Monday III Just general chit-chat here and the gentle moaning of someone on day release. I would like to know why people feel the need to walk out of a film even before the credits have started, especially when they block the screen as they go. How rude.

Already tea time. Decide to go for junk food. The Hard Rock CafĂ© is very close, but very expensive -- £9.50 for an ordinary look cheeseburger and fries. My appetite wetted by the idea of a burger I stroll around to the nearest Wetherspoons. This is a cathedral of a pub, cavernous spaces with many bars. It is full, and the no-smoking section has disappeared. I can’t breath. There are also a lot of large drunk men shouting at each other. Not very appetising.

I still need to eat but I’m conscious of the time. On my way out of ‘The Printworks’ I had noticed ‘Wagamama’. I had thought it was a fitness club, but on reflection I remembered there was a menu outside.

It’s a noodle bar. The prices are reasonable and in comparison to what I’d be paying elsewhere … The restaurant is in the basement, down two flights of stairs; the kind of stairs at the end of which the toilets in Macdonalds seem to be.

Enter the restaurant and I’m in a giant room resembling the dining halls found in universities. Like those there are about twenty long tables, left to right, into the far distance. At each table are four small benches, each large enough to seat two people. There is silence; a vague smell of spices.

I stroll to the other end of the hall and the waitress seats me at an empty table. Other diners are dotted around, whispering in conversation in reverence to the food. The table is set with an A3 paper place mat and a pair of ominous looking chopsticks. From the menu I select what appears to be the house speciality, ‘miso ramen’. The menu reads: “spiced miso soup with noodles and stir-fried chicken, carrots, leeks, garlic and bean sprouts, garnished with wakame, menma and sesame seeds”. Two minutes and three sips of water later a large bowl arrives filled with a dirty green liquid, many vegetables, large hunks of chicken and in the centre a massive pile of noodles. It’s as big as a fruit bowl and there is a large wooden ladle.

I gingerly pick up the chopsticks. I’ve never been able to handle these and almost ask for a fork, but I notice the other patrons are brandishing the wooden sticks with all the ease of a lightsaber. I decide to have a go.

Some not too far away is using the ladle to bring the food out of the liquid and then picking it up with the chopsticks from here. I try this, but my hand slips and I flick juice onto the table in front and onto my jumper. A waitress passes.

”So chopsticks?”

She breaks up a fresh pair and sits opposite.

”You hold it like a pen.” Her hands hold the sticks confidently. Sadly the way she hold a pen differs significantly from my monkey like attempts. Her sticks are rigid, mime still flop the as though they’re trying to actively avoid the bowl.

”Think I’ve got it…” I like and continue to struggle – but time is passing and I ultimately find myself raising my hand. “About that fork…”

Coming up in the busiest weekend in ages: The Commonwealth Games Volunteer Event (finally)

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