Your First Year in Teaching as told by Peep Show (Or how you’ve basically become Mark and Jez without realising it…)

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post at the end of my Teacher Training, summing up the whole year in song titles (CLICK IT – YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!). I’ve been meaning to follow that up since I passed my NQT year last year and never got around to it, until today! I know that a lot of people outside of the UK might not resonate with me using Peep Show images but do you know what? I don’t care. I like Peep Show and I think it shares a lot of similar themes with your NQT year as a teacher.

 

This post is going to differ slightly to the last one by looking at only a few key moments throughout the year, but I swear that it hits all the key points! It also doesn’t only apply to my own experiences of completing my hellishly nightmarish NQT year (of which I have been less than kind on this blog already..) and instead will focus on a mildly more generic year… Although not too much as where’s the fun in me not complaining?

Guess we’d better get started!

The First Day

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Oh those first day nerves might well get the better of you and you end up standing awkwardly in the staff room during briefing as you haven’t figured out where to sit yet (trust me, it’s an important decision) but overall you’re happily optimistic. This year can’t be any harder than Teacher Training right? You know what you’re doing… You’ve got this… Right?

When you realize your tutor group don’t *quite* understand the “I’m here to help spiel…

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You’ve got your own tutor group! What a great chance to bond with the students and nurture and encourage a small group of pupils! You try to be as positive as possible with them, you let them know the rules and that they can come to you if they have any problems. Now, when you said that you were expecting it to be things like timetable crashes, lost kit or even some GCSE option decisions. What you didn’t expect was the endless tirade of tales they tell about each other. You can only hear so many renditions of “So and So took my pencil in maths” before your eyes start to glaze over and you hear yourself utter the phrase “I’ll have a word with them tomorrow”.

Still, as often as they can be irritating, your tutor group can also be amazing. Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing a formerly naughty and underachieving student improving based on your mentoring. (Personally I love being a Form Tutor – it’s one of my favourite parts of the job!)

About 3 weeks into the second half term…

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Oh this one’s an easy one. You’ve made it past half term, you’ve had a week off and you miss the easy days of university (personally I had 8 hours a week in those golden days – now I can EASILY do 8 hour days and then some). You start to get a bit disenfranchised and pine for the 9-5 that your uni friends have going on. Oh what a world it would be where you didn’t work in the evening and at weekends…

Your first Christmas build up

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Here’s a warning for those people like me who absolutely LOVE Christmas. Not everyone does. Most schools don’t really do a large amount for Christmas, and of course since you’re a grown up, you have to be sensible and keep churning out the usual lessons for your students, no matter how much you might want to watch Elf for all 6 periods of your day! Being responsible sucks sometimes.

The Marking. The Horror.

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This one is very much self explanatory. IT’s a repetitive task but you’ve gotta do it. Keep on going!

When the dark days take their toll on your eating habits…

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It’s after the Christmas break, you’ve already abandoned your new years resolutions and you’ve caught yourself buying endless amounts of Uncle Ben’s Rice Time pots instead of making your own meals from scratch. It’s been three weeks since you even contemplated eating a fresh piece of fruit. It’s a sad reality of teaching that if you don’t work hard to keep yourself healthy and eating right it can slip easily and once it does its a downhill slide to rock bottom. You realize there’s only so many Rustlers Microwave Burgers you can eat before you start to feel repulsed by yourself… You resolve to make some changes that probably won’t ever happen but it’s comforting to lie to yourself…

6 Little Letters – OFSTED

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It’s probably your first time facing the onslaught that is Ofsted. Everyone goes into panic stations and the school stays open later so you can get your lessons plans sorted. You spend longer planning a single lesson than you ever have and make sure you’ve got all the buzzwords in there! Just don’t let that panic show on the day! Remember Han Solo “Don’t get cocky Kid”.

When it all gets a bit overwhelming and yet you still lie to everyone that you’re fine.

