November 13th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Mark and Mike, the chef

I was able to have a lie-in this morning, since I wasn’t required on the maintenance front.  However, Val was asked to help Sue with some cleaning, + was happy to agree.  My morning was not exactly productive, tho’ I did perform a couple of chores – washing my work-shirt, + tidying up our little nook.  For the rest of the time I read.  I finished H G Wells Short History of the World, which I found interesting + enlightening, tho’ I don’t agree with his gloomy predictions at the end.  We do indeed have the atom bomb hanging over us, but in other respects there are cautious reasons for optimism.  On a lighter vein, I began Ken Follett’s “Triple”.  Like his “Eye of the Needle”, it is a remarkably taut thriller, tho’ without quite the eye for character that book had.   There was some virtue in the day in that during the afternoon I began to do some writing.  And unusually for me, I didn’t give up after a paragraph or so.  We shall see.

Work was pretty much as usual.  On the debit side, there was a degree of bad feeling between the kitchen staff + me.  It centred upon a silly incident with Mark, the washer-upper, over a tray which he wanted brought to him.  He has a big mouth, + is generally just a big-mouthed extrovert, but he likes to assert himself.  It didn’t really amount to anything.  All he did was take the mickey, + since I’m rarely in the kitchen, Val received more of it, by way of vicarious association, than I did.  I had to deal with far worse than Mark when I taught – but it still upsets me, which I suppose is why I don’t like teaching.  I like to be liked too much.  However, behind the incident is a general feeling of resentment that the kitchen staff are no longer receiving free drinks.  But I just don’t want to get into that, since it could prove more than I could handle.  It’s awkward, since I receive free meals… sometimes.  Tonight, in that respect, was excellent.  I had chops + curry + potatoes, followed by a huge bowl of trifle; this was provided partly by Val, but considerably by Julia, the prep chef.  So not everybody hates me.

Not sure I feel quite so optimistic now; au contraire, we seem to be heading for apocalypse, and far faster than anyone was predicting even just a couple of years ago. It had always seemed that my generation would escape the worst aspects of climate change, leaving it to our children, grandchildren, etc, etc. Now it appears that not only are we to be affected in the next few years, should we live so long, but that the etc bit of those descendants might be very short indeed. And meanwhile, what used to be called the atom bomb is back with a vengeance.

As for my disagreements with various of the kitchen staff, I really did feel in an impossible situation; of course I was grateful for the free food, but not sure how easy (legal, etc) it would be to reciprocate with free drinks. But I expect I came across as an entitled, pompous prick.

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