Posts Tagged ‘work’

Diary of my first week in my new job

On Monday, I started a new job as a chef (!) and was very excited. I got given a chef’s jacket and a black apron and I tucked a towel into the apron straps (like a proper chef) and got started.

Day 1 – Go, go, go! There’s croissants to bake, thereafter vegetables to grill, there’s a side of beef to roast. There was so much to remember, so much to do. I got my head down and did what I was told. I knew I was slow. New people always are. But I knew how to work hard and I knew how to be keen. So I did both of those. My back struggled with the crouching and bending and lifting etc and I felt a little like an old woman. But it was good. I was learning.

Day 2 – More croissants, more vegetables, more salad leaves, more confusion. I chopped tomatoes until I thought there must be no more tomatoes left in the entire world.

Day 3 – The obvious tension between one staff member and the manager became difficult to stay out of. I was asked for an opinion on matters in which they opposed each other. I smiled innocently, put my head down and sliced onions.

Day 4 – This was happening. So I wasn’t in a great place. The staff member who spends her time being shouted at by the manager came in and told us there had been a bereavement in her family the day before. The manager let her go home. He made a comment that nothing had been done to get ready for the day. I got a bit crazy and was like, “What do you mean?! I’m working really hard here!” There was chat. The air was cleared. I explained that I wasn’t feeling that great.

Day 5 – Better. Much better. I understood him better. He was sympathetic to what had happened. I was still slow but I was learning and I was able to just get my head down and get on. Then I left work at 3pm. And at 4pm, I got a call offering me an amazing job and can I start on Monday please? I said yes and hung up then called my other new job and quit.

And that was my week in the kitchen. I’ll say more about the new job later, suffice to say, it involves baking in a really old house.

L is for…

LOVE!

Now, there’s a lot of love between my colleague, Mimi, and I. You might be wondering if you remember the name Mimi from a previous post. And you would be right. For it is Mimi of Falling For You fame. Tabasco-breast Mimi, if you will.

Now Mimi is like my long lost sister. Ish. Kind of. Our surnames are a bit similar and our signatures are similar too. So you see, a lot of love.

After a few months of working together, we were on a shift one day and it was handover time. At 3pm, the evening shift starts and the morning shift finishes. It was at this point that a company who delivers our packaging decided to bring everything we had ordered for that week. As there was loads of stuff, I told the evening shift person I would stay to unpack it, save them trying to do that plus everything else you need to do on an evening shift.

As I got started, I clamoured over all the boxes and was kind of wedged in with my back to the big fridge, unpacking stuff. Mimi, with her coat on ready to go, leaned toward me with one arm outstretched.

O, we’ve reached that stage in our relationship, have we? I thought, as I responded to the invitation to hug. This is nice. This is how we say goodbye now.

I really went for it actually, embracing Mimi and knowing that this was a significant moment for us. We were now, officially, best friends. (Mimi says I was a bit like a limpit, clinging onto her.)

A pause followed. Then Mimi spoke.

“Get off. I’m trying to get to the fridge.”

“O, I thought you were… I thought you were saying bye.”

She laughed vigorously, assured me that she wasn’t going in for a hug and could I please move cause she needed to get the fridge.

Hurriedly, I unclamped and stepped aside a little, while she put something away in the fridge and bustled out, saying bye as usual.

I’ve not tried the goodbye hug again. But still, there’s a lot of love.

Wimbledon Common and I

One of my first encounters with Wimbledon was when I was asked to go and work there. I worked for a coffee company which had kiosks in train stations all over the country so I would often get sent somewhere else for a day. I had been to a bar in Wimbledon before, years ago, with a friend, but I knew I wouldn’t still recognise anything.

I cycled there because I had recently decided I was going to exercise more and had purchased one of those little fold up bikes. I lived ten minutes away from Wimbledon Common and knew that all I had to do was get onto it from my end, cycle across it, emerge on the Wimbledon side and find the train station. Simple, right?

