Queen Elizabeth II is Due to Become Britain’s Longest Serving Monarch…And Alex is Ready

When Queen Victoria died on 22nd January 1901, she had been Queen for a remarkable 63 years, 7 months and 2 days. However, this feat is due to be overshadowed by that of her great-granddaughter Elizabeth who, at 5:30pm tomorrow, will take that crown from her and replace her as the longest serving monarch in British history…and Alex can’t wait.

To say that Alex has been a huge supporter of the Queen for her entire life would be an understatement. From the age of 18 months old, it was clear that she had a special affinity with the Queen which manifested itself in her throwing her dummy in front of the Royal carriage in an attempt to stop the procession. She has had a strangely neurotic beef with both Royal babies who she sees as stealing the limelight from her Queen, and has cried with joy at every one of her birthdays that she has been alive for as well as her Golden and Diamond Jubilee’s.

In preparation for tomorrow, Alex has completely outdone her mad, mentally unstable self. She has washed and ironed her Union Jack bedding, which only ever sees daylight for Royal occasions (except those to do with Royal babies), has places her canvas of the Queen in pride of place on her bedroom wall and has her limited edition Queen Elizabeth II ice cream scoop washed, prepped and ready for the big announcement at 5:30pm.

However, she has pushed herself over the edge…and not in a sane, mentally balanced sort of way. After hours of searching round many different stores, she finally found a cake with a crown that….wait for it…she insists looks exactly like the Queen.

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Not only is she super excited about this, as you can tell from the maniacal expression on her face, but she has also convinced herself that our dear Labrador, Willow, has assumed the role of Keeper of the Cake. She has searched high and low to find her a uniform, and has settled on this rather odd combination of children’s dress up and military uniform. Those of you who have seen The Tower of London Dare: THAT Video may recognise the cape.

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I have attempted to point out that the Queen is, in fact a Queen and not a Princess, and so Alex’s cake is flawed from the outset. Her retort, however, was that the likeness of the cake was strong enough to overshadow any issue of title which the cake may have (I thought at this point that mentioning cakes can’t have titles was a moot point) and that “she was Princess Elizabeth once so she won’t mind!” To prove me wrong, she even tweeted a picture of herself with the cake to the Queen herself, as well as several newspapers….

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Has she finally lost the plot? Stay tuned….

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An Open Letter to Katie Hopkins; the Know-it-all who Knows Nothing

Dear Katie,

I became aware of your tweets regarding your opinions on Depression and Alzheimer’s earlier this week when I was made aware of your tweets via a Facebook and Twitter feed which had virtually exploded with outrage at your insensitive, bigoted and frankly quite disgusting comments regarding two of the largest issues of mental health which are affecting people in this country on a daily basis. Usually, I would be quietly outraged about a number of your comments, as your controversial nonsense is expected – you’re the ‘go to girl’ for a heartless and insensitive comment which demeans the very existence of many people not just in the UK, but across the world. However, as an individual who has been suffering with depression for years and recently lost a family member after a decade long battle with Alzheimers, I felt that it was time to speak up. Firstly, I’ll address the comments on depression, and then those on Alzheimers.

Depression is not a ‘holy grail of illnesses’ or ‘the passport to self-obsession’ as you have so crudely alluded on your Twitter feed. It’s isolating, lonely and, contra your super weird opinion that people ‘want depression’, sufferers would give anything for the end. Be that the end of the illness or, in some sadly extreme cases, the end of their lives. I used to be a bubbly, happy individual who had the whole world at her feet and couldn’t wait to experience the life that I had ahead of me. I wanted to experience it all and I vowed to make the most of every single day of my life that I had to live. But then I was hit by a black ball hurtling at me at such speed that I couldn’t dodge it. It hit me. I couldn’t breathe, felt like I was drowning in blackness and I was fighting to push the blackness away – to get it out of me. When I eventually thought I had broken free I was an entirely different person, the real me locked inside my head behind bars screaming to be let free.

Depression is not easy; it’s bloody hard work and every single day is a struggle to get through. Every single morning getting up is a battle with the covers. Not as a result of laziness because you want ‘ten more minutes’, but as a result of the fact that there is a hard wired belief that there is nothing worth getting up for, and you can’t face going through another day of forcing on a smile to convince others that you’re okay – that you’re normal. You’re afraid that the mask will slip, that people will see you for the self-loathing, unbelievably distraught individual that spends hours every single day fighting back the urge to give into the black hole of sadness in her stomach and cry her heart out until the tears won’t come any more. You don’t cry about anything in particular, but for some reason that black hole is constantly there, threatening to expose you for what you truly are; depressed.

