No-one Told Me Life Was Gonna Be This Way

‘SEVEN!’, ‘Pivot!’ and ‘Janice’. Or perhaps you’re into the more obvious quips like, ‘we were on a break’, ‘how you doin’?‘ and ‘he’s her lobster’?

I settled on these two as my top faves:

Ross: “I went to that tanning place your wife suggested.”

Chandler: “Was that place the sun?”

and…

Joey: “What’s not to like? Custard – good. Jam – good. Meat – good!”

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Twenty-five years. 25! How did that happen?

Twenty-five years since ‘Friends‘ first aired in the UK. Call me pathetic, but I feel quite proud that I was there to enjoy it the first time round.

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And the second time, when repeats aired.

And the third time when I bought the majority of the series on VHS. Re-runs on Sky followed, and I’m now living vicariously through my teen, who is watching it on Netflix.

She cried hysterically for days when it was ‘all over’ and chose to re-watch them all again. (Good girl.) She would come to me and ask:

“Who’s this?” (Chrissy Hinde)

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Just call me Chrissy of the morning…

“Why did the audience cheer? (Billy Crystal (plus Robin Williams)

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“Why did everyone scream?”  (…Oh come on. Do I really need to even make you guess…?)

Talking of Friends, it’s a beautiful irony that the series anniversary coincides with that of meeting some real-life friends. It’s 25 years since I started University.

I’m trying to get this blog live and if I go into my loft and hunt down a pic I will be gone for days. So here’s one just when we just graduated and hit Marbs. Bear in mind this was pre-GHDs and decent self-tan.

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Mabfield Crew Summer of 1996

I’ve blogged about student life in previously, but this is a major anniversary and one that deserves some proper recognition.

I remember it like it was yesterday, and somehow, this weekend, my (exceptionally clever) nephew is off on the M1 towards a life of enriched education. (But first, Freshers’ Week.)

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I can smell the innocence

If I had to write an episode, (life goals right there), it would be called:

‘The One Where the Kids Don’t Know They’re Born’.

Because this generation of Uni kids really have no idea how much better they have it than 25 years ago. I looked through a friend’s list of Uni requirements, just to see how things compared from back when I was a student.

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Duvet – most first year Uni dorms/halls have single beds, but I still say buy a double duvet. Far cosier and more useful/cost effective in the long run when you hit second year and hopefully bag a double bed.

Decor – We had little choice in 1994. Do students still buy the hippie scarf things and pin to their walls alongside rave flyers? All hail Afflecks Palace back in the 90s in Manchester. Now you can decorate your room with the cost-effective help of IkeaPrimark, Homesense and Dunelm, finished off with your Love Island duvet cover from River Island. Hello ‘Casa Amour‘.

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I can still smell it…

Mattress/pillow protectors – you had to try and slide a mattress into what was basically a massive pillowcase. Thankfully now they come like a fitted sheet. I think the best protectors are from Dunelm – and I should know as the Allergy Queen.

Mattress topper – I don’t think they were much of a thing in the 90s, but definitely worth a purchase to plump up a lumpy mattress. Year 2, my housemate had to buy a new mattress after the landlord refused, because the mattress in question was only a year old. However, we knew the boys who rented our house previously and I wouldn’t have slept on that mattress for all the tea in China.

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Don’t let the bed bugs bite?

4-gang Plug adapter. Much like a hotel, the plug points are never where you need them/enough of them. So useful.

Massive sports bag for dirty washing. You know the ones. Usually chequered patterns. These never go out of fashion and are great for shlepping dirty clothes down to the launderette (unless you’re lucky enough to have on-site facilities.) We didn’t have this luxury, so it was down to ‘Mr Bubbles’ launderette on the parade. (Now a property company, fact fans.)

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FYI, this never happened

Kitchen stuff – was and is still my favourite thing to buy. I bought the basic necessities. Breville, saucepan, frying pan, cutlery – but I have little recollection of using much of it as we mostly dined on microwave meals, takeaways from Abduls and Pot Noodle. Much as I envy my nephew with apps such as Five Guys, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, nothing will beat queuing for kebab from Abduls in Fallowfield.

Am I envious of students today? With their smartphones, online food shop, takeaway apps, Netflix, Amazon. Not forgetting ASOS next day delivery. For sure, I’m envious AF of the immediacy of their lives.

However, some things should take time. Like friendships. So to all those embarking on this new chapter of your life, you may think you have your circle of friends all set. Perhaps friends since babies, or throughout school life, but if you’re fortunate enough meet a group of friends at Uni half as special as the ones I met, then you’re in for the best years of your life with memories to treasure for the next 25 years and beyond.