This is what actually happened. I got onto the Common and started cycling. I realised that my little fold up bike with its mini wheels was ill-equipped for stones and grass. I was thrown about all over the place, which I blame for loss of concentration. It was summer too so when I cycled through a patch of low hanging trees, there was all this nature-stuff all over the place and sticking to me, petals and bits of leaf and spiderwebs.

I had allowed an hour to make the journey and by the time I was forty minutes in and still on the Common, I started to worry. I just couldn’t find my way to the edge! I’d follow one certain direction in a straight line, figuring I would have to reach the outside soon, then I’d see something in another direction that I was sure must lead to Wimbledon so start off in a different direction. I felt like perhaps I had entered an enchanted land which was huge and inescapable. The Common was like the wardrobe which led into Narnia.

Eventually, after about an hour, by which point I am definitely going to be late to work and am becoming frantic, I emerged from the trees onto a large rugby playing field and a road on the other side of it. The edge of the Common! I had found it. There was a man walking his dog and I bumped over there on my bike and asked him directions to Wimbledon. He indicated back into the trees and said going round by road would take far too long. He gave me directions so I took a deep breath and plunged back in.

And I was lost again. I cycled round helplessly, looking for the tree stump or the split in the path that he had told me about. I couldn’t see any of it. I was lost. Again.

Eventually, I saw some flat grass and two people playing golf. I peddled over, panting and panicking and covered in nature. They pointed the route out to me and said I was near.

As I turned to go, one of them, a guy a similar age to me, said, “Wait a minute.”

Ah! thought I. This is how it is in the films. A damsel in distress, a young gallant man, rescues her and falls in love with her. His heart strings are pulled by her youthful naivete. He will ask me for my phone number now. Be cool. Be calm.

I turned back to him, expectantly.

“You’ve got a spider on your top.”

I looked down to find that he was right. I did indeed have a spider on my top, just by my shoulder. Acting as though I wasn’t even bothered, I brushed it off and hurried away, embarrassed.

I came to a little road and went into it, until a stern lady came out and made it clear that this was a private road and I needed to go that way, the other way, anything to get me out of her road.

After another half an hour or so of cycling and looking and feeling helpless, I eventually emerged and found my way to the station, exhausted and traumatised. Later that night, I finished my shift and decided to confront the Common again, face my fears head on. It took all of ten minutes for me to somehow, do a semi circle and end up coming off the Common a stone’s throw away from where I had entered it. I gave up on the Common then.

As a P.S., when I eventually decided to tackle Wimbledon Common again and figured out the route across it, it took fifteen minutes maximum, to get from end to end. On the day mentioned above, it took me two and a half hours.

Falling for you…

There has been some world saving but let’s talk about that another day. A few days ago, something far more important happened.

I was in work and my colleague, let’s call her Mimi, was having one of those ‘on it’ days. You know? She was pulling out fridges and cleaning underneath and taking things off shelves and cleaning underneath. She had prepared everything in the kitchen and was ready for the orders to start arriving.

“I’m ready,” she was boasting. “I’ve done everything really early. Are you impressed?”

I was nodding obediently.

Then her cleaning energies focussed on the extractor fan. She climbed up on her little fold out stool, flipped down the cover and took it off with the filter paper attached. She was really getting right inside it to clean it. The very edge tends to get dirty because the filter paper is just a little bit too short.

So she was reaching around the edges to clean it.

At this point in time, I was chatting to a customer in the shop. I had made her a coffee and now she was trying to decide what food to order for her and her daughter. We chatted a little, laughed a little, debated what we thought her toddler would enjoy when suddenly….

CRAAAASH!

Keeping my cool, I asked the customer to take a seat until her food was ready and rushed back to the kitchen, where I was greeted by this…..
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(artist’s impression)

Mimi looked out uncertainly from a mass of colour and smashed glass. It looked like someone had been murdered in the kitchen. Mimi was wedged onto the two work surfaces, holding herself up by her elbows. Her legs were on the floor but she wasn’t using them to stand up. I now know that it is because the jar of honey which had smashed on the ground had made the floor too slippery to stand on. Like those kids’ cartoons where a cat goes ice skating or something and can’t stand up without falling over a second later.

