Hate.Hate.Hate.Hate—and I totally did a copy-paste of the word so I wouldn’t have to write it three more times.* If you don’t know what sight-reading is, you are either a very lucky rational being, or you are not a musician. Sight-reading is simply the act of reading sheet music—you know, an older medium than Spotify?**

Two years of my life were dedicated to such abhorrent act. My first two years in university were filled with despair when another Keyboard Skills tutorial was about to start. I learned to hate my tutor without a sensible reason when he would say “you have to practice every day for 20 minutes”, I DID PRACTICE EVERY DAY FOR 20 MINUTES. I seriously did. But it wasn’t enough…

I began to think that because I was a mature student and thus older than my peers, I wasn’t able to grasp such an ability as quickly. Maybe that was it. Or maybe it wasn’t, I don’t effing know! What I know is that I failed all my KS exams and had to resit them.

But the point of this post is not the drama. In fact, it is the fact that I will have to sight-read on a daily basis if I want to teach in higher education – that’s a given. Now…give me one more year, one more summer, and I will practice so much that I will sight-read…no, I won’t. It’s hard af.

*but then spent 19 words explaining it.
**hashtag: never will be a sponsor. Do people write “hashtag” in prose? With me being a musician and all, I feel that it should be a “sharp”.

A few months ago, after learning that I couldn’t sell Mitra,* I came across this brilliant idea: to spend less money at the garage, I’ll do my own car maintenance!** What a brilliant idea, my brain had thought. I’ve always liked to do practical things like fixing, constructing, etc., and now I shall be covered in oil, dust and expecting a few bruises. Brilliant. But then…I didn’t. I got lazy.

*you should already know who Mitra is. If not, you’ll find more on older posts.
**now, if you did not know who Mitra was, this phrase gave it away, didn’t it? Blast, now you won’t read other posts. Oh well.

Naps. I love naps. They can be short and sweet, but also long, too long, and self-deprecating. But this post isn’t about the act of napping itself but what comes after it. This post is perhaps an ode to the drowsiness, to the sore eyes, to the dry mouth, and to the headache. The same eyes and head that wanted a bit of a rest are now playing revenge? Why? Yes, I know, sleep cycles, REMs and the like. But come on! I just wanted to feel refreshed like a lettuce,* and get my day moving! Sometimes I hate naps.

*when the Portuguese wake up from a nap feeling refreshed, they say “I feel as fresh as a lettuce.” The things you learn on this pointless blog.

Seagulls. They’re cute. The way they step on the dirt, topi-topi,* simulating rain drops for the worms to pop out. Cute. But I used to hate them. HATE them with a passion. I would wash my car (Mitra, the Mini**) and the motherfraking*** seagulls would poop my car into a gooey white mountain.

After a few attempts at trying to keep Mitra with its glorious electric blue, I noticed breadcrumbs. BREADCRUMBS. Breadcrumbs all over my car, on a few other cars, on the road and on the pavement.

It was my neighbour. She throws bread out of her window to feed the seagulls. Now I’m parking somewhere else.

*according to someone special, “topi-topi” is a Russian onomatopoeic way of describing the way toddlers walk. Are you picturing it? Yeah, cute topi-topi.
**Check post further down about Mitra

Coffee is a way of life. Being Portuguese, I think that the act of drinking coffee is as credible as any religion. Recently I decided to quit caffeine for good. I know, #sadface. At the start, it was terrible to not feel that sweetly sour taste of coffee in the morning, afternoon and sometimes evening. In case you’re wanting to do the same, may I gently remind you of decaf coffee? It works, believe me. For the first few days, the lack of caffeine was dire but tolerable. Now I never feel the need for that extra boost. I sleep when I am meant to be asleep and I wake up with birds singing—granted these birds are my partner’s alarm clock, it still counts as a pleasant thing.

If you are on the same journey and need a friend, buy a french press and a bag of decaf. Taste that wonderful taste of coffee beans without the kick, and thank me later.

I have a blue Mini. I bought this blue Mini on a whim. It’s very much a cancer in my life at this point—his name is Mitra.* Mitra was born in 2005 and I paid £2500 for him. Since then, I have paid another ~£3000 in many fixings, replacements and assorted tweaking. I want Mitra out of my life. I tried selling Mitra but, because it’s still on finance, I can’t.

So now, Mitra is in the rain, with an expired MOT, insurance due to expire next month, waiting for a lock-up garage so I can stop paying its road tax. Hopefully, I will finish paying Mitra’s loan in December and sell it or scrap it for good.

This is a lesson to be learned today. Never buy a car without a thorough inspection. Never buy a car when you actually don’t need it. And finally, never buy a car. You have legs. But maybe you don’t—in which case, I don’t know what to say.

*Mitra is the Portuguese equivalent of the British “NED”. You know what a NED is, right?

So, after spending a considerable amount of time budgeting my summer (the joys of the non-existent loan payments)* and researching for other jobs I could take on during this downtime, I came across a website that described a government fund called the Universal Credit. Because the application was partly online and thus my behind could stay indoors, I decided to start an application. Everything went smoothly—yes, I’m self-employed, being a musician, what else could I be? Yes, I’ve been in this country long enough to know not to argue about tea. Yes, I’m a full-time university student… This last statement is the most important one—I’m currently a university student applying for the Universal Credit. Much later I found that, to be eligible for this credit, yes, you can be a student, but a further education student. As soon as you go to university, this being “your choice” to be in terrible debt, you will no longer be eligible for this credit.

My existent anger and the reasoning behind this post is not because I didn’t get the credit in the end. No, it’s not because I had to walk to the Job Centre because I can no longer afford bus tickets. It’s not because I had to dig for papers from 6 years ago to prove that I was working, remembering accurate dates, and even bringing a copy of my flight tickets from 2012. No, no, no. None of that. My anger started at the third and last interview, when the sweetest working lady said “Look, I had a look at your claim, and… with you being a university student, this claim is going to be rejected. In fact, it is already showing signs of rejection from you last interview.” Wait, showing signs of rejection from my last interview? The 2-hour interview where I had to trace back all the farts I gave at work? The one that started with the question “Are you in university?” and “Oh yes? Can I see your certificate of matriculation?” and finally, “Let me go and scan this for you”. So why am I in this interview? The sweet lady replies with another question “Well, do you have any children?”—No… “Do you have a disability?”—No…and, I’ve answered these questions in the online application. “Then, I’m very sorry,” the sweetest lady replies, “I am not sure myself as to why you’re here today.”

To wrap things up because this post is getting long, I’ve spent 4 hours proving many things of my life to get a simple explanation of why I won’t get anything in return. If you’re applying for the UC, I certainly do not wish you anything like this. To be clearer—if you have children or a disability while in higher education, you can apply to the UC.

*in Scotland you can apply for a loan that is paid monthly during term time.

Funny thing, blogging. It can be as impersonal as you want. You can hide the fact that you have a blog and never talk about it to anyone. Perhaps that’s the purpose of this blog. I just want some things to be in the written form. Being a music degree student I’ve always felt the need to write some stuff down, stuff I’ve learned and find interesting or even just plain meh-material. That’s why the subtitle of this blog is vague—it’s just like my brain on Wednesdays. Hope you’ll enjoy whatever this is—that is, if you ever come around.