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Hopefully this won’t be you, but it certainly was me and my friend Rachael. We lied to ourselves, to each other and to our mentors. We were fine and didn’t need any help. Honestly. I’m fine. I’ve always had bags under my eyes. No, seriously. I am getting enough sleep. I’m fine. I promise…

When you finally admit there might have been a problem…

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At least you’ve finally admitted it! You can get this sorted now you’re being honest. It’s a big change to overhaul everything and get back on track but you can do this! You’ve been through worse. You survived the placement school. You’ve got this far dammit! You can do this. Although there’s still that niggling feeling that it’s all going to go horribly wrong. Better push that aside for now…

When your friends ask you how your life is going

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Its been so long since you’ve been on a date that you start to worry they might have changed all the rules and you’ll never adapt. Before you came out tonight it took you a good 20 minutes to find a shirt that WASN’T a work shirt. You’ve not had to look presentable for the outside world in a good few months. These normal people just love to rub their free time in your face. Still, it’s nice to know that despite your massive workaholic tendencies you still have a group of friends ready to stick by you, even though they dont’t quite get why being in the pub until closing on a  Tuesday is a bad idea…

When you just start to sink into the routine

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Oh all those worries and insecurities have become routine by now. There’s no need to worry about them because you’ve got so good at multitasking you can eat your breakfast, reply to emails and brush your hair all at the same time. You’re like a highly skilled octopus which can live on land. You take whatever comes your way in your stride. It’s all just another day at the office for you.

When you *FINALLY* embrace your inner wierdo

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It’s about time you stopped worrying what everyone else thought. Let your Freak Flag fly as they say! You’ll notice your teaching gets better and your students respect you a bit more when you put a bit more personality into your lessons and stop being so rigidly by the book. Good on you!

The final push of NQT year

A little bit of you has died inside. You’re very much a different person. This year has changed you. You’ve been to hell and back and dammit all if you didn’t survive. You feel more confident. You finally know what you’re doing. You can go into the summer holidays happy that come September you won’t have the same freak out you did this year. It was tough, but it was worth it! No more evidence folders! That’s got to be worth the hassle alone…

 

Well there you have it! Some key NQT moments summed up with Peep Show Quotes.

Obviously I must point out that a few of these moments, whilst startling similar to real life events that many newly qualified teachers go through, have in fact been slightly exaggerated for comedic purposes. It’s a great job, Teaching. I don’t think I’d trade it in for the world, despite the ups and downs!

Maybe there’s a part 3 coming soon. Maybe not. I think I need to spend a bit more time experiencing it before I try to make light of it all!

Until next time teachers!

Stop Doing That… Game Of Thrones Edition!

It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it” – Tyrion Lannister

Oh yes, that’s right the ever ranting Stop Doing That series returns, this time with a Game Of Thrones special edition!

We are now nearing the end of Series 5 of the hit show, so if you haven’t heard of it yet it’s time to crawl out from under the gigantic rock you’ve been living beneath and step blinking into the sun (yes, it’s the ciiiiiiiiircle of life).  Before we start, I’d like to make everybody aware of something:

THIS BLOG POST MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR THE BOOKS AND TV SHOWS and also a bit of bad language but honestly, if you’ve read or watched the series you’ll be completely desensitized to it and if you haven’t then this probably isn’t the best place to start or you clicked on this by mistake…

Now that’s out of the way, lets take a trip to Westeros and find out what we need to stop doing!

STOP: Giving Sansa Stark so much screentime

Her book plot happens to be one of the most tedious things I’ve ever read (and I’ve read two out of three 50 Shades books: Part 1 and Part 2) and to be honest the changes they’ve made to the storyline for the TV show are just not quite enough to make it as interesting as the rest of the show. Fair play to Sophie Turner for doing her best with what is quite frankly a weak and underdeveloped character that most of the time feels like padding to make sure there are some female leads in the story but if we need that, can’t we just have some more Brienne? Or even even bring back Osha the Wilding or Yara Greyjoy (remember them?).