What had happened was this. Mimi, in her infinite cleaning wisdom, was cleaning the extractor fan, as mentioned. She was reaching to the far corner to get to the last little bit of dirt. She couldn’t quite reach but she stretched, convinced she could make it. She stretched…. And stretched….

Then the stool she was standing on slid out from under her. It went backwards, she went forwards and as she fell, her panicking clutching hands alighted upon the tray of bottled things we keep on the windowsill. It has all kinds on it – olive oil, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, honey, vinegars, sauces, jams, icing sugar….

She caught the edge of the tray with her fingers whilst falling and flipped it. Yes, she flipped a tray full of bottles across a kitchen….

Unsurprisingly, most of them hit a wall or other surface and smashed upon impact. The honey hit the floor and made the ice rink effect. One of the bottles hit a pan of oil that was sitting on a hob, adding oil into the general mix….

Unsure what had happened, I grabbed her under the arms and helped her stand before running for kitchen roll to get wiping. My eyes started to really sting after a second and I realised that the two bottles of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce must have been smashed too.

Like a fly to a flame, both had headed for Mimi’s right breast and soaked it before the hitting the floor. It took a few minutes for the adrenalin to wear off but suddenly she said to me, “Do you have a spare t-shirt with you? It’s really stinging.”

After about an hour, the panic was over, the kitchen was clean, the broken glass was in the bin and Mimi had a clean t-shirt on. And then the laughter set in. It was so severe, neither of us could talk to customers or take orders or make coffee.

And that is what happened in work on Tuesday. There’s nothing like arriving upon a murder scene in the kitchen to liven up your Tuesday!

Christmas Eve

I have just eaten my last advent calendar chocolate. I am about to go to work for the last time before having a little Christmas break. I am going to spend ten minutes before work reading Narnia. I am just up to the bit where Digory and Polly go exploring in other worlds and find Charn, and Digory rings the bell in the long room, like an idiot. I always get really irritated when he does that. I am looking at the pile of presents under the mini Christmas tree…

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….and I am thinking about how lovely tomorrow promises to be. In a minute, I will eat some breakfast and try to decide what to wear with my fabulous Christmas jumper.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from last Christmas to get us feeling all festive.

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                      Presents!

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Christmas dinner – an amazing three bird roast

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Yaya’s little sister, ignoring her presents and playing excitedly with some cardboard.

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                Christmas pasta!

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                     Mince pies

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        Last year’s Christmas tree

HAVE A LOVELY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

The time I got my nose pierced

When I was 20, I worked in a job for a few months where I had to travel around the UK a lot. It was a slightly mad time in my life. I was fresh back from my second stint in Namibia and such a gap year casualty. You could spot me a mile off, with my colourful skirts and millions of bracelets. My hair was really short and would stick out at crazy angles when I took my hat off. I always had a hat. That’s another thing. I always wore hats. I had a massive collection of them.

Anyway, this one day, I was working with three other girls in Leicester (I think). I had initially thought I wouldn’t get on with one of them but we hit it off pretty soon and I thought she was fab. I had pretty much made up my mind I wanted to be her. And she had her nose pierced. In fact, all three of the other girls had their noses pierced.

After a particularly successful working day, we were all feeling a bit high and excitable. We had spotted a tattoo and piercing place and decided that we would go en masse, and I would get my nose pierced.

Off we went and I entered and announced that I would like my nose pierced please. Not having any foreknowledge of how these things are done, I offered up my nose to this complete stranger, wielding what I now know to be an ear piercing device and let him pierce me.

I wandered off, the others all admiring my pretty nose stud, feeling way cool. I left it for the a few weeks but started to feel something wasn’t right when my nostril swelled up around the stud and went red. I decided to change it sooner than recommended because I just wanted to get the stud out, in case that was the problem.