Your eating habits are thrown out of sync. You binge regularly, because food all of a sudden is capable of giving you that emotional nourishment that you feel you are lacking from everyone else. We know that in reality it doesn’t work, but that need to feel connected to something is sometimes the only thing which is preventing dark desires from taking over, such as the desire to cut your wrists, swallow that entire bottle of paracetamol that is in the cupboard, or curl up into a ball on the bathroom floor and let the tears flow and flow until you either black out or someone needs to get ready. You then find yourself too unhappy to eat. You don’t feel worthy of the nourishment that the vitamins will give to your body. You’re too weak to move from the spot you’re lying or sitting in to go to the kitchen in search of something to feed yourself, and even if you were capable it would be a pointless exercise as it would be bland and tasteless, followed by a feeling of nausea as the bite you’ve just taken hits your stomach and almost forces your gag reflex into action.

You lose all interest in your appearance. You know you’ve gained weight because of the emotional eating, and that just makes you hate yourself even more. You buy and wear clothes that hide the damage you have done to yourself as a result of overeating so that nobody will look at your appearance in any way which can be perceived as positive – you don’t deserve it, and if you were wearing something more form fitting there is the fear of rejection through hideous comments which prevents you from doing so. You want to be invisible, because when you’re invisible you don’t have to work hard to hide the anguish which is eating you away inside. You stop wearing makeup on a regular basis, despite the fact that you might never have left the house without it. If you do wear it, it’s just enough to cover the signs of maltreatment – the spots which have appeared as a result of the unhealthy oily food, the blemishes which give away the tears which have been shed and the dry, sallow skin which gives away the fact that you’ve barely slept. Your hair is shoved back into a mere ponytail. You don’t even bother to brush it when it’s been washed. You eventually stop caring about the weight gain, and give in to the pity cycle which you have resigned yourself to the notion of being the puppeteer of your life.

You push those that you love away because you can’t bear to admit to them that you’re feeling so hopeless and unimportant. Your moods fluctuate as the veneer begins to crack behind closed doors, and you spend as little time around family as you possibly can. After all, they can see you for who you truly are because they have loved you for your entire life. There is no hiding from them. You flare up with anger when you’ve been challenged, all of those feelings which you have bottled up inside spilling out into what has now become an emotional battlefield. You try to reign it back, but you can’t. You end relationships because you don’t feel you can give your partner what they deserve, despite the fact that they’ve held you in their arms and let you cry just because you needed to.

That was my reality for depression, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, and anybody who would want to feel like all is lost and be labelled as such is clearly insane. They’re certainly not those who wish to be seen as fashionable or ‘In’. It’s taken me a long time to try and pull myself out, and I’m only just beginning to see life as being one which is worth enjoying and taking advantage of. But I’m lucky – I’m not one of those who are clinically depressed and as such are unlikely ever to find a way to bring themselves out of the endless cycle of despair which is controlling every single decision that they are making in their lives. Not everyone has the same munchausens-esque approach to their lives as you do. As someone who is quite happy to be on the receiving end of bad press and hateful comments, you quite clearly have some serious mental health issues of your own
regarding attention seeking and the need to comment on EVERYTHING.

Just because there has been a 500% increase in people being diagnosed with the illness (as you say) doesn’t mean that it’s being treated as a fashionable condition which doctors are keen to label people with. It’s because campaigns raising awareness of the illness are leading to people who had previously been suffering in silence seeking help. They don’t feel ashamed or afraid any more as society no longer shuns people who have mental health problems in the way that it maybe did twenty or thirty years ago. There is no need to feel ashamed of admitting that you need help, and there is certainly none in being yourself be that a happy, fulfilled individual or one who feels like they have absolutely nothing in the world. After all, there’s an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with early onset cancer, but there is no way that you would even consider of them seeking attention for wanting a ‘fashionable’ illness because that’s something you can’t argue with. It’s there in black and white because it’s a disease that you can see whereas depression isn’t. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it less real, life threatening or important. And demeaning people who are struggling with this diagnosis in the way that you have is appalling and for those who are at breaking point, could prompt a dangerous behaviour. Be it harm to themselves or harm to someone else.

