York 24/7: The café worker

York 24/7: The café worker
25 Jul 2013 @ 1.44 pm
| News

grace-clarke-bylineWe asked writers to keep a diary of their day on July 24 for the York 24/7 project. For Grace Clarke it’s Yorkshire Tea, G&T and therapy

“I get up when I want, except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened by the dustmen…” Never a truer word was spoken. I’m only grateful it’s not recycling day, if you’ve got even the merest hint of a hangover there’s absolutely no getting through recycling day.

My immediate thought, after the have I put the bags out panic, is to get Guinness on the phone, because I’m certainly in the running for World’s Sweatiest Woman. That’s heat waves for you, nothing but sweat and sunburn.

Surprisingly I’m not hungover today, because today is a day I like to call “Mental Wednesday” where I take a little trip to Harrogate to see a counsellor in the desperate hope it will stave off my inevitable mental breakdown. But for now it’s a cup of Yorkshire Tea, a chapter of George Orwell, some Springsteen on the Spotify (naturally) and one or two (ok ten) chocolate covered Hobnobs.

Later I’m on the train to Harrogate. It’s absolutely disgusting. I’m absolutely disgusting, having power walked here… I’m always late. I had to verbally abuse a fellow passenger as he failed to adhere to the clearly detailed laws of the train station stairs. We’re British for God’s sake. We’ve no respect for mavericks.


There’s a fat man eating crisps and taking a phone call on loud speaker. Loud speaker!? Is he expecting me to chip in?

This is unacceptable. I put my headphones in, I’ve just got one of those not-so-new fangled iPhones and all I’ve got on it is a four track EP by my friend’s band. It’s going to be a long journey.

A woman get’s on in a Springsteen T-shirt, and I’m reminded that I could have spent today seeing The Boss, rather than sitting snotty-nosed in a counsellor’s office. Flashbacks of Wembley ensue, and before I know it we’re in Knaresborough…


Blimey. That was brutal. I am drained. I’ve been forced to spend the last of my money on sweets and a copy of Grazia. I’ll probably spend next week crying over the inadequately sized gap between my thighs, completely unrealistic. Girls’ legs touch. Deal with it.

Back on the train, where an elderly lady’s legs, larger than mine, spill onto my seat and touch me all the way home.


It’s “brief week” at the café where I work. An excuse for the staff to bitch about their jobs, that they seem to forget are just jobs. I usually sit quietly drinking the tea and dominating the toasted items. But tonight it’s chips and a poor turn out. So I dominate both food and conversation. Someone’s got a new job, we welcome new starters. The usual.

I walk home, wondering whether I can afford a bottle of lemonade to go with the Pimms in the cupboard. Jess informs me she’s got some tonic, so it’s gins all round. The gin has barely passed our lips and we’re both in emotional turmoil. Dissertation hell for her, general life for me.

I decide to end the day just as I’d started it. Springsteen, Yorkshire Tea, and one or two – ok ten – chocolate covered Hobnobs.