I took hold of the front bit and the back bit and pulled. And pulled. And pulled. Nothing. It was stuck! I couldn’t get enough of my finger into my nostril to give the back a good tug. I started to worry. I was back home by this point so my uncle got involved, tugging and twisting and doing whatever he could think of. Eventually, he came up with a plan. He would use plyers (that’s right, plyers) to force it open.

That’s exactly what happened. He grabbed hold of the bit on the front of my nostril with one pair of plyers and wedged another pair up my nose to hold onto the back. Very rarely have I felt less dignified. He pulled, I winced, he tugged, I made ow noises… And finally it gave way and came off. I whipped another stud straight in and the swelling and redness subsided immediately.

I showed a friend the offending nose stud and she just laughed and told me it was an earring and that I’d been pierced with an earring gun. Great.

So anyway, I was then happy. Life went back to normal. Until six months later I got a new job and was told I couldn’t wear jewelry. I took out the nose stud reluctantly and, eight hours later, I went home, clutching my nose stud, intending to put it back in.

I felt the place where my piercing had been and tried pushing the stud in. Nothing doing. I checked in a mirror but couldn’t see a hole anymore. I pushed, I squeezed and I almost wept. It had closed. I would have to try re-piercing. So I got an ice cube, melted it with my fingers so it would fit up my nostril then tried pushing on the front of my nostril with the stud again.

And that’s when it hit me. I wouldn’t be able to re-pierce it. And actually, if something requires me to have plyers and moulded ice cubes stuck up my nose … I think maybe I should let it go…

And so I did. I became one of the non-pierced masses. I was sad. But my life was easier.

I once dated a man who’s name I didn’t know

True story.

It happened about five years ago. I saw him every day when I was at work and thought he was utterly beautiful. When I was at work I had a name badge on.

For about a year, I smiled and tried to start conversations. For a year, he smiled politely but didn’t respond. Then one day I went to get some photos developed and he was standing there in the shop! Thankfully, the photos were of friends and I at a party so I looked presentable enough.

When I went to pick them up, he finally responded to my advances and chatted a little. The chatting developed over the next few months until he finally asked me to go for a drink. He’d been saying my name when talking to me for quite a while by this point. Obviously, having a name badge on made it easy for him. But by the time we were going for a drink, I realised I didn’t know his name and we had been flantering (flirty bantering) for too long for me to now ask him.

When he gave me his number he just wrote it on a peice of paper, without his name. Before our date, I tried going online to the website of the shop where he worked but there was nothing about staff names. And so I went for a drink with a man who’s name I did not know.

When the man gave me a gentle kiss goodnight at the bus stop, I still did not know his name. When I saved his phone number under ‘Man,’ I still did not know his name. When we text back and forth to arrange a second date (which we did not end up going on), I still did not know his name.

When he disappeared off the radar altogether for a year or so, then showed up back at my work needing someone to talk to and saying he’d been married and divorced in the past year and struggled with alcoholism, I still did not know his name.

When he cried a little so I took him somewhere quiet to sit and gave him a hug, I still did not know his name.

When he asked me what he needed to say to prove he was still interested (I, unfortunately, no longer was), I still did not know his name.

And now, while I’m remembering how odd that all was, I still do not know his name!

Things I have been called

Pragmatic (by a teacher)
A goddess (after a brief encounter with another student at uni)
Lucille Ball (a fellow blogger)
Bill Bailey (my secondary school drama teacher)
Oops-a-daisy Maisey (all the boys at primary school)
The hostess with the mostess (guests for dinner)
An athlete (an old boyfriend)
A maverick (as above)
A slut (my mother, when she saw me in a short skirt one day)
Mayonnaisey (boys at school again)
Stubborn (most people who have spent a lot of time in close quarters with me)
Manipulative (my mother)
Sexy (a man I went on one date with)
Inspirational (an old friend from uni)
Extra rarge (by a Chinese woman on Beijing, trying her best tactics to persuade me to buy a t-shirt from her. Surprisingly, being told she had extra rarge which would fit me didn’t work.)
A grandma (most of my close female friends, at one time or another)
Nanny Maisey (my friend’s grandchildren)
Crazy (colleagues)
Talkative (most people, probably)
Patient (new staff at work)
Angelina Jolie (a local Namibian guy, whilst trying to persuade me to buy something from him)
Fat Legs (some young boys in the street, when I was about 17)
Uncaring (my mother)
Naufiku (the African name I was given when living in Namibia, it means ‘born in the evening’)
Hilarious and probably the funniest girl in the world (me, suggesting to other people the words they might use to describe me)