As for the Alzheimers comments, there is very little to say on that subject except the fact that the utter drivel which you spouted on that topic was more toxic than any known substance on this planet. How you can so off handedly state that the sufferers should be euthanised, to paraphrase your comments, is utterly inhumane and so hurtful to those who have to watch their parents, grandparents and spouses deteriorate on a daily basis. Because they aren’t entirely gone. You lose them slowly, but these patients never lose their reason for living. My grandmother was diagnosed ten years ago, and passed away last month after an incredibly gruelling journey of regression to childhood. But despite the fact that she forgot where she was, that her husband had died and that she had no recollection of any events which had taken place over the past ten years and much of the period before that, she always knew that she had family who loved her. She talked about us, albeit fleetingly. Every time we would visit her at the care home she was living in, she would have no idea who we were for much of the time, but then a glimmer of recognition would flit across her eye, and for the brief moments that she did recognise her grandchildren and daughter, she was ecstatically happy. Those moments were worth all the hardship for her, and for us. To say that an Alzheimers patient is unaware that they are living is a gross misunderstanding of the illness and its progression.

The decision not to look after her at our home was also one which was taken out of our hands. As a family which is forced to move almost annually as a result of factors outside of our control, it would not be fair to have carted her around with us. It would have been unfair to take her out of an environment which she knew and recognised, and had been so happy in for most of her life. The quality of care that she received at the home she was a resident in was also beyond the standard of anything which she could have received if we had looked after her. She had constant companionship, nurses and doctors who saw to her every health need, she received different types of therapy aimed at slowing the disease and she had people to talk to about things which had occurred in her past which we would have no understanding of. It was the right choice for her, and every decision which we made for her care, was made solely with her in mind. That does not make us bad people and it certainly doesn’t mean that we should have given up on her.

So to finish, it would be my advice to you to either inform yourself fully of everything which you are quite happy to comment. A majority of the issues you comment on, you are so ill informed on that you are in danger of spreading poisonous and dangerous ideas which have the potential to destroy what is left of the humane society that we live in today. They can lead to people harming themselves or others, while you sit safely behind your keyboard or your phone mindlessly talking crap. Just because you have an opinion on something does not make it a truth which people have to ‘get over’ or ‘deal with’. It makes you a sad, pathetic individual who feels the need to belittle others. A sad, pathetic individual who is, actually, wrong when discussing a large number of the ‘truths’ she claims to speak. How someone like you managed to become a ‘voice of the people’ in a newspaper is beyond my comprehension as you are clearly very out of touch. So out of touch, in fact, that many people are wishing that you would in fact be euthanised sooner rather than later so that it puts an end to your idiocy. Everyone has the right to life, regardless of which world they find themselves living in. Be it a regressed world, a depressed world, or a joyful one. One thing is for sure though – you are in no position to judge anyone for the way their life is lived. But before you attempt to apply that yourself, you opened yourself up to judgement the moment you decided to write such heartless and hateful words.

Sincerely,

Someone who knows what they’re talking about

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The Tower of London Dare: THAT Video

A while back, I wrote a post about the fact that I literally can’t take my sister anywhere without her threatening to do something completely stupid or outrageous. One of the occasions that I mentioned involved a trip to the tower of London, where she sported a cape and a Beefeater hat for the entire duration of the visit.

Whilst cleaning up my facebook page and removing posts relevant to an older blog that I have but no longer use, I came across this video of Alex post Tower of London visit. Again, it proves that Alex can go literally nowhere without causing a scene or making a fool of herself. She can’t even run with a lollipop without choking. And she wasn’t even eating it.

Why Taking your Husband’s Surname ISN’T ‘Medieval’ or ‘Horribly Sexist’, and Weddings aren’t ‘Acres of Misogyny’

I should start by iterating that I am NOT in any way, shape or form an anti-feminist. I’m all for equality between the sexes, I love my independence and I relish the fact I have all the social, political, legal and economic rights as men in this country. However, I recently read an article in the Daily Mirror in which feminist columnist Polly Hudson claimed that it’s sexist and medieval for a woman to take the surname of the man she is to marry. She then goes on to pick at every aspect of the wedding ceremony from the father walking the bride down the aisle to the bouquet toss. Whilst I’m sure that Polly’s intentions were not to disgust her readers, I couldn’t feel anything but angry when I studied the article. Two thoughts went through my mind; the first being that feminism had become ridiculous and would appear to be, in a lot of cases, extreme. She almost bullies women into feeling ashamed for not keeping their own name. The second was that every romantic ideal of my own wedding day had been tarred with the ‘misogynist’ brush, destroying all romantic notions of the little rituals which will, if I get married, be so incredibly important to me.