STOP: Rushing through important plotlines but stalling the boring ones

Keeping on the theme of dull stories being told, why are we giving so much time to the unnecessary story lines this season? Petyr Baelish continues to be one of the most despised and creepy characters I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch and yet we’ve seen some of his story in almost every episode. It’s just not needed, let’s skip ahead to the good bits. Similarly, how quickly do they want to move along the Tyrion and Jorah storyline?!. Last week they were captured by slavers and this week we’re suddenly in the fighting pits of Mereen. I feel like we’ve missed a bit. Don’t even get me started on the Dornish plot line either…

STOP: Making Jaime Lannister an afterthought

Not much has happened to Jaime since he lost his hand. He should be the Head of the Kingsguard if his book counterpart is anything to go by and we should be seeing him in Kings Landing, dealing with the ramifications of his clumsy new hand before going off to Riverrun to deal with the last remnants of the Tully resistance. Unfortunately we seem to have forgotten there’s not long been a war and the Tullys are all but a puff of cloud on a clear blue sky so they’ve shoehorned Jaime and even Bronn into the Dornish plot line; seemingly just to give them something to do. I’m not complaining about the chance to get more Bronn (he should be in every storyline possible) but let’s take a pause and give Jaime Lannister the respect he deserves because at the heart of it, he is quite an interesting character to follow.

STOP: Letting characters disappear vaguely for large spells of time

Remember Osha? Yara? Gendry?

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Probably, but the memories of them will be hazy. All three of these characters were introduced to us, made out to be important and then suddenly they’ve been relegated to the lower leagues of GoT characters. Probably to make more room for Sansa plotlines (I can’t bash Bran this year since we mercifully get a break from his storyline). Even Varys appears to have disappeared without a trace since that fateful brothel trip in Volantis, though I’m sure a fan favourite like him will be back before long (the series has suffered without his dry wit and sarcasm). At least the actor who plays Gendry has a good sense of humour about his continued absence.

STOP: Forgetting about the direwolves

Seriously, you spend your CGI budget for the season on dragons and stone men and yes that’s fairly interesting but let’s not forget we still have Ghost the direwolf and so far we’ve only seen him in a single tiny scene! Step it up.

STOP: Cramming House words into it the episodes for the sake of it

After an entire episode titled after the words of House Martell we have yet again been told that Winter is coming. I know most of the Starks are dead an Winter is indeed on its way to Westeros but can we at least give some love to the other ouse words. Have we had House Lannister’s said recently? House Baratheon?  Didn’t think so…

STOP: Toning down the swearing

Is it just me or have we had far less swearing since the last few seasons? GoT used to be pure filth streaming from the mouths of characters that would turn the air blue. This season, we’ve had a bit of swearing but sadly it seems like the loss of The Hound has meant the loss of a large portion of the swearing. Who could forget his greatest scene ever, complete with all the swearing!

So there we have it. A few things we need to stop doing in the world of Game of Thrones.

And just remember, you either win or you die…

Stop Doing That… In a Fast Food Restaurant!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might think that the topic of Fast Food is a bit played out since I’ve already talked about it a fair few times. If you’re new here or require a catch-up then please click here to learn about OCS (Obnoxious Customer Syndrome) or here to see the first “Stop Doing That” about ordering your fast food.

So where can we go from here? Surely I’ve already covered the most important parts, right? Well today, we’ll be looking at what happens when you move away from the counter and enter the restaurant seating area. There are just oh so many things that you can do here to make yourself one of the most annoying customers ever. So, without further ado let me attempt to help you realize and rectify your mistakes!

STOP: Not clearing your own table
This is something that majorly bugs me. It’s not difficult to do either, so there’s no excuse for you getting up and wandering off WITHOUT taking the tray with all of the rubbish and detritus from your meal and putting it in the bin. Seriously, the bins are out there, in the lobby, for you to use. In most cases you walk past at least one bin to reach the exits! It’s not hard. If you don’t take your tray to the bin then I hope you enjoy the special hell that will be waiting for you. you know, the one reserved for child molesters and people that talk at the theater. (Bonus points for you if you got that reference. If you didn’t, you can educate yourself here: Special Hell)

STOP: Covering the tables in sauce
I mean really, we give you paper plates for a reason so is there any need to cover the entire table in sauce? Do you know how difficult it is to get that stuff off once it’s dried!? It’s like adamantium, you can’t destroy it!

