Monthly Archives: April 2014

Another post about cycling in short sentences.

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I cycled to Morecambe today, after a whole morning of writing yet more amendments to my CV. I took some photos of the sand and the sun. I almost skidded down a jetty on the slippery seaweed which covered it. I listened to lots of good music whilst I rode. My favourite track for doing cycle sprints is “Take Off Your Colours” by You Me At Six” because it is quite an aggressive song. It makes the blood pulse a bit faster through my veins. My favourite song for going slowly, is a toss up between ‘Magic’ by Coldplay and “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garkfunkel.

Here are the photos I took. They’re not very good, because photography isn’t really my thing. I hope they will convey how beautiful the view was nonetheless.

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Peace out. xxx

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Blog rampage

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In an attempt to get employers to see that I can maintain a personal blog, without too much swearing and a variety of thematic pieces, I am inviting you on a quick trip down memory lane to review and re-read some of my personal favourites. I know this is a very blatant, vain and self-centred attempt at advertising one’s visibility on the internet, but I’m really clutching at straws to get noticed at the moment, and hopefully land a job in copywriting/ other creative industries. Here are my three top picks:

Fancy a trip down Pretzel Lane?

http://sarahsberlindiaries.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/best-and-weirdest-scents-from-germany-7/

Internal Revolutions

http://sarahsberlindiaries.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/how-the-year-abroad-has-changed-me-22/

Short on musical ideas?

https://whatshouldsarahdowithlife.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/2012-a-playlist/

 

Juxtaposition after yesterday’s bitter bite

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDPW_g2AhAU

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So yesterday’s post was a little on the bitter and dark side (quiterightlyso). I don’t want people to get bored of my blog and just think it’s rant rant moan moan- it’s not intended to be the emo-teenage-angst diaries 7 years too late, so I thought I would try and juxtapose it by speaking a little bit of the positive elements in my life at the moment. Here is a bit about the exhilaration of mountain biking.

The first time I went to work in Megève, my utmost priority was figuring out a way to pack my much beloved mountain bike onto the plane. I still consider her my most beloved possession, largely because of the amount of money she’s saved me in bus tickets as well as the endless fun and adventure she has brought me when juddering down single-track trails at alarming speeds. What’s not to love? The paintwork, although a little chipped and worn these days is pretty and I decked her out with some super-cool customized handlebars from Superstar Components, which arrived in the post accompanied by some Haribo.

So after returning from Megève a second time, having had my feet shoe-horned into tightly buckled boots and clicked into skis, I was all too ready to throw myself atop my Trek and power down a mountain. Now bear in mind, despite doing a lot of physical labour all day everyday and skiing a few times a week, I am still not in the greatest shape at the moment (largely due to cheeky extra helpings of the sumptuous afternoon-tea spread), and so that extra bit of power that I really could have used to propel myself up the hill, was somewhat lost on just carrying up the extra pounds of cake. 

So my brother came home on some leave taken from the army and decided that he would give me a day of jock-style boot-camp (he’s in the Scottish Regiment), to try and kick-start me into some sort of regime. We headed up to Grizedale, listening to his driving playlist, a combination of classical rock, alternative and what I like to call ‘man-pop’. He had intentions for us to do the red-rated Northface Trail, 16km of single-track around the forest and I was feeling slightly apprehensive. Admittedly for the first 4km I was a bit of a nervous wreck, having not done much MTB for about 2 years and shaking like a shitting dog. Drop-offs were sort of stepped down in a faux-mountain biking way, bike clutched between trembling thighs as Brother Dear of Mine looked ahead trying to suppress the smirk that was attempting to escape across his face. Eventually though, I got into the swing of it, and started getting more and more daring, by getting onto the ramps and trying to pick up some speed on the steeper parts.

By the end of the trail, I had a go at more and more drop-offs and gave myself some thoroughly sore wrists by the end of it. The sensation when you finally let go of your fear and let it roll is what I imagine it’s like to take ecstasy, as that is exactly how I felt, ecstatic. With the handlebars juddering my wrists at Earth-shattering seismic levels and taking to the air like I couldn’t do anywhere else, I retained a memory which is still sending shivers down my spine a week later.