Taking your husband’s surname is NOT medieval.

The first issue I have with Polly’s article is that in no way, shape or form is taking your husband’s surname medieval (the only accuracy Polly has pointed out in her claim that it is, is that medieval women took their husband’s surname). For starters, surnames during the medieval period had a much more significant meaning to them than they do these days; they were usually derived from titles, profession or place of habitation. For example Webb was a surname attributed to weavers, and Baker was a surname attributed to bread makers. Therefore, following a wedding, the women took on the identity of their husband’s profession, not just their family. The surnames would be used to attribute individuals to their family groups for the purpose of records, and also distinguish them from each other as society grew.

Nowadays, surnames don’t hold as much practical significance as they did during the medieval period. However to me, they’re still important. Personally, I think taking your husband’s surname is a tradition which should be upheld if it’s something you wish to do. I’m incredibly proud of my current surname; several members of my family have been very successful and brought it some prestige, and it’s very uncommon in the UK. If and when I get married, however, I will be dropping it in favour of taking my husband’s. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t. After all I’ll be starting a family with him, living with him, and sharing my life with him as my partner from that moment on. When I consider how big those changes are, and how frivolous some people are with using deed poll to change their names, taking my partner’s really isn’t such a big deal. I will still have my roots and know where I come from. I won’t ever lose my family ties. Instead, I’ll be making my own. Everyone is entitled to make their own decision regarding this, but it’s better to make an informed one as opposed to being pressured or made to feel ‘subservient’ by an overly feminist woman who wants to pressure others to share her ideals.

There is no reason why your sister/friend/mother/ can’t make a speech at your wedding

I’m not sure if Polly is familiar with YouTube, but I’m sure if she typed ‘maid of honour speech at wedding’ into the search bar, she’d find plenty of examples of women standing at the top table and toasting the bride and groom with a speech which could rival that of her male counterpart. In the UK women have the same rights as men, and these rights are not void when it comes to nuptials. These days, they can be both traditional and modern without a hint of sexism in sight. All you need to do is ask. I’m pretty sure I won’t be breaking any laws by asking my sister to speak at mine. I’d ask my Mum, but since she almost drowned me in happy tears at my graduation I’m sure she’d be too busy trying not to flood out the guests to say a single word – let alone a speech!

You are not ‘property’ being ‘traded’

Whilst a daughter was her father’s property back in the day, the handing over of which was symbolised by a walk down the aisle, today it means something entirely different. My father has never treated me like property, and has only ever encouraged me to be my own person. I don’t see why he should all of a sudden ‘lay claim’ to me for my wedding day. Instead, I look at it as the last walk I’ll ever make with my Dad as his little girl. It will be an act of love, not ownership, and a final confirmation that he trusts the person that I marry to protect me and keep me safe for the rest of my life. It doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist or of the belief that women can’t look after themselves as well as men can; he just wants his daughter to be as safe as possible with a man who loves her unconditionally. He will use the walk to reassure me that I can go through with my marriage and support me as I make the biggest change I will ever make in my life. Or, should I get cold feet and decide I don’t want to go through with a wedding for whatever reason, he will be there to support me then too. I for one know that when I make that walk there is nobody I’d rather have by my side than my father, and I sure as hell won’t be able to make it alone.

The bouquet toss is NOT solely for ‘subservient little women’

Another tradition that Polly has sought to demean is the bouquet toss. She claims the women jostle each other to try and catch the flowers, whilst their boyfriends look on wondering which will be forced into marriage next. If this does happen, these displays of emotion will be made purely in jest and everybody in our society knows it. The bouquet toss is a bit of light hearted fun which provides amusement to party guests. Nobody believes that the person who catches it will be the next to marry, and that’s why it’s so much fun. There is also nothing to prevent the men from joining in either. The reason they don’t is most likely down to the fact that they don’t have any interest in flowers, and enjoy seeing the state that their partners get in trying to shove other women out out of their way whilst they attempt to claw their way to victory. I don’t think Polly has considered that there are just some things that men aren’t in to, and her attempt to legitimately use it as an example of separation between the sexes is just ludicrous.

