we walked to their local tailor who smiled at my mum, took the trousers she wanted turning up and said if we came back later on they would be done. For less than 4 pounds. Next door was the laundrette where Dad has his shirts washed and ironed for under 60pence each. The man didn’t even ask questions just wrote ‘Nick’ (my Dad’s name) down. Mum is evidently a regular. Well Abu Dhabi ladies have enough to do than sew and iron clothes after all…

(I had best hastily add before mum gets offended that she does do a lot of housework – she constantly has the hoover out or is mopping the floor – some things do not change!)

Mum also pointed out Dad’s barber who he visits once a week for under a fiver. I first discovered this at Christmas when it was just the two of us for a week and he said he was off for a shave. I was very confused when he disappeared for an hour and a half! Didn’t realise he had a proper one done just down the road complete with a head and shoulder massage.

My mum never goes on the beach on her own which people may be surprised by but it goes to show how quickly such luxuries – such as being 10minutes from the beach – become the norm.

Yesterday we spent the entire day in the shopping centre and had lunch there. It was a lovely mother and daughter outing and it was a relief to escape the 41 degrees heat outside (it is like walking into a hair dryer some days).

Today we went for a long lunch (over 3 hours) at a lovely arty cafe which was full of squishy sofas and arm chairs where we met some of mums new friends. One lady had brought her two daughters – the eldest is my age and also in her final year at uni and her sister is 18. Their parents had moved out in October, a month after mine, so it was nice to talk to other people who had found themselves in a similiar situation to my own.

Tomorrow we are going to meet another of mum’s friends and her son and daughter who are flying here as I write this. We’re going to have free cocktails as it is ladies night at the Tourist Club.

I really should start some university work one of these days…

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Abu Dhabi – the place to be

I have been thinking that for people back home Abu Dhabi must be hard to picture.

If anyone has seen the AWFUL film Sex and The City 2 scrap any mental image of that because the film wasn’t even filmed here. Filming was banned here and so therefore it was made in Morroco.

I thought I would put the record straight a little…

This is a city built on a desert but it is modern and busy and safe. I have been to many places where I have felt threatened so I do know what I’m talking about. Plus there is no way my mum would have sold our house and moved here if she felt in any way uncomfortable or in danger.

For those of you who have visited Muslim countries such as Egypt and Turkey – Abu Dhabi can not be compared to them.

Yes alcohol is banned in the Muslim religion but this doesn’t mean alcohol is non existent. Abu Dhabi has many hotels with fantastic bars tucked away inside them and as long as you have a license you can buy alcohol from tucked away off-licenses.

Yesterday, it was Ladies Night at the Yacht Club in the 5 star Intercontinental Hotel, like it is every Wednesday. Whatever night of the week it is you can pick up a local magazine and find out which bar is offering Ladies Night. I’m pretty sure if you worked it out right you could go out every night and never pay for a single drink (if you’re female of course).

When I wrote I was going to ‘drink champagne for free all night – simply because I am female’, on my facebook status, I had a comment that said ‘they love the white girls out there’. I guess this is a common view but I wanted to make it clear that when I sat in the ultra modern, posh bar yesterday, I was surrounded by British and American business men in suits and English and American ladies sipping champagne, as the Emirati do not drink.  The idea is not to encourage young girls to get inibriated (arguably as they do in the UK) but to hope that they will bring their male partner along so they can charge them a fortune for their pint of beer or whatever they may choose.

Sipping my champagne I said to my Mum it felt that I could be in London, or New York, never mind a middle-eastern country.

I am not stupid,  I know, as with any country there are contradictions, however as a 22 year old girl I feel comfortable here. In fact I love it here. I have caught taxis and buses alone and not worried about my safety as I would have in other places.

Yes I cover my shoulders with a light shawl and my dress touches just above my knee but I do not feel restricted in what I can and can not wear. If I had a boyfriend over here then yes it would be frowned upon to hold hands and kiss and cuddle but as I am single, this does not really matter and secondly it is so hot the last thing you want is someone else’s sweaty palm touching your own!