The pesto incident

At work, we do a sandwich which has pesto on it, instead of mayonnaise. Well, actually, it’s pesto mixed with mayonnaise. We only use it on one sandwich, a chicken and avocado combo which is quite popular. If, for whatever reason, we don’t do any of the chicken avocado sandwiches, the pesto mayo doesn’t get used.

I think that is what must have happened the day before The Pesto Incident. The pesto mayo had, I think, developed a little skin on it’s surface inside the bottle.

I was starting work at 11am that day. I wandered in, all casual from my long lie in and the lovely weather. I was wearing a white summery dress, embracing the sunshine. As soon as I entered, though, I could feel there was a bit of a rush on. The person in the kitchen was evidently having a rubbish time of it and they asked me to take over.

I grabbed an apron and got stuck in. The first sandwich was something fairly straight forward, a pastrami and mustard, or something like that. Next up, the chicken avocado number. Great, I love making this sandwich.

Chicken in pan to warm. Grab bread. On chopping board. Put pesto mayo on bread… I squeezed the bottle but no blob of pesto mayo came out. What was wrong? (Remember that little skin it has got from not being used the day before?) I shook it slightly and squeezed again. It felt like there was something hard pushing back against me. I’d show that pesto mayo. Squeeeeeeeeze! Nothing. What is WRONG with it? Both hands this time. Squeeeeee….

PESTO EXPLOSION!

I looked up in shock, still holding the pesto bomb in my hands.

It. Was. Everywhere. It had hit both walls either side of the kitchen and found it’s way, miraculously, into the toaster. The bread on the chopping board was barely visible underneath the pesto mountain which covered it. It had gone on the underside of the shelves which held the crockery and even over to the sink (a fair distance away) and on the wall and taps and drying rack over there.

Then I looked down. It was covering the top half of my apron, my lovely white summer dress and my hair. I had gone for a girly down-do that day, a long plait which had been hanging forward over my shoulder at the time of the explosion. It was now covered in pesto mayo. From the elbows up, my dress was covered with large splats.

Ever the pragmatist, I ignored it all and finished up the sandwich. As I put it on a plate and turned around to take it out, my manager walked into the kitchen and looked at me in shock. Then laughed. Then told me to go home and change.

My hair still smelled like pesto all day.

It’s about my aura

A little while ago, a friend at work asked me cover part of a shift for her. It was quite important so she was really grateful when I said I could cover it. She asked what she could do in return and I said I’d like her to write me a song and perform it. Which she did.

Here is that song. I thought you might like to hear it.

Oh Laura

Thank you so much for covering part of my shift,
It really means a lot, if you catch my drift.

Oh Laura, it’s something about your aura,
Yeah, your aura, mmm, mmm, yeah.

I hope it doesn’t ruin your evening,
Or give you a peculiar feeling,

Yeah, it’s your aura. Oh Laura.

Now I will owe you a favour,
As you have been my saviour.

Yeah Laura, it’s your aura…

Do you like it? I have also just remembered a song my brother made up when we were little. It wasn’t really to do with me but it was to do with something I loved dearly and his intention with the song was to poke fun and try to annoy me.

It went as follows.

“My little pony,
Skinny and bony,
Looked in the mirror,
And saw a gorilla.”

So, as you can tell, I am surrounded by musical genius. No wonder I almost became a world famous pop star.