STOP: Getting carried away with the napkins etc.
You know full well you’re not going to use that entire wad of 50 or so napkins for your single burger meal, so how about you just grab a few and not half a forest’s worth of napkins. Save the Earth guys! (And yes, stop me having to sweep up hundreds of unused napkins every shift.)

STOP: Throwing what seems like the entirety of your meal on the floor
I know that occasionally, things fall on the floor. I’m ok with that really. I don’t mind having to sweep the floor, I have to do it anyway. I do take a personal vendetta fueled by my own burning rage against people who do this slight umbrage with those people that seem incapable of using a table and have managed to tip an entire trays worth of food and rubbish over the floor. Table manners do exist guys, please try not to forget them just because you’re not in a fancy restaurant!

 

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Review

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I’m going to start this review with a direct quote from the book:

“Wouldn’t you rather have a cup of tea?”

The answer to that is, of course, yes. Yes I would much rather have sat and drunk a thousand cups of tea than go through the mental torture that this book has inflicted upon me, but alas, I didn’t.

If you weren’t around over the summer months, or if you have a memory like a sieve, then you might not know that I put myself through the burning, soul destroying mental torturefest challenge of reading the hottest book in the world at that time, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. You can find my write up of that experience right here: Click at your own peril – includes Fifty Shades content!  Seven months on, I felt like I was ready to take the icy plunge into the cool steel gaze of multi billionaire CEO, philanthropist and deviant, Christian Grey.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS CONTAINS “SPOILERS” BUT THE BOOK ISN’T THAT GOOD ANYWAY, SO I’D JUST READ ON IF I WERE YOU, REGARDLESS.*

Picking up 3 days after the absolutely nail biting climax of the last book where main character and instantly irritating shrew, Ana, stormed out on Christian after deciding he was too weird for her, we get to see how Ana completely fails to deal with her recent break up. Like any cliche, Ana stops eating and starves herself, forcing herself through the motions at her new job, which she never seems to do any real work at but we’ll get to that later. Ana spends a lot of the first chapter moping about how much she misses Christian, even though she was the one who stormed out and left him. EL James, the horror architect author also keeps swapping the way she spells “gray” flipping between a and e throughout the book. I feel like a proofread was needed here.

Anyway, in true doormat form, Ana sees she has an email from Christian, asking her if she wanted to go to her friend Jose’s art show with him. You know Jose? That character that suddenly disappeared halfway through the first book? No? Don’t worry he flits in and out of this one too! Anyway, Ana accepts and spends the next 4 pages or there about worrying about seeing Christian. Quite frankly, what are you doing Ana? You’ve been broken up for like 4 days, this is not healthy. Grow up and get some common sense.

Skipping through vast swathes of this book. Ana and Christian get back together, they email a lot when Ana should be working (seriously, she does nothing other than email her boyfriend ALL day! How has she not been fired?), Christian buys her extravagant gifts and the most pointless sub plot of his crazy ex-submissive coming after Ana and him gets introduced. Honestly I don’t think there’s been a more forced strand to a story in a long while, possibly ever in fact!

After a few chapters about a charity ball, which pass in relative obscurity we end up with Christian going top-notch super crazy and asking Ana to marry him (yes I’m skipping a lot. you would too if you had to write about it.). Obviously, she says she needs time to think as she’s only known him for 5 weeks and he is nuttier than rat crap at a pistachio factory. He then goes super mental and becomes a submissive, asking her if that’s what she wants and the whole book takes a turn for the odd.

Anyway, skipping forward again, we get treated to the absolute JOY that is the return of “the tenacious Katherine Kavanagh” possibly the worst supporting character in a novel ever. If only she had been written out permanently. On the bright side though, Jose returns for a few chapters before disappearing into obscurity once again.

There’s a helicopter crash, a lot of crying and a birthday party and then we find out that Ana was being cruel by not giving Christian’s proposal a real answer because she gave him a present that he wasn’t allowed to open until his birthday, which turned out to be a keyring with a big YES in flashing lights on it. Talk about torturing a guy!