Divorce doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your husband’s name

Polly cites Ronnie Wood’s ex wife Jo as an example of an individual who is ‘stuck’ with her ex husband’s name. She wasn’t ‘stuck’ with it; she just chose not to change it. She had become known by the name, and decided that she wanted to stay known as Jo Wood in order not to slip into anonymity. When you go through a divorce, you can change your name. You can revert back to your maiden name. It doesn’t mean you’re ‘handing your identity back’ or giving your ex another part of you. In fact I think it means the opposite. By retaking your maiden name, you symbolise how strong and independent you are, and I imagine that without association to my ex should I ever go through a divorce, it will make moving on with my life so much easier. It also doesn’t mean that I’m allowing my father to ‘repossess’ me. Like I said previously, I will never forget where I came from and, should I need to start again, I’ll go back to the beginning.

I apologise if this has come across as one sided – that wasn’t my intention. I’m merely adding my voice and opinion to the debate, along with my reasons why. If people choose not to marry that’s none of my business. There is nothing wrong with cohabitation without marriage. There is also nothing wrong with choosing to keep your name or adopt a new one when entering into marriage. It is not for others to judge those who choose to do things either way; everyone is entitled to make their own choices and be happy with them. For me, the traditions of a wedding are important and should be kept, but modernised where possible. I don’t judge those who decide to do differently unless they do so in a way which demeans the ideals of others in such a way that it is insulting. In the same way, I don’t expect to be judged or made to feel less of a woman because of the decisions I have made or will make. I don’t want to be accused of ‘setting women back 100 years’ or of being ‘weak’ for not fulfilling somebody else’s ideal. Ensuring my rights are protected is important, but so is making decisions which will be the best for me and my family.

Why Women Feel the Need to Tell White Lies

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"I'll be there in five minutes" by Daily Dishonesty

We have all been brought up in a society which dictates that lying is bad and that the truth, no matter how awful, will always result in lesser punishment than dishonesty. After all, lies are very hard to keep track of. Before you know it, you’re stuck in the middle of a web of lies and deceit which has so many holes and inaccuracies in it that you’re on the verge of being found out. The punishment you face is now at least 646728 times more severe than it would have been had you just been honest to begin with.

Women, however, are notorious liars despite being the sex which is most offended when it comes to being lied to. So why do we do it? The answer is very simple. We’re emotional beings with hormones as unstable as dynamite. When we lie to our partners/parents/friends, it’s not because we actually enjoy it. We’d rather avoid a confrontation which could escalate into a heated argument or a breakup. So which lies are my most common, what do I really mean and why?

1. “I am not jealous at all.”
Men are going to stare at other women. That’s a fact. I don’t say this because some survey has been conducted which says 82% of men admitted to staring at other women whilst with their partner (18% clearly lied), I say this because I do it. There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a beautiful person, and it shouldn’t be an issue. People should be comfortable enough in themselves to say “you know what? She is attractive. Congratulations for noticing.” However, I’m chubby, and the fear of every chubby girl is that their partner doesn’t find them attractive enough and wants to trade them in. So whenever my partner catches me giving him a ‘look’ because I’ve caught him staring, the “don’t worry, I don’t mind. I’m not jealous at all” line avoids a massive conflict over something unimportant and trivial. After all, why should he have to pay for my insecurities?

2. “I’m fine.”

This is a statement that all men will hear about 382995 times within their lifetimes. Why? Because it’s easier than having to tell them that actually, when they chose to go for a drink with their pals when you had an evening off, it hurt a little bit. You might have had dinner planned or some grand gesture to show them how much they mean to you because actually, they’re bloody amazing. Or maybe, it’s easier to say I’m fine than get upset because they told you your arse looks huge in that dress you like, or that your diet isn’t working. You want them to know you’re upset, but not chew them to bits. It’s conflict avoidance because usually in that scenario, they’re right.