The frustration of job-hunting

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The frustration of job-hunting

I always forget that job hunting is in fact a full time job in itself. I have spent approximately six hours a day sifting through reams and reams of online lists looking for and applying to what seems like an infinite list of very basic job descriptions to no avail. I have thoughtfully and faithfully applied myself to some of the most mundane and boring job applications known to man, and not even received an AUTOMATED EMAIL to say ‘Thank you for wasting your time writing out what I’m sure was a carefully planned and original job application’.  I have not received ONE response, which can only mean that whichever idiot that told me to leave out the well-thought-out personal statement which introduced my work history, is simply just an idiot, as I used to get far more response than this with a CV which followed NONE of the conventions of CV writing set out by ‘THE MAN’.

The thing is, I’m applying to rather a lot of marketing and communications jobs at the moment, making use of every SOCIAL NETWORKING site known to man, diving to the murky depths of Totaljobs, Monster, Indeed, Prospects, Milkround and every recruitment agency with a telephone number and a website. I have even gone as far as sharing with them the web address to this blog so that they can get really up, close and personal with me, but I guess it’s like that line that Daniel Atlas uses as his motto in ‘Now You See Me’; “The closer you look, the less you see”. Maybe I should treat it like an online dating profile and not show them all my best cards at once, you know, string them along like a girl who just wants to have fun.

It’s kind of like being the ugly girl at the party. You put on your best dress, cover up the blackheads with foundation, powder and a bit of bronzer,you’ll line your eyes and flatter them like they’ve never been flattered, and tuck yourself into tight Spandex pants to make the wobbly bits less wobbly, yet even a simple hello to some of the least catchy men at the party is met with a one word response before you return to the comfort of your friends who will lovingly ply you with white lies about how they cannot believe how you can’t get what you want. My apologies for the dark metaphor, it is the only thing remotely close to the rejection of a job application.

The final straw of rejection came through this morning when even the Preston benefits office rejected my application on the grounds of some sort of tax review that they carried out from the last two years, not really explaining what it was, but nonetheless, unless I go back into the thankless world of hospitality soon. All I thought was ‘Oh great, I’m even lower than Lancaster’s chavs’  I am going to be eating baked beans for eternity.

Post Season Hues

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Dear All,

The seasonnaire diary that I was meant to write whilst in Megeve never really took off. I am full of excuses over this, but checking Facebook was nigh on impossible anyway, so I doubt the Soleil d’Or’s internet would have been able to deal with the upload of thousands of season pictures and rants about the unfair cleaning regimes and staffing problems which seem to be an all too common problem on seasonal jobs. So here is my winter summed up in one blog post:

I set off to Gatwick airport in the early hours of December 6th, loaded up with two holdall’s and my super nerdy backpack (it does make me look like a primary school pupil) where I met some of my colleagues before we boarded the plane. We were all buzzing from too many travel sweets and the anticipation of what the season would bring and more importantly to get on the ski slopes. We arrived at the Soleil d’Or hotel late in the evening and got unpacked and into bed as we were told that the next day would see us up early in the morning for the busy training week which would set up both of the hotels after winter. 

Training week consisted of learning to clean rooms, how to lay out the tables and figuring out the bar. Much alcohol was consumed and alliances were already forming within the group. At this stage, only a few days in, I already realised that there were some people that I would get on with much better than others, but hey, that’s life. Some of the highlighted drunken antics of me and my colleagues included climbing through a bakery window, eating many cheeseburgers, a threesome (not me by the way) and some of the chalet girls chundering EVERYWHAAARRRREEE!

As the weeks went by I enjoyed many of my favourite Megevan hotspots, dressed up as Robin Sidekick for the New Years Eve superhero bash, lunch at The Radaz, sunbathing at Espace Mont Joux and consuming far too much cake ( Saturday afternoon’s Caramel Slice was literally to die for though and had the additional bonus of easing the pain that was transfer day.)

We had lots of interesting guests too. Obviously a lot of them were way wealthier than I will ever be, but generally they were a pretty cool bunch. We had racing drivers, doctors, nurses, dotcom wealth and the inheritance tax avoiders. You get to know people pretty intimately when you’re pinching their dirty pants between two fingers when you go in to tidy their rooms everyday, then blush through the conversation with them at dinner because we’re both aware that I saw those magazines that you tried to hide under your bed. 

I feel rather as though I’m brushing over the details of this season, making it sound rather as though it was some big old jolly, but maybe I should give you a bit of insight as to what a typical working day entails.

6:45 am: The first alarm goes off. Outward groan. Hit snooze.

6:50 am: Second alarm. Repeat step one. Keep repeating this step until it gets to 7am.