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The Mabfield Girls. Friends. For life xxx

x

PS. I had a re-think, and much as I envy what students today have available to them, I wouldn’t swap my student experience for the world.

PPS. You can keep your Uber eats and your Primark. We had the Haçienda nightclub and that is student goals right there, imo.

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RIP The Haç

 

 

Keep Calm and Remain Stationary…

I don’t need my iPhone display to tell me that September is upon us. You can feel it, see it and even smell it in the air.

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If July and August were all about shell collecting for me, then September brings the conker harvest. Memories of going to school with a carrier bag full of conkers and chucking the contents across the playground with an accompanied, “SCRAMBLE!!” (Wouldn’t happen today – the bags are 5p…)

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Of all the seasons, Autumn is my favourite as it reminds me of walking to synagogue with my dad to celebrate the start of the Jewish New Year. On our journey, we would look at the change in scenery, spot figs on a neighbour’s tree and I would collect conkers, storing them in his prayer bag to add to my collection at home. (Conkers, not prayer bags…)

You can just ‘smell’ autumn in the air – if I was cryogenically frozen a la Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’, I could easily sniff out Autumn.

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A futuristic conker

It may also be because there is another distinct smell in the air – that of parental relief that the kids are going back to school, quickly followed by the whiff of panic that a lengthy list of items needs to be bought from the uniform shop and stationers.

With a queue to rival that of ‘Thunder Railroad’, including ticketing and barriers, unfortunately the uniform shop ain’t no Disneyland. And there’s definitely no option to buy fast passes. (I would if I could.) Everyone is treated equally and there is no favouritism.

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There is a method of course…

Step 1 – Make a fucking list

Seriously – it’s uniform shopping 101. You have a line of bored, angry, frustrated, irritable people, many of them who would choose the returns queue at Zara over this shit. Make a list and make your time in the shop as quick and painless as possible.

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During a quiet period

 

Step 2 – Muster up lots of patience

As Axl Rose once sang, this patience needs to be doled out in bucketloads.954d455cd24bfa8eeac06c668042940d.jpgPatience with your kids, for other hapless parents and also for the poor staff dealing with your precious darlings who are arguing over the length of their skirt, itchiness of their jumper and the ridiculously oversized track suit.

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“It’s fine. You’ll grow into it.”

However, my patience wears thin when you consider that the usual staff count will have been bolstered with ‘holiday staff’. Under normal circumstances, I’m fully willing to give people a chance, but not the uniform shop. I have no shame in offering up the risky-looking temp staff member to the person behind me in the queue. I would much rather wait another few minutes for an experienced member of staff.

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The above rule also applies when it comes to buying school shoes. My youngest is ‘full of personality’ when it comes to shoe shopping and only one staff member will be able to fit her with minimal fuss. (She knows who she is.)

Armed with a supply of coppers to keep them occupied at the swirly-whirly helter-skelter charity box, I patiently wait until I get ‘my person’. Job done in just a few minutes.

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‘The Money Spinner’. (Trademark name fact fans)

 

Step 3 – Choose your branding wisely

Whether you go for sew-in, stick-in, stamp-in or reckless Sharpie daubing, the choice is yours when it comes to labelling it all. I have one friend who goes supersized on her sew-in labels, meaning her kids’ items can be identified from Mars.

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Personally, I opt for a mixture of all the possibilities listed above, but just know that I have it on good authority from a teacher friend of mine, that they’re more likely to hand back the easily identifiable stuff, than a biro scribble that has faded in the wash.

There is just so much to do, and we haven’t even covered my favourite part of it all – the stationery.

Much like new toiletries for holiday, there is nothing like filling a new pencil-case with smelly pencils, ridiculous rubbers and highlighter pens that never seem to be used for highlighting anything, just drawing emojis.

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I take it as a time to replenish my own home-stock – new sticky tape, glue, pens, post- its…all of which have depleted over the holiday with the amount of arts, craft and the slime factory which was shut down months ago, but I believe is still operating via an underground cell.

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The joy of throwing out the pencils that no matter how many times you try to sharpen them, the lead gets stuck in the sharpener. Or the pen that has no lid and has inked up the entire inside of the pencil-case. Colouring pencils that are down to the nub.

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And if you were ever in doubt of the correct spelling of the word ‘stationery’…

Stationery – it has an ‘e‘.. as in ‘envelope’. Which is a form of stationery.

(And yes, the use of ‘a’ in the word ‘stationary’ in the blog title is deliberate.)

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And proud of it

Good luck to everyone starting new schools. (Particularly those with correctly labelled stuff.) xxx