Abu Dhabi oozes wealth and it is the place to be right now. Which is why I am glad to be here!

There are not many places that would put concerts on, on the beach, and have artists such as Paloma Faith playing for free.

I would also like to highlight the fact that when I’m on the beach, I do NOT wear a wetsuit, a bikini is perfectly acceptable here. The sand is white and the sea is like liquid glass. Clear and beautiful.

This dream like existence might not last forever so for the time being I plan to enjoy every precious minute..

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School Dinners

I wanted to write this several days ago but unfortunately uni work provailed 😦

Spending from (on average) 10 hours a day in the library all day last week was enough to make anyones head explode. Even the sweetest, nicest person would have turned into a stressed, irritable monster.

One stressful day, which I had spent either frowning at my computer or sitting there swaying with my eyes closed and a smile on my face (according to my housemates Lisa and Sarah who were also rotting away in the library along side me). This may sound like crazy behaviour, which to be fair it was, but every so often I would treat myself to a You Tube clip of Someone Like You by Adele – hense the swaying.

At about half five I decided the only way I was going to be able to march on until at least 9 30 was to ‘treat’ myself to a hot meal at the refectory – Leeds Uni canteen.

Saying bye to Lisa and her coursemate Kiya I instantly tripped over my laptop cable and then went the wrong way out of the silent study section. For the hundreth time much to their amusement.

I knew I was in for a stressful time at the refectory because I had been the week before. Luckily that time I had bumped into my lovely coursemate Mat who took me under his wing and helped me through the horrendousness. Peering around anxiously for him I realised this time

I was on my own.

Everyone was grabbing trays and queuing up at different food stations, I nervously picked up a tray and lurked around peering over people’s shoulders trying to see what was on offer. I felt very awkward as everyone seemed to have a friend and I most definitely didn’t. They all seemed professional in ‘canteen etiquette’ where I stuck out as a sore thumb who didn’t have a clue what to do.

But didn’t you have school dinners at schoo???l I hear you ask

No. I hated school dinners with a passion. They were before the days of Jamie Oliver and just the smell alone was enough to put me off. (I was evidently a food snob even at the age of 5….)

In the end I opted for a curry because I love curry and I figured you couldn’t go too wrong with one.

That is unless your name is Beth Nunnington of course. Going down the line I politely said yes to the rice which she dished out with alarming vigor. I know I eat a lot, but the size of that rice mountain was a bit scary. Reaching the end of the line I noticed a big bowl of cucumber raita so I poured it all over my dinner as I LOVE raita.

As I finished coating my curry in the stuff the guy next to me said

‘erm what is that?’

‘Oh its cucumber raita’ I replied looking at his plate of roast dinner and thinking – sorry mate not one for your dinner

‘Oh are you sure about that?’ Asked the lady who had been in charge of my rice mountain and who, may I add, had stood and watched me pour the stuff all over my meal!

Feeling a tad apprehensive, as lady like as possible, I stuck the end of my little finger into the sauce on my curry (no not the bowl!!)

‘Ohhh its err horseradish’ I muttered feeling myself inevitably blushing bright red as the guy and the canteen lady burst into giggles.

Picking up my tray I edged away mortified but also furious that I had ruined my dinner. To make it worse there was a massive queue to pay as the boy at the front kept changing his mind about which bloody chocolate bar he wanted. In the end he settled on all three. Impressive.

Handing over a £6 to the lady at the till I was unimpressed to discover the naan bread – that rice lady had plonked down on my plate without asking – was NOT free. I didn’t even want it but I couldn’t be bothered to argue.

There was then the dilemma of where to sit. In the end I had to sit on an empty table and when no one came to sit next to me I was not surprised. 5 days in the libary had turned me into an ugly monster and even Lisa, one of my best friends, kept subtly re-arranging my hair.

At the end of this ordeal (I was still sitting alone) I scuttled out the canteen as fast as possible. As I was leaving the door I noticed an electronic screen that said

Please Take The Time To Complete Our Refectory Survery

I was not spending another minute in a place that made me feel like an awkward teenager again but I think the refectory staff would have been relieved that I didn’t bother.

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