3. “It doesn’t matter”

“It doesn’t matter” is a hugely versatile statement when it comes to interpretation. Sometimes, ‘it’ actually doesn’t matter. Most of the time however, for me, it does. Usually, it follows me asking someone to do something, them staring blankly back, and then me deciding to just do it myself because I can’t be bothered to explain it again. Or, it follows the age old unintentional insult; something like “you’re filling your jeans out nicely.” Basically, I’ve just been called fat. Rather than explain to the individual who threw the insult at me that I’m upset, I’d rather just go with “it doesn’t matter.” That way, I avoid the blank stares and having to repeat “it doesn’t matter.” I also avoid the “you’re being too sensitive,” “you’re over emotional” or “you’re being such a girl” insults which usually follow. Congratulations, you’re aware of my gender. Perhaps you’ll now start noticing when I get a haircut.

4. “It doesn’t matter how much you earn”

If any girl says this, she is most definitely lying. I’m not a materialistic person at all, but how much my boyfriend earns does matter to me. It’s not initially important, but when the relationship starts to get serious it starts to become important. I’m definitely not saying to ask “how much money do you earn each month before and after tax” on a first date – or at all. I don’t need to know how much, but as a woman who’s considering potentially having babies later on in life I need to know the person I’m choosing to spend my life with is financially secure enough to be able to look after my future family. Someone who sponges off his mother – or worse, me – is definitely not someone I’d want to date. I’ve been asked this question a few times on dates, however, and felt the need to lie every time. I don’t want someone to think I’m a gold digger just because I want to have a secure future.

5. “I’m nearly ready. I’ll be five minutes.”

If I’ve felt the need to say “I’m almost ready,” chances are I’m stood in my underwear with no make up on, wearing a turban, and trying to figure out what to wear. Saying this buys me more time, whilst providing my friend/parent/partner with a definitive time scale which puts them at ease. Unfortunately, it ceases to work after the third or fourth time in one hour.

6. “I was only kidding”

I like to think of myself as a bit of a joker, although sometimes I tend to think the world laughs at me far more often than it laughs with me. However, because of this I can get away with saying “just kidding” after dropping a very serious bombshell, making a comment about someone’s behaviour or expressing dissatisfaction with someone/something. Sometimes I am just kidding, but most of the time I am deadly serious. I’m just trying to soften the blow and push the offender to rectify the situation before I get cross.

7. “I don’t know what you’re talking about”

This one is pretty self explanatory. I do know what you’re talking about, I just think it’s stupid and can’t be bothered listening to it any more.

From my own personal experiences, I think it’s pretty clear that in a nutshell, women feel the need to lie because it makes life easier. We don’t want to have confrontations, we don’t want to get dragged into emotional warfare and we don’t want to risk jeopardising our relationships with anyone.

If you like the image I’ve used, you can find it here

15 Signs That Work is Taking Over Your Life

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"I am not a Workaholic" by Daily Dishonesty

Ahead of going to back to University in September to voluntarily test my stress levels with a postgrad degree, I’ve found myself spending the past 7 months working full time in a bar in Wandsworth. Initially I accepted the job there because I’d hated my city job, and knew I could continue to work there whilst studying in order to fund my education. However, this has now become more than just a bar job. It’s become my baby. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for the place. That’s when it hit me; I’m a workaholic.

1. You take every single phone call you get from your workplace, regardless of whether you’re in the shower, or eating a romantic dinner with your partner. Why? Because you’re convinced that something awful will have happened to in your absence. Like your cleaner has managed to burn it down, or someone’s forgotten to turn the gas off when changing the Fosters.

2. You call your boss. A lot. Not always with an agenda. Sometimes, you just want to see how they’re surviving without you and whether or not you can do anything for them.

3. You find yourself playing middle man between the other staff and your boss, because they’re convinced he likes you more than them. To be fair, he probably does.

4. You make your boyfriend go out and play football on date night so that you can pick up an extra shift guilt free. You don’t even feel guilty when he says his legs hurt, because you got paper.

5. You end up staying an hour past your shift’s end time, because you have more things to do and you’re convinced that nobody else can do them like you can. In fact, you know they can’t.

6. The advertising blackboards are your babies, and if anyone smudges them or attempts to write on them you hulk out. In your head you’re an artist. They’re not.

7. Lunch becomes a thing of legend. You’ve heard people speak of it. Hell you’ve seen people eating it! But lunch? For you? Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no time. Anyway, who’s going to look after the bar if you take a break? The chef?

