The 5 Minute Coffee Corner: December Week 1

Happy Friday – you made it to the end of the working week! Woohoo!

Wow, this week has been busy! I was lucky enough to pick up some shifts in the wine bar, which due to Tier 3 restrictions is currently only open as a shop. I’ve been writing and also applied to work with the civil service as a Freelancer and I forgot how ridiculously complex their application processes are. When I was trying to get out of my last job, I applied for a lot of Civil Service jobs and really began to hate them. To join their Freelance register, I had to do a verbal reasoning test (which I passed with a fairly high mark – woohoo!) and then an application, CV and personal statement. If I get past this stage, I’ll have to do a written test, and then eventually it’ll be onto an interview. A lot to do, but it’ll be worth it if I get it!

UK lockdown was released earlier this week and most of the country is in Tier 2 and 3. We’re in Tier 3 (who saw that coming?! Oh wait – everybody!) so it’s pretty much still lockdown for us, although a lot of people have managed to go back to work and my family and friends down the road in Liverpool are getting to enjoy a bit of normality again, so that’s nice. I’ll tell you something, I’ll be thrilled to see the back of this ridiculous Tier system!

In another world, I’d be lying on a beach on my desert island honeymoon right now. After rearranging it twice, it was simply not to be. However, one of the best parts of this week was speaking to a lovely Barclays representative over the phone. There have been issues getting our deposit back, and I’ve been up against hour-long wait times to speak to somebody. I finally managed to get through earlier this week, and was told I’d be on for a while as she had to wait for a response from a colleague that could only be done via their internal online chat systems. Usually, I hate small talk, but we spoke about life, travel and all of the things we’ll do when life is normal again. She had been pretty much isolating since March because she is considered very high risk due to a health condition and suppressed immune system. Her life would only return to normal upon release of a vaccine. She has a child and they’ve made a list of the things they’ll do when they can come out of isolation. Do you know what was on her child’s list? To go bowling, visit the cinema and play frisbee in the park.

All I wanted to do was reach through the phone and give her and her precious child a hug. Here’s me wishing I was on a desert island or one of the 50,000 holidays I try to plan each year, and her child would be happy with playing frisbee in the park. It certainly put things into perspective. It was a lovely start to my week, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction.

So aside from the wonderful Barclays employee making my week, what else have I done?

Reading

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Right. I have to be honest here. I’ve been recommended this book by several friends and I have to say, I actually got angry trying to finish this one. Usually I enjoy pretty much everything I read, and I enjoy reading specific authors. Sometimes I might think that a book isn’t particularly well-written, or that the writing style or attention to detail is a bit poor, but all it makes me do is lose interest in reading anything else by them. However this book really annoyed me.

On one hand, Sally Rooney is clearly articulate and I did find the similes and metaphors she used throughout the book particularly interesting. But I didn’t love the way it was written, I felt that the story lacked substance, and sometimes I felt like she was writing for writing’s sake, as though in an attempt to show how articulate, cultured and ‘bougie’ she is, or at least fancies herself to be. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had such unlikable characters throughout, and honestly, I just didn’t really get the point of it.

Anyway, would I recommend the book? I didn’t think it was particularly well-written, I didn’t learn a particularly colourful range of new vocabulary and I thought pretty much all of the characters were melts. I’d recommend it to see whether anybody else feels the same way as I do, otherwise, no, I thought it was rubbish. Not for me I’m afraid!

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

I was recommended this book by a colleague at work years ago, and I started reading it but never got far enough in to finish. I downloaded it to a Kindle app I have for my phone, but because I never use it, I forgot I had this book. One great thing I’ve noticed about using a Kindle or the Kindle app is that I can highlight words and sentences and make notes straight onto the text, which is amazing as when I read a book I usually have to stop what I’m doing, type out the entire sentence or paragraph in my ‘notes’ app on my phone and then type out what I wanted to say, which is all just a bit of a faff. Maybe this will be the beginning of my conversion to Kindle?

Watching

SuperValu Christmas Advert

So I have no idea what SuperValu is but I do know that they made THE best Christmas advert, possibly in history. My friend shared this recently on Facebook and I can’t lie, I bawled like a baby. This is the king of Christmas adverts.

Listening

I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi

I’ve always loved this beautiful song, Ludovico Einaudi has always been my go-to when I want to cosy up in bed and read, or when I need to concentrate, or when I’m writing, and it was thanks to this song that I started listening to him in the first place. This week, after a lot of time spent trying, I’ve managed to learn a whopping 15 seconds of the opening of I Giorni on my piano. It took me hours to teach myself the first 15 seconds, but it’s provided me with such bliss to be able to play it! Now I just have to manage the rest.

Before You Go…

This should really be in the ‘reading’ section, but given that this little section at the end of my posts have seemingly become the ‘great stuff I’ve seen on the internet’ section, I’m going to leave this here. The most funny, dramatic, wholesome account of a festive tale I’ve read in a long time, I even shed a little tear. This guy is a fabulous storyteller. Grab a coffee or a tipple (it is Friday, after all) and enjoy this rollercoaster ride!

Have a lovely weekend, maybe have a glass or bottle of wine (or hell – just have the whole case, because 2020!) and for those readers in Tier 2 and beyond (or maybe in other countries where lockdown’s not a thing right now) make sure you share some nice photos from restaurants and bars and all of the other places not open to me right now, so that the rest of us can watch on in despair. It is the festive season after all! Ho Ho Ho.

I’ll see you next Wednesday!

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