Things I Have Learnt This Week

Yet another somewhat under-par posting, this. I have things to say, just neither the time nor inclination to type them all out right now when I could be down the pub, or sleeping…!

  • It’s honestly harder to pull a decent pint than it looks. Pull the tap too slowly and it stops and judders and you don’t get any beer or it all goes frothy. Too fast and you get way too much head, obviously. Guinness always needs to settle, but that’s fine. Lagers are hard to pour too in order to get ‘just the right amount’ of head. Why? Who likes a head on their beer, except that it would look wrong without?
  • If you’re a regular you get priveleges like glass beer tankards if you ask for them or the speciality Ringwoods glasses which have trees and badgers etched into them (try asking for one anyway, you’re a customer after all) and are really pretty.
  • Research is expensive because all those tiny little glass and plastic tubes are actually highly designed, serious bits of kit, which cost at least a couple of quid each. And let’s not even start on reagents and chemicals and stuff.
  • Most scientists – from a spectacularly large sample of three – don’t like killing the animals they work with, and try to have to kill as few as possible as quickly as possible. So put that bucket of pig’s blood away, OK? Especially since I’m working with tiny little shrimp that have about one nerve cell apiece.
  • The things you really want are always in the last place you look. Literally. You’ll say that’s becuase obviously once you’ve found a thing of course you stop looking for it, but if I hadn’t found my shoes in the bag I found them in, that would be it. No more places in the whole house where they could possibly be. Annoyingly, infuriatingly true. Still it does now mean that I have shoes to wear to the wedding tomorrow. Shame about the lack of jewellery – I know where my cross necklace is, I’m wearing it. I *think* my plain silver earrings are on my dressing table. That’s it. Sum total of locateable jewellery.
  • As a scientist I’m really going to miss out on wearing smart clothes to work. Today? Brown shorts, Green Flash, vest top. When I was younger I had all these visions of sharp suits and neat black heels and pencil skirts, but it’s not to be.


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13 responses to “Things I Have Learnt This Week

  1. Kat

    I was shopping and I so wished I worked in a office or something so I could warrent buying smart looking dresses and skirts etc that would actually get worn. I then reminded myself I would probably hate working in an office and left feeling sad that I had no social events that called for a lime green linen shift dress 😦

  2. Flix

    At least you get to wear shorts and vest top in the lab. I feel sorry for those who have to cover every inch of flesh in this heat… (apart from those who made my life miserable, they can suffer, gladly)

    Research is surprisingly expensive, hence why I feel I have definitely made the most of my tuition fees…it’s also amazing how much stuff you can get for “free” (i.e. off your group’s budget/research funding) of course this isn’t very exciting stuff most of the time…but free needles! Let me stick them in my eyes! (needless to say (/pun), I didn’t enjoy research too much…and I didn’t even have to harm any animals…)

  3. I used to wear scruffy where I used to work on the basis working in the lab you’d get too dirty otherwise – I didn’t actually work in the lab but never mind. When I upgraded roles and got to do important things I actually wore a suit some days – only if we had visitors or an important meeting to attend but none the less – and everybody else would be in scruffy clothes so I felt mega important in my suit, in spite of the fact I was actually a minion +1.

    • Jenny

      Coats and gloves over shorts etc but you’re right it’s not too bad!

      Suit Envy. I have one suit and nowhere to wear it!

  4. Adam

    “It’s honestly harder to pull a decent pint than it looks.”

    No it isn’t… It’s one of the simplest things I’ve ever done. Ale is only a problem to pull when you’re reaching the end of the barrel, and end up with a 50/50 mix of beer and air coming from the pump!! Guinness is harder than lager to pour properly, but only if you follow the rules (most importantly – don’t let the tap touch the inside of the glass…)

    Re: work attire – having worked in places with strict and casual dress policies, I can’t decide which I prefer. Sometimes it’s good to wear a decent suit to work – but it’s also nice to just turn up in jeans and t-shirt!

  5. You don’t drink ale, or indeed beer or anything, so your idea of a ‘decent’ pint will be a bit looser than mine. I’m a perfectionist and getting the *right* amount of head on your beer is actually a skill. I’m not saying it’s actually *difficult*, it’s just not as easy as you’d have thought.

  6. Adam

    Good to see my teetotalism isn’t treated in a negative way…

    I don’t have to drive a car to know what is or isn’t a good one…

  7. Flix

    Surely, Jenny, you could just turn up in a suit one day to fulfil your professional pencil skirt desires? Is there any reason why not (apart from departmental ridicule :P)

  8. Have to agree with Jenny here re the “decent pint” thing. If it’s so easy to pour a good pint, why do so many people get it so very, very wrong?

    “I don’t have to drive a car to know what is or isn’t a good one”
    Well it certainly helps… 😛

  9. I wasn’t being negative about your teetotalism. You just can’t and don’t know. Meanwhile I would say I don’t know what is or isn’t a good car because I don’t drive, though I’m learning – all I know about cars is hearsay, what I’ve heard on Top Gear, and what I think is pretty. And the same goes for you, you know it.

    And yeah – Dickie, agreed. There are some terrible pints being poured out there. I feel like XKCD: SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET IS WRONG. I HAVE TO STOP THEM.

    As for pencil skirts and work: our building is very hot and I would also get totally ridiculed/feel totally out of place/be repeatedly asked all day if I was going to a job interview or something :(. So… it’s probably not going to happen.

  10. Flix

    Status: “Ffriend sucks at pulling pints”
    Comment: “It’s harder than it looks, aint it! Dw babe, you’ll get the hang of it!”

    I echo this person’s sentiments. You are not alone, Jenny.


    Also, do you have to know all the nifty names for things that mean bizarre drinks such as “white wine with a dash of whisky and a splash of blackcurrant” except wrapped up in a single word that all bartenders magically know without hesitation?

  11. Jenny

    You gradually learn these things, yup. You’re not, like, given a list and told to memorise it – it’s more that someone asks you for Obscure Thing, you look blank and ask the other barmaid, and they teach you how to make it. Hopefully you’re embarassed enough that you don’t have to ask again the next time.

    I’m *hopeless* at stuff like that though – because I basically drink beer, wine or whisky, almost exclusively. So if you ask me for anything sweet or with more than one ingredient I’ll like as not have no idea what you mean and have never drunk it myself.

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