8. You find yourself talking about work. A lot. You’ve got nothing else to talk about, because you do nothing else with your life except spend time with your partner. And as flattering as it might be in the beginning, they’ll soon tire of hearing about themselves.

9. You complain that you could do better at X, Y and Z with other members of staff and your family, but as soon as a customer points out the same thing you immediately tell them to shut up because they are completely and utterly wrong. Your bar is perfect.

10. The number of hobbies you have equals zero. You have literally none. Besides, you don’t have time. What if work needs you?

11. You say you’ll be home in twenty minutes, but you find yourself getting so immersed in the job that before you know it you’ve drawn an accurate picture of the globe on your FIFA World Cup score board complete with shading, you’ve made 437828 posters and hung them everywhere, and you’ve spent time designing and laminating 636253 specials menus because the world will end if they’re left until tomorrow.

12. It doesn’t matter how busy the previous day may have been; if someone’s forgotten to take the filter out of the dishwasher and there are still glasses to wash, you’re going to rage. You mention it to the person the shift belonged to, gauge their reaction, then tell them you were joking. But you weren’t. You definitely were not joking. In fact, they made your hit list,

13. You cannot justify missing work. It doesn’t matter if you’re due a holiday, you’ve got a broken elbow or if you’re dying; you will be there. Unless you have the Nora Virus. But only for health and safety reasons.

14. The word ‘no’ is no longer a feature of your vocabulary. No matter how many times you try to use it, you still end up on your hands and knees designing blackboards for the next three weeks when in fact you should be at home, eating pasta and watching rubbish on TV.

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Rushed 30 minute board, as I was informed of the performer last minute. Plus, dinner was calling.

15. You deny that you’re a workaholic because you aren’t. You really aren’t. You just like your job. A lot.

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The London Underground: Where Chivalry is Dead, and Gentlemen Don’t Exist

“Perhaps a gentleman is a rarer man than some of us think for. Which of us can point out many such in his circle; men whose aims are generous, whose truth is not only constant in its kind, but elevated in its degree; whose want of meanness makes them simple, who can look the world honestly in the face with an equal manly sympathy for the great and the small.” – Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray

Even when William Makepeace Thackeray first published Vanity Fair in 1847, the gentleman was an elusive being. Now, 163 years on, it would appear that very little has changed in London despite attempts to demonstrate otherwise with the airing of television shows such as Made in Chelsea which, ironically, ends up showing that the rich and affluent can in fact be among the most ungentlemanly characters in London society. I’ve seen piranhas with better table manners than the cast of that show. They create drama where there is none, their manners are largely non existent, and their behaviour leaves much to be desired. In complete contrast, then, with what is traditionally expected of individuals who frequent the most upmarket establishments in the city.

One of the places that I find this ignorance to etiquette to be most noticeable is the London Underground, where commuters from all walks of life are forced to interact with each other on a daily basis in the most extreme travel conditions possible. During rush hour, it is not uncommon to find yourself standing in a packed tube carriage with your face in the armpit of a sweaty businessman, your hand on the crotch of the person stood next to you, and your backside dangerously close to the face of the person sat behind you. The carriage is so packed full of people that if you move to avoid the unfortunate position you’ve found yourself in, you’ll find your face in another armpit, and your hand on another backside or crotch except this time, there’s the risk of castration for the poor bugger you were initially ‘cosied up to’. So, when faced with these conditions people appear to lose their minds and all social graces go out of the window. The following situations are a handful of those I have found myself in or witnessed when making such journeys.

The Battle for the Priority Seat

As is common with trains and buses all round the country, the tubes are equipped with clearly marked priority seats which are like gold dust to rush hour commuters. Situated on the end of a row next to a plastic ‘wall’, you only have to sit next to one other passenger and have a means by which to rest your head after a busy day in the office. The number of people that can fall on you are limited and, when you reach your stop, you don’t have to battle through a huge sea of people to exit the train.

