Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Doing Essays

I’m supposed to be writing an essay. In just over two weeks I’ve got two of the damn things to hand in, and I’ve yet to choose a topic for the second one.

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I started writing on Saturday. It’s now Tuesday. I have written less than forty words.

The problem isn’t the question, or the topic, or even the research I have neglected to do. The problem is me. Me and my overpowering levels of self-doubt.

The lecturers, for the past few weeks, have gone on and on about how we are expected to produce a higher standard of written work than we were at undergraduate level. They’ve made a point of telling us that we need to research more, we need to be clearer, we need to give the impression that we know our subject inside and out…

That’s bloody terrifying, isn’t it?

To make things slightly worse, last week we were given a way out. Apparently, if we would prefer not to do quite as many essays, we can change our qualification to a PgDip or Postgraduate Diploma. In career terms, it wouldn’t affect any of us. We would be able to apply for the same jobs, at the same rate of pay, as those who choose to do a Masters as long as – and this is the bit that killed it for me – we stay in the same industry for the rest of our lives.
So if I suddenly decided that I was in the wrong job, and wanted to go in a different direction altogether, my PgDip would be rendered meaningless. A Masters degree, however, is universally recognised as BRILLIANT and will stand me in good stead for the rest of my life. In theory. And only if you choose to completely disregard the current jobs market, as I am actively doing.

Continuing with my Masters degree is the obvious choice, of course. OF COURSE IT IS. But these bloody essays have been driving me up the wall. So, more than once, I have contemplated changing my qualification. Not seriously enough to actually do anything about it, but seriously enough to back away from the essay and watch Titanic.

And then it occurred to me – I AM WELL CLEVER.

The stuff the lecturers have been saying has not been aimed at me. Not even a bit. It’s been aimed at the people who genuinely struggle with academic work, to give them a chance at the career they want. Not at the people who have got themselves into a flap because they can’t settle down for longer than ten minutes.

I’ve been worrying for nothing. I am an intelligent person. I don’t look like it, I rarely act like it and I never ever sound like it, but I am.

I have work to do, obviously. The essays – even with all the will in the world – are not going to write themselves. But I can DO IT.

Probably not when I’m surgically attached to twitter though, unfortunately.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Earlier today, on my way to a seminar, I made the mistake of opening a door.

You could, without reading the rest of this blog, turn that into something brilliantly metaphorical. Don't though, because I literally opened a door.

I pushed open the aforementioned door – which was quite large, mind you - and my wrist made a sound not dissimilar to that of a hobnob being snapped in half.

You might think I'm exaggerating, but there was a witness. A boy, who really should have been a gentleman and opened the door for me, went “oooft” before asking if I was okay.

I’m not going to lie to you, readers, it bloody hurt. But was I willing to admit that in a public setting to a stranger? Of course not. So off I went on my merry way, assuming that my arm would stop hurting at any moment.

About half an hour into the seminar, however, my wrist had changed colour. It was somehow yellow and pink and a little bit blue. Not to mention swollen.

To cut a long story short, because I am currently typing this with one hand, I ended up sitting in the medical centre being told by a nurse that not only was it highly probable that my wrist was sprained, but that she was very concerned about me doing so much damage to myself while undertaking such a simple task. Then she said something about "underlying condition" after I admitted that my arm has actually been hurting since last November, but has never done a crunchy noise before.

I KNOW. I should have been to see a doctor or something. Shut up.

Anyway, I’m supposed to go for an x-ray as soon as possible. Unfortunately for my wellbeing, I resent paying £2.25 for a bus ticket, just to be re-told that my wrist is sprained. So, being the sensible little thing that I am, I’m ignoring medical advice and seeing how it goes.

Anyone who urges me to go to the hospital will be ignored. Unless they are willing to drive me there.


Monday, 21 November 2011

That Ship Has Sailed

We all remember Fringe, don’t we?

It seems that his lovely relationship with that almost-attractive girl from work has run its course.

That said, she doesn’t seem to know about it.

In the last few days, Fringe has taken it upon himself to get back in my good books. He’s realised, he says, that he should have waited for me to be ready for a relationship. He’s also realised that his new girlfriend could never possibly mean as much to him as I do. He understands that it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but he’s willing to try and fix ‘us’. Oh, and he thinks I'm pretty.


Not. A. Chance.

Do you know what this is really about? This is about how I went on those dates a couple of weeks ago. Basically, he’s jealous.

This isn’t an unfamiliar situation. I wouldn’t have the nerve to call myself a Crazy Bitch if I hadn’t used good old jealousy to my advantage before. And, to be honest, if I’d had my wits about me earlier, I probably would have played the Jealousy Card a little bit better when he first discovered that other women were easier to deal with.