Anyway, the book ends with Christian giving Ana a truly romantic proposal, then we get a small epilogue section featuring Ana’s old boss, who Christian violently assaulted with no repercussions whatsoever and who caused the helicopter crash, contemplating murder again and foreshadowing the next book. So you know it’s going to be a light-hearted finish to the trilogy!

In summary, it’s more of the same but at least James is trying to give Christian some depth, which he needs as Ana has so little. I felt that the book picked up a bit in the second half, after we got rid of the boring, crazy ex sub-plot. That said, I wouldn’t hurry to read it again. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever think about reading it again.

I’ll probably get around to reading the last book at some point, I’ve come this far so it seems silly not to. I wouldn’t hold your breath and expect it any time soon though…

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to read something mentally stimulating, not mentally crushing.

Anti Valentines Day


Well doesn’t this just suck? Valentines day, that stupid, pointless corporate sell out of a holiday designed solely to shift greetings cards and over priced heart shaped chocolates. Happy singles awareness day everybody!

As if the fact that the streets are lined with shops frantically pushing fake roses and teddy bears holding out hearts with little cutesy messages on them wasn’t bad enough, the radio stations will be playing those insipid love songs all day! Could it get any worse?

Well, cheer up my lonely, bitter pal because I’m here with 5 Anti Valentines songs that celebrate the crappy side of love. Shall we get right into it?

Up first are the Kings of anti love songs Bowling For Soup. They have so many break up songs from guy perspectives that always give you a bit of a chuckle. It’s what you need around this time! Here is the rather aptly named Not A Love Song

Have you ever been in that situation where you really, desperately like someone but they don’t seem to have a single ounce of care for your your feelings? Who am I kidding, we’ve all been there! Here’s Patent Pending with a song about it!

Anybody out there ever been dumped on Valentines Day? If so, you might want to check in with Good Charlotte and take part in their Broken Hearts Parade!

If you have, unfortunately been the victim of a cruel, cruel cheater at some point, I hope you’ll find solidarity with this next song from The Dollyrots. It’s all about those people that ruined your life and left you.

To all of you out there have been through enough and have decided you’re too hard to be hurt any more, there’s a song for you too. It’s a ska tune so it’s a pretty catchy too!

Well there we go! I hope you enjoyed the Anti Valentines music!
If for some reason you’re one of this people that like to celebrate valentines day then you can check out the alternative happy valentines songs right here: Valentines Day Songs

Bonus song:
I couldn’t not put this in for all of our poor fellows in the Friendzone. I’m sure that everybody has at some point been stuck there, through no fault of their own. Here’s another bowling for sop song about what you have to do in that situation.

Valentines Day


Well well well, it’s that time of year again! February 14th is upon us and it is well and truly Valentines Day! Whether you’re in a relationship or not, anybody can embrace the spirit of the day and spread some love around (although let’s make sure it is only love we’re spreading around, as a rather creepy email from the NHS decided to remind me).

In the spirit of the day, I’ve decided to share a few songs that could be called “Valentines Songs” if that we’re a thing. These won’t be your classic love songs and I promise I won’t put ANY Barry Manilow or Neil Diamond in and definitely no Adele. Bloggers honour.

Kicking us off, here’s a cracker from Patent Pending! Not all relationships are the standard Mills and Boon, happily ever after, perfect match scenario. Some are hard work and others are downright dysfunctional. This song really captures the element of being in love with a crazy person – a feeling I know all too well…

Next up we move on to a lovely little ditty about how, sometimes it’s true that opposites attract. This ones just charming, considering their song with Valentine in the title is about killing your crushes boyfriend. Maybe I’ll use that one next year…

Not all Valentines Day stories are about those already in a relationship. What if you’re using the day to take your shot and ask out the girl (or guy we’re all modern here) that you’ve been secretly crushing on for a while? I mean, you’ll be a huge cliché but hey! Here’s A Rocket To The Moon with a song about it.

Robbie Williams has a lot of love songs. The man writes them by the truckload. With that in mind, I really like this one which sums up why a relationship just works!

