Undergraduate Cheese and the Golden Umbrella

I’ve been enjoying my Assistant Warden duties. I was talking to a student one night, while I was on patrol, shutting down parties. He said to me, “I’ve heard you’re a new Assistant Warden, and I’ve heard that you love the power”. I’ve obviously been rumbled.

Anyway, Trinity College is hilarious. In order to get to know the students we are responsible for better, we are having welcome parties. Now I suggested we pop into each flat with a few packs of biscuits and have a cup of tea with the residents. But, no, it’s Trinity. We are to host wine and cheese parties in a function room for each apartment. For each apartment of eighteen-year-olds. Apparently, last year there were issues when the brie kept running out. Have I mentioned that these people are 18? When I was 18, I wouldn’t have known brie from semen.

Yesterday, I realised that, although we had plenty of wine, no one had bought the cheese. I emailed around the other assistant wardens to ask about this. Suddenly, it was my job to get the cheese. Why do I have to be a busybody? Two other assistant wardens and myself went cheese shopping in Lidl. To buy cheese for a thousand people. And crackers. It was fun. But the situation is still mainly ridiculous to me.

My wine and cheese parties will last for a total of twelve hours. Twelve hours during which I’ll be trying not to eat too much cheese or drink too much wine.

As you know, I’m giving myself one last chance at dieting. I’ve tried too many times not to know that I have to stop at one stage. Four weeks ago, I gave myself a deadline. If I can’t lose weight relatively consistently up until Christmas, I’m going to give in to doctors’ suggestions that I consider pills and/or surgery.

It was all going so well. I had lost 17 pounds in three weeks. This week, I was careless. I didn’t count quantities or measure portions very carefully and I ate up all my optional points. I had a beer almost every evening. I didn’t do any exercise. I still recorded everything online, and I didn’t have any binges, but I knew I wasn’t doing very well. As a result, I gained a pound this week. It’s no disaster, but I did end up going on a bit of a binge last night.

Anyway, today I’ve got back up and dusted myself down. I’m back on both the wagon and the straight and narrow. I’ll get there.

I briefly thought my financial problems had come to an end as well. I cleared my debt of rent to Trinity Hall, and will not have to pay rent for another year. I’m still a month behind on my loan repayments, but I have enough to cover this month, and previous experience has taught me that problems only arise if you’re two months behind, so I should be fine. And, although it meant embarrassing myself in front of the Warden yet again, I have found a way of paying for my Polish criminal records check in order to work in Hall. And, having filled in my tax return, happily under the assumption that after earning a paltry €14,000 last year that there was no way I’d have to pay tax, I got a horrible surprise in the post yesterday. I have to find €1000 for the taxman by the end of October. Bugger.

And it’s still raining. Really heavily. I’ve been drenched three days in a row. This morning, I borrowed an umbrella from the receptionist at work, to walk the five minutes between two branches of our school. It was a lovely golden umbrella from Benetton. As I was walking along, I heard a plink. One of the spokes of the umbrella had popped out of place. I reached up to fix it. I heard another plink. Another spoke popped off the central spine of the umbrella.

After that, it was like a scene in a cartoon. There was a series of plinks. Plink, plink, plinkety, plink. Every single spoke broke off the central spine and they all fell down around my face like some kind of awful metal spider.

I’d completely broken the beautiful umbrella.

My students found this very entertaining. They discussed strategies, including buying flowers for the receptionist. One of them offered to tell her for me. They all had a go at fixing the umbrella. Nothing worked.

I was squirming inside. A Benetton umbrella wouldn’t be cheap. And the injustice smarted. I hadn’t broken it. I’d only been using it for two minutes when it just collapsed. It couldn’t possibly be my fault.

I returned to reception, literally hiding the umbrella behind my back.

The receptionist left me squirm and blush for a few minutes and then revealed that it wasn’t her umbrella at all. It had been left at reception weeks before, and had never been claimed. Phew! I wouldn’t have to borrow money in order to replace the golden umbrella.

I like a happy ending.

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