Barman moquette priority seating, Central Line 1992 Stock (23 Jan 2014) by Daniel Wright,

Barman moquette priority seating, Central Line 1992 Stock (23 Jan 2014) by Daniel Wright

However, the lucky individuals who have been waiting for one of these seats to become available, and battled their way like Vikings through the mob of people who have also noticed that it is vacant and are rushing to plant their arses on it, all of a sudden seem to lose their ability to see when someone who is entitled to rob the seat off them boards the train. I have witnessed heavily pregnant women stand directly in front of a priority seat, while the well dressed young businessman occupying it in a tailored Savile Row suit stares at the floor and refuses to acknowledge that she even exists. I have seen elderly men and women close to passing out due to the extreme heat, whilst struggling with their weakened muscles to hold onto whatever they can find for their dear life. Occasionally, this is another passenger. Nobody offers them their seat, and they are too polite to ask. They suffer in silence, while the twenty something young man sits and plays Angry Birds or Candy Crush on the latest piece of technology they have acquired.

The priority seat blockers are not alone in their crime, however, as the men around them also fail to get up and offer their seats to these fragile individuals. It’s as if there’s an unwritten code which states that no man will acknowledge the infirm or the pregnant when in a seated position on the tube. Usually, I am only able to endure five minutes of this madness before I get up and offer my seat if I’m lucky enough to have had one. It’s either that, or slapping the nearest male around the chops, dragging him out of his seat and then giving him a lecture about priorities before instructing him to sort his life out.

Occupying Multiple Seats

This is something that really irritates me, as I’m a firm believer in the motto “seats are for bums, not bags”. There’s also a huge area when you board the tube which is dedicated to overspill of passengers and storage of larger items so that individuals who wish to sit are not forced to stand while a chest of drawers humongous cardboard box denies them access to one or more seats.

Courtesy of Annie Mole

Courtesy of Annie Mole

However, there are those who are worse that the individual who uses a seat to store their shopping and those who like to rest their furniture against them; they are The Resters. These are the individuals who stretch their legs out in front of multiple sears, fall asleep on your shoulders and drool all over your t-shirt, and use the seat opposite them as a leg rest because they’re incapable of sitting properly.

A couple of months ago after a particularly stressful day at work, I found myself getting onto a relatively busy tube to find that the only four seats available in the carriage were being occupied by a young man who was lying across them, his shoes on the floor next to him while he watched a film on his phone. I asked him if I could sit on the seat at the end, and he replied with “sorry, I’m injured and I’m in a lot of pain,” then returned to staring at the screen on his phone. I didn’t ask again, and stood for the next couple of stops. After ten minutes the young man tore his face away from the screen and, noticing we had arrived at his stop, jumped upright and sprinted off the tube carrying his shoes just in time to make it out of the door. Clearly, he hadn’t been as injured as he’d made out and just couldn’t be bothered to move. Meanwhile, I’d been forced to stand with three bags full of heavy books, my handbag and a violin.

Blockers of the Exits

Although this name is far from glamorous, I cannot think of any other which can be used to describe these individuals which doesn’t involve the use of very bad language. In fact when I just asked the boyfriend for his help to describe them, he merely turned to me and said “bastards.” Very helpful.

There have been innumerate occasions where I have found myself unable to exit the train at my desired stop because  Exit Blockers have not moved to allow me to disembark the tube. This hasn’t been for want of trying either. I’ve politely tried to excuse my way past people, hoping that manners will be enough to cause the obstruction to part like the Red Sea and allow me to cross. If that fails, I attempt to use a bit of force and push my way through any weak links in the chain. Unfortunately in rush hour, however, trying to push your way through the crowd is like attempting to knock down a wall with a feather. By this point, the doors are close to closing, and the only option you have left is to launch yourself at the doors with as much force as possible in the hope that you are able to propel yourself through the ignorant people who are refusing to let you out. Nine times out of ten, I find myself still failing to break through, most likely because I’m far too terrified to have the contents of my bag spill out all over the floor.

Personal irritations aside, these people are unbelievable for so many other reasons. They refuse to let travelers board, most likely due to a sense of panic which overcomes them that they may have to share their personal space for a mere thirty minutes of their day. I’ve also witnessed families become separated because the child has been small enough to squeeze through people’s legs and get off, but the mother has been unable to break through and watched, panic stricken, as the doors close and her child is left on the platform as the vehicle starts to move. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people allow this to happen or why they would be so selfish

So, having examined three separate scenarios and type of individual who travel the tube on a daily it is undoubtedly clear to me that chivalry is dead and that gentlemen do not exist. If they did, I would be able to exit the tube without issue, the disabled and pregnant would not be left standing when they clearly need access to a seat, and seats would be reserved for bums and not bags. However, things haven’t changed over the past 163 years, so I don’t think they’ll be changing any time soon.