And finally, you know that feeling you get when you develop a crush on someone and you can’t stop thinking about them and talking about them and then all of a sudden your friends are getting annoyed with you and rolling their eyes every time you open your mouth because they know that its going to be “so and so said this” and “so and so looked at me today”. We’ve all been on both sides of this situation and we know it can’t be helped really, so why don’t we embrace it with this little Bowling For Soup number.

Well there you have it, five not so stereotypical love songs for you this Valentines Day. Whether you’re committed and in a healthy relationship or you’re chasing after that dream girl or guy I hope you have a smashing Valentines Day!

Oh and don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, bitter single people! Check out the SECOND part of my Valentines Day song blog for your songs, right here: Anti Valentines Songs

Bonus song:
I couldn’t leave without giving some final advice to those of you that might use today as a chance to go ahead and ask out that person that you’ve been friends with for ages. Here’s the Suburban Legends! Good luck!

Stop Doing That…At the Bar!

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Pub, club or trendy urban bar, it doesn’t matter where you go for your tipple, the end result will always be the same. I find it staggering that we Brits, a nation that love lines and queues and the etiquette associated with them will let all of our logic and good sense fly out of the windows in two scenarios. Bus stops, but we really don’t have time to get into that area right now, and bars.

Bars just seem to be filled to the rafters with people swanning about, doing their best to annoy me. I’m almost certain that they know that they’re doing it and its some kind of cosmic test of my character which I have to pass in order to live a full and happy life (Think Galadriel refusing to take the One Ring in The Fellowship of the Ring) but on the off chance that this isn’t the case, I thought I would take it upon myself to set some ground rules…

STOP: Staring
We’ve all been there, waiting at the bar in whichever establishment you choose to frequent, when you get the nagging feeling that something’s not right. Someone is staring at you. I’m not talking just maintaining a look at the back of my head because I’m in front of you staring, I mean full on laser bean vision staring, targeted directly at me. I don’t fully understand why this happens, but it seems to be the case with most places that I go. Guys, it’s especially creepy if your doing it to a girl because yo fancy her. Lets face it, what you think is your best Brad Pitt smouldering sexy look actually resembles something more akin to a plumber standing in a room with the worst blocked toilet ever. Not attractive at all…

STOP: Pushing
Whoever thought that the best way to remedy the brief few minute wait to be served was to plow forwards like a rugby player eight steps away from the line is, quite frankly, one of the biggest morons in the world. Lets just think this through for a second. We are at a bar, in a pub, trying to buy a drink, which comes in an open topped vessel and is very wet. Brilliant. Lets add some massive instability into the scenario and let the good times roll! I paid almost triple what that coke is worth for the privilege of having it in a pint glass with a lemon wedge, I would like it to go in my mouth, not down my shirt.

STOP: Queue jumping
This ones for all of you ladies out there. There may not be a defined queue at a bar. Sadly, the lack of queuing protocol exhibited at all establishments with a bar is one of my biggest bugbears in life – guess I’ll have to wait until I become the Supreme Overlord of the World to fix that but that’s another story for another time. Having no defined queue makes it all too easy for people to exploit the natural order of service and jump the “queue” to be served first. The sad thing is it happens a lot more with women, because yo think you can get away with it.
Up you swagger with your make up and your womanly charms and straight to Barman you go. Sadly the flirty wink and demeanour will get his attention and he will, unfortunately, serve you before me even though I’ve been waiting here for a good 15 minutes. This is not okay, there’s a mutually agreed code at the bar that you’ve now come in and broken. Personally, I’m all for gender equality so if I ever happen to be in this situation I will tap you on the shoulder and tell you to wait your turn. It’s only fair…

STOP: Eavesdropping
This one is just a matter of good manners. Stop listening in to other people’s conversations when you’re stood nearby them. If you really want to carrying, at least stop doing it so obviously! And actually…

STOP: Having personal conversations
If you’re having a conversation that you don’t want to run the risk of being overheard then wait until you’ve got your drinks and are back at your table, don’t spew it out in a crowd of strangers. Come on guys, a little bit of common sense is all I’m asking for.

Doubtless, the moment that I hit publish, I’ll think of a million more things to add but hey ho. Is there anything that you can think of that annoys you about waiting at bars? Leave a comment!