Posts Tagged ‘work’

My recent speech impediments

Recently, I’ve developed a few odd speech impediments. I’m not sure where they’ve come from or whether it’s just a result of working in a busier environment with customers and so I’m talking more.

The first one is definitely a talking-more thing. When people say thank you for something, I always say, “No problem.” It’s a bit nonsensical anyway because why would there be a problem with them saying thank you? And surely it’s for them to say ‘no problem’ because I’ve done something correctly when they asked me for it. Or maybe it means, “There’s no problem in getting it for you.” In which case, it is me who needs to say it.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I usually say ‘no problem.’ But because there are lots of customers, I’m trying to speak quickly so I can serve the next customer and I keep saying, “No ploblem.”

I’m not sure if they’ve noticed but it’s happening 50% of the time now. When I open my mouth to say, “No problem,” I’ve no guarantee whether I’ll say problem or ploblem.

The second one is something I imagine a grandma might often say. I keep telling people I’ll just “pop and” get them something.

Sample conversation in which I say “pop and.”

“Hello, how can I help you?”

“I’d just like a pot of tea please.”

“Ok, great, that’s going to be £1.75 please.”

“Can I pay by card?”

“Yes, that’s fine. If you just put your card into the machine and it will give you the instructions. I’ll just pop and make your tea while you’re doing that.”

I’m sorry? Pop AND make your tea? Why not just say “I’ll make your cup of tea while you’re doing that”? Am I implying that I shall pop before doing the pot of tea? And what on earth might this ‘pop’ consist of?

People say, “I’m just popping to the shops” or “Pop the kettle on.” The ‘pop’ in itself is kind of a byword for the word that should have been there. So what does my ‘pop’ mean? It’s totally superfluous to the sentence. I’ve already said, “I’ll make your cup of tea” so the “pop and” is simply in there for show.

And now I’ve noticed it and become conscious of it, I’ve been saying it for loads of stuff. It’s got out of control.

“I’ll pop and get you some bread for your soup.”

“If you sit down, I’ll pop and bring you the scones when they’re ready.”

“That’s £3.20, thank you. I’ll pop and get your change for you now.”

“I’ll just pop and get you a wine glass for your drink.”

Things I did yesterday

1. Met baby Mia

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2. Had photo fun at work

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3. Made a cake of Ham House. You know. As you do.

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Anyone else make their workplace out of cake yesterday?

My first day in my new-new job

Last week, if you remember, I started a new job. I got to wear chef’s whites and I used knives so sharp that I’m still carrying the scars on my fingers. I sliced tomatoes, I cubed aubergines, I washed salad leaves and it was all quite interesting. I also, however, had a bit of a letting-off-steam moment with the manager so was feeling uncertain about the whole thing. Then I got a call offering me another job, to start Monday (yesterday). So I said yes.

And yesterday, I started my new job at Ham House!

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Yes yes, that’s where I work now! It’s the place I’ve been going when I’ve got a day off and I do it for free so it’s way exciting that they want to pay me to be there. It’s very exciting.

The work itself was pretty straightforward cafe stuff, then towards the end of the day, I made some shortbread biscuits but in the extreme heat the mixture was so soft that it was flopping all over the place and sticking to everything!

In ten minutes, I will get dressed and take my beautiful new commute to work and do my second day in my fabulous new workplace.

This post wasn’t really even a post, was it? It was more just an announcement of where I now work.

Also, I think someone had a baby yesterday, or something…

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!