7:00 am: Definitely cutting it fine to get up. Swivel legs out of bed into trousers that you left at the bed last night and grab t-shirt from the end of the bed. Pull over head. Scrambled around in the dark for hair bobble. Scrape hair back, ensuring there.are no ‘pubey bits’ as Chef calls them.

7:05 am: Brave turning on the lights and standing up

7:10 am Power walk to kitchen of Chalet Antoine, or breathe a sigh of relief if you must merely stand in the lift to the basement of the Soleil d’Or (I am henceforth going to abbreviate this to the ‘Soleil’.

7:15 am: Find a large mug, pour in Carrefour discount coffee granules in triple the recommended quantities and dissolve in boiling water from the already boiling jug. Accompany the mud-like mixture with a paddling pool sized bowl of cardboard cornflakes. Avoid eye contact with managers for as long as possible to put off the briefing which reminds you of where you are.

7:30 am: Breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not your turn on pot-wash or the toilets this morning.

8:00 am: Somehow end up on pot-wash anyway.

9:00 am: Crave another coffee like you have never craved coffee in your life.

9:05: Receive the daily inspirational pep-talk from Chef who thinks he is God, telling you he could do the Mont- Blanc of porridge pans in 5 minutes. 

9: 45: Breathe a sigh of relief that your hands are no longer scrambling in suds and pan grease to crack on with groundfloor duties or rooms.

10:00 am: If on rooms: ‘You should be on your 5th room by now, what is taking you so long!?”

“I don’t know” I reply, angrily trying to make the corners of the duvet fit in the cover and desperately trying to smooth it out “I’m not just sat up here with my thumb up my arse you know”

“Ok well when you’ve done that, the fan in the bathroom is looking a bit grubby, could you get a toothbrush and clean it out properly? Guests DO notice these things you know”

“Sieg Heil!” Proceed to go and find a toothbrush, resisting the temptation not to use the nearest one to hand.

10:15: Move on to fifth room, pleased that the inhabitants are not dieters and nick a Cadbury’s Rose for motivation and energy. With both hands on toilet brush, saw away at the caked-on excrement, and ‘buff the chrome’ on the bath taps, knowing that despite best efforts, will be asked to go back and do it again anyway.

11:00: Quick whispered discussion (bitching session) with other chalet girl, giggle that she is ‘Not a professional cleaner, but just an 18 year old with sponge”

11:45: Hoover the corridor and smile inwardly that the worst part of the day is over and I will not have to make beds for another 20 hours. Head down to kitchen and enjoy a feast of last night’s leftovers sandwiched into a chunk of baguette.

1:00pm: Semi run in ski boots to bus stop, sweating profusely and breathing heavily.

3pm: Return from ski slopes early to squeeze in a shower and a power nap before next shift.

6: 15 pm: Arrive for evening shift: Choice of the following activities:Activity choice one: Bar work, which is actually just standing on a mostly empty bar folding napkins and polishing glasses whilst catching the highlights of the Winter Olympics with mouth agog when you see the Moguls race. Activity choice 2: Running round like a headless chicken trying to make knives and forks straight, finish job proudly before being told that it’s actually soup night and you need to remove all of the starter cutlery and replace it with soup spoons. Activity choice 3: Veg prep, the most preferable as it usually means you can just stand there and go braindead for 45 minutes whilst peeling Jerusalem artichokes, carrots and potatoes for very little hassle. Activity choice 4: Potwash again- Everest compared to the morning.

8:20 pm: Starters and mains served with relatively few dramas. Pull up a crate around the staff table in the cellar with dinner larger than what the guests would receive, using soup starter as gravy. Enjoy a few moments of sanity and immature conversation with colleagues.

9:30 pm: Dessert has been served. Try and cram in a leftover tiramisu served with a doughnut whilst frantically polishing cutlery. Get asked to go and help upstairs with clearing the dining room. Resist the urge to punch supervisor square in the nose.

10:00 pm: Guests still not budging from seats due to exciting conversation about the advantages that private education can offer. Try to clear glasses, but immediately recoil under stony glare from guest who loves free wine.

10:15pm: Eventually step out into cool night air and breathe in freedom.

 

I am aware that that was a very long post, but I did this everyday for four months and it is more for my own benefit that I remember this so as not to work in hospitality again. Despite the negativity about the actual job activities I did enjoy myself. It was challenging and amusing. I made some really good friends doing a season and improved my ski technique a great deal, as well as broadening my CV by having a go at nannying (best contraception EVER!) A warning for anyone who ever wants to do a season though, it is NOT for the faint-hearted!