Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A serious note

I know that I normally fill my blogs with random musings and stories from my life which I hope you find amusing. However today I am going to write the blog on a more serious note. If you are thinking, oh no don't do that, I would suggest you skip this blog and wait for my next (hopefully) witty installment about the life of fi. But if you are prepared for something a little different then read on.
When he was interviewed on Friday, just hours after Norway came under attack, the mayor of Oslo, when asked what he wished he could do for the children on Utoya island he replied with, I wish I could be there right now and stand in front of them and get shot instead. This was met by a stunned silence from the interviewer. Stunned not only over such an honest response by a politician, but also because of the weight of his response, he wanted to die in their places.
At the same time as this interview took place, holidaymakers near the island where the shooting was happening were taking their boats out into dangerous waters to rescue the people caught up in the violence.
Meanwhile on the island hundreds of children were hiding from a man with a gun. Stories have emerged of children hiding under the bodies of their friends and under beds for hours because they feared for their lives. There are also tales of the survivors then helping the wounded after it was all over. The victims have since then spoken out about what happened, and thousands have marched through the streets, standing up in defiance against one mans hate.
Many people will say that the last week in Norway has been a week of fear and violence. But when I look at what happened I see bravery. So often at times of great human suffering the stories which emerge are those of horror, and what is lost is that those involved are often so courageous and at times like these, it is not only the worst aspects of human nature which emerge, but also the best.
I always remember watching 9/11 I sat staring in absolute horror at what was happening. I saw the firemen and other civilians who, whilst people were running away to escape the buildings, were running the other way. They were the brave people who were trying desperately to save lives. I remember thinking I cant believe it they are going towards the danger - They ran into the fire.
Every act of terror is aimed at somehow making a statement, or destroying a country. Yet what I see, is that yes people die and it is horrific, but also so many come out stronger than before, because regardless of how horrible and evil a person is, I still believe there is more good in the world and that is why whenever something terrible happens you will always see someone who runs into the fire. This gives me hope.
So I know that it has been a sad week, and I hope this blog finds you all safe and well wherever you are.
I promise my next blog will provide some comedy relief.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Week one

All week this week my alarm has been set for 7am. "What?" I hear you cry, "that's a bit early for you isn't it?" - Yes it is.
However I have not started setting my alarm for 7 just for fun, no this week I finally ditched sleep and midweek drinking and started a real job. DUN DUN DUN....
So actually, I will be setting my alarm at 7 every morning for the forseeable future. Which is depressing as that time and myself in the morning are not friends. And it is not just the getting up in the morning that is the problem. I have to get up, THEN shower, THEN get dried, THEN do my hair, THEN do my make-up, THEN get dresses. It is exhausting.
But wait, I hear you cry, we want to know about your first week, well dear readers I will hold you in suspense no longer. Here are a few highlights of my first week as a reporter for a newspaper (Which due to me wanting to keep my job will be referred to as the paper.)
Day 1 - I had an interesting conversation with someone who called the paper, I answered the phone with a smile, hoping for my Pulitzer prize winning story, and here is  how my conversation went-

Old lady says "hello, is that my paper?"
I went erm.... well i am not the paper but you are through to the the paper.
Oh yes, she says, you have my paper. (I would like to point out at this point that I do not have her paper.)
I dont think I do have your paper, I am sorry you will have to explain....
"Well, I asked my local post office to get the paper but they said you have it."
Me? Really? I have no paper honestly!....
So I explain, I think you are talking to the wrong department... I write the paper.
"What you wrote on my paper?"
No, look try this number and they might be able to help you...
"Ok dearie but if you do see my paper, there should be two copies, please take good care of them as I might not get to pick them up until thursday as it is my neighbour Gladys' daughter's wedding tomorrow, Oh I do hope it doesn't rain."
I am sure the weather will be better.
"Yes but in the mean time dear please take care of my papers. Thank-you."
I went to try and find the papers. I couldn't. I feel bad.
I bet clarke kent didn't have to deal with this much stress.
Day 2 - I went out to take a photograph and got soaked, ended up looking like a drowned rat and lost all notes from story due to smudged ink. Kindly person at photograph suggested I use pencil to write my hieroglyphics (otherwise known as shorthand.) Seriously considering buying dictaphone....
Day 3- I got my picture taken to go in paper as introduction to local community. It is quite large picture and was placed on page 3... which is funny really as when I used to tell people I wanted to work for newspapers the witty reply I always got (Mainly from males) was hahaha what page? hahaha page 3? hahaha.... So  there we go. I can tick that one off on my list of achievements.
Day 4- Paper came out, Yes my first I am getting paid to write this paper. How cool is that?
I would like to point out that this is just a selection of things I have done, it is not the entire inventory of my week, but these are a few key points.
I have learned lots of new technological stuff and have been very happy spending my week getting paid to write because, as you all are sadly too aware, I love writing.
So it seems so far the job is going well although I am already bored of sandwiches so any nice lunch suggestions will be much appreciated :D
Fi "Crack reporter" Stokes

Just to clarify, I have not yet been asked to hack any telephones. However if you fee your phone is worth hacking let me know. :-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

where were you when?

There are many events in history where people go where were you when? 9/11 happened, Diana died etc etc. One of those events happened this week. I can picture it now, twenty years time a young girl turns to her dad and asks "Where were you when they released the last ever harry potter film?" Let me tell you where I was.