Jealousy, though, is annoying when you haven’t deliberately provoked it.

I’ve tried to let him down gently. I’ve also tried letting him down not-so-gently. I've also told him quite clearly that I'm not interested anymore, and, yesterday, I told him I didn’t like his new haircut.

Ridiculously – but understandably, because I am quite a catch – he is still very determined.

Don’t they say men are like buses or something?


Thursday, 17 November 2011


I’m a collector. That’s always a weird thing to have to tell someone. My only hobby – except for blogging, which I clearly can’t commit to – is collecting nail varnish.

Recently, I found myself in the unfortunate position of having to justify my collection to someone who – after clarifying that he had indeed heard me correctly - was looking at me as though I had fallen out of a tree, dressed as a squirrel. It may interest you to know that we were on a date, but that is neither here nor there.

To begin with, because boys tend to be quite practical, he was largely concerned with the expense of my particular habit. I had my response ready and waiting, for it is the same thing I say to my mother whenever she spies discarded packaging in the recycling box. “You can’t put a price on happiness.” I said.

Next, he decided that SURELY there was a limit to how many nail varnishes a person could own, because there are undoubtedly a limited number of colours available. Foolish boy. To demonstrate how very wrong he was, I had no choice but to explain the difference between a blue-based red and an orange-based red.

Let me tell you, there was a moment when I thought his brain had exploded. It hadn’t. He was merely lost for words.

Because it all looked like it was a bit too much for his boy-brain to understand, I went back to basics. Even if there weren’t different tones of red, I told him, there are several different finishes available. Crème, Gloss, Jelly, Glitter, Shimmer – it’s exciting stuff. Then he made the mistake of asking me to explain the difference between a glitter and a shimmer finish. Well, if I hadn’t sounded mental beforehand, I certainly did then.

Cleverly, I wrapped things up quite quickly. I did a bit of damage control, the conversation moved on to more everyday things, and he seemed to have forgiven me for being a bit odd.

But then, during that awkward silence when the waiter comes over to take the plates away, it all came rushing back.

The blue and orange bases were haunting him.

“What’s your preference – blue or orange?” He asked innocently, in reference to red nail polish.

Poor sod.

I don’t really want to get into this again, but somehow I ended up having to explain the concept of pink and yellow skintones. If ever his brain was ACTUALLY going to explode, now was the time. In fact, the earth-shattering revelation that this kind of colour-theory actually existed rendered him damn-near catatonic.

The look on his face was one that I have never seen before. It was a mixture of fear, respect, disbelief and awe.

Now, you might not know this about me, but I’m generally considered to be quite stubborn. Even when I know I'm coming across as a little bit mad, I can't rest until people KNOW that I'm right. This occasion was no different.

In fact, I was so desperate to make him understand that this was an ACTUAL THING that I ended up inviting him (read: dragging him) back to my room so that I could show him my colour wheel. And that is not a euphemism.

Weirdly, for those who are interested, he asked to see me again.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Computer Says No

The worst thing that can happen to a human being with a bank account happened to me today.

That’s right.

MY CARD WAS DECLINED. In a busy supermarket, no less.

Usually when this happens, you’ll have the usual wave of panic sweeping over you. You will almost definitely say something along the lines of “That shouldn’t have happened! I have more than enough in my account!” whether or not you know it to be true.
The thing is, though, I knew that I had enough money in my account. I KNEW. Right up until the point when the cashier said “Your card has been declined”, that is. Up until then I had been sure.

But then, at that moment, a little voice in my head went “Are we really surprised?”

Nevertheless, I maintained an outward air of indignation and looked the cashier right in the eye, daring her to contradict me. She didn’t. As it happens, she was really nice. I was just (like a normal person) hideously embarrassed by the whole situation and wanted to blame it all on her.

“Would you like to contact the bank?” She said, all awkwardly.

“No. They’re about to get a personal visit.” I replied, sounding more like a serial killer than I had intended.

With that, I left. With none of my shopping. Let me tell you – I will never go out into the world without cash ever again.

About ten minutes later, when I arrived at the bank, all hell had broken loose.

The whole of Lancaster City Centre had come to a complete standstill. According to one helpful staff member, "the bank [had] broken". Computers had shut down, tills were no longer accepting cards, the cash machines were pretending people had no money – terrifying.

I really have no idea what this means for the world, or the country, or anything else. All I know is that I WAS RIGHT. And it took every screed of energy within me not to march back into Sainsbury’s and tell the woman at the till.