I was in a restaurant drinking wine and celebrating my graduation. On July 14th after four long years of studying lots of journalism-related things and lots of not so journalism related things I finally got to put on my gown, walk across the stage and claim my award. Which is, by the way, printed on very fancy paper with gold leaf. I am going to put it on my fridge with a magnet which says "sometimes I think I know everything, then I wake up," so if you ever want to see it come round for a cuppa.

Anyway, back to graduation. Graduation is quite a nerve wracking day, it has been a long time coming and after it, you are not a student anymore. Ahhh, no more discounts, no more free council tax, no more all day lie-ins and most importantly no more mid week drinking sessions. So really it is a momentous occasion. In fact, one of the many speeches at graduation described us as now being experts in our fields, which is quite a scary thought. They also asked us what difference were we going to make in the world? Heavy stuff for half past two on a Thursday. But speeches aside the big moment at graduation is when you walk across the stage.

I had watched about six classes before mine graduate. I think I had it down, you walk on stage, they bop you on the head put your hood on, shake your hand then you walk across the stage. I was so prepared. However, standing side of stage I was overcome with cold panic. Looking back I am not really sure why, I mean it is not like I was going to forget how to walk and just crumble on stage, and I am fairly sure my underwear, tights, dress and gown were not going to fall off and I was not going to walk across the stage naked. But despite this, I was so nervous I thought I was going to be sick, possibly even be sick on the university chancellor. So why, I hear you wonder, was I so worried? It is the dreaded graduation day fall. It haunts every graduate. What if I get half way across the stage and I fall, flat on my face. And then what, well everyone will laugh, and say things like "How did she get a degree? She cant even walk without falling."

But despite this fear of The Fall, I got across the stage, and thanks to the wonderful people in my life I was greeted by a riotous cheer. I did not vomit, I remembered how to walk and all of my clothes stayed on. All in all it was a success!

After this we took lots of pictures drank lots of wine and celebrated. Graduation is quite an overwhelming day, and most people who have been through it would agree. I think when you do to university you never think of what happens afterwards. But here I am, it is not afterwards and I am feeling pretty good. I don't regret going to uni for a moment. I have met some truly amazing people, many of whom I hope will be life long friends. And now, as I sit post graduation looking back with a tinge of sadness that it is over, I cant help but think of the words from one of my favorite books, "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they are yours." And with that note, to all my fellow graduates I wish you all the best in life and that  the most you ever wanted will be the least you ever have. And hopefully I will be there with you to share your successes.


Monday, 11 July 2011

the end of an era

Hello dearest reader,

I am sorry it has been a long time since you last heard from me. But I have been a busy bunny. One of the things which I have done in the last two weeks is I worked my last EVER waitresssing shift. This is because of the imminent start of my journalism career. I have waitressed since I was 17 so putting down my last ever plate of food felt like an achievement. I complain about waitressing a-lot! I have spent the majority of saturday nights for the past 5 years serving other people food and  trying to do so with a smile. Also, I have not had a hogmanay off since I started serving food. However despite this I have had some good times as a waitress, I thought I would share a few of my favourite moments of my service career with you.

On my first night as a waitress I was working at a very posh hotel in the banqueting department. Now as anyone who has worked in the industry knows, your first night is terrifying. The plates are hot and heavy, the customers often narky and the chefs terrifying. So as I attempted to clear a table and expertly stack the plates on my arm when, horror of horrors I dropped a fork down a womans dress. But the big man was on my side and, she didn't notice. The back of her dress was drapey (bad english i know sorry but it describes it perfectly) and it appeared to have slipped down unnoticed. So I walked away. I still to this day wonder if the woman noticed before she got home or took off her dress and wondered, where did that come from?

Another one of my finer waitressing moments was when I had moved to the restaurant of this fancy establishment and I was delivering a birthday cake to a table and... I dropped it. WORST. MOMENT. EVER. I stood looking down at the cake at my feet and instead of apologising  I burst into hysterical laughter and had to duck away with a very red face, fortunately the table saw the funny side. Sadly, my manager did not.

Then there was the time I was opening champagne and the cork lept out and hit an antique picture on the wall, once again an event which myself and the customers found hilarious but the manager did not.

During my years as waitressing I worked with many different nationalities. One of my coworkers who was of eastern european origin came up to me one night with a dessert plate, pointed to a fruit on it and asked me what it was called. It was a physalis, which is like a gooseberry. However the waiting staff had taken to calling it syphilis. Not realising that she was asking for a table  I told the girl, with a grin on my face, it's syphilis. As English was not her first language she did not get the joke and went up to the table and announced that is was syphilis. I had to apologise a-lot; to the customers, the poor girl and once again, my manager.

This makes me sound like a bad waitress, But despite being  accident prone and having the shakiest hands in the world, I was an ok waitress. Generally, I am quite likeable and customers had a tendency to open up to me, the number of overshares I experienced were insane. I worked with some amazing people, who have now become my dear friends. I was however also responsible for the demise of many glasses and plates- may they rest in peace. But now I look back and feel quite proud that I worked through uni but am now ready to start my new career.

I do now have every Saturday night free though so if anyone wants to play get in touch.
And if you enjoyed my waitressing tales let me know as there are much more where they came from and I will happily share them with you. I just didn't want to bore you just now.