Tag Archives: Cassie Waters

The Guide to a Norwich Night out

By Cassie Waters.

When starting to explore the city it can be hard to know where to begin. The LCR has a lot going for it but as Freshers Week draws to an end the time has come to start exploring all Norwich has to offer. So as a seasoned Norwich drinker I have decided to offer up some help. Remember those Goosebumps books you read as a child? The ones which allow you to decide the plot, depending on what page you choose to turn to? This guide is kind of like that. Imagine you’re on a night out, at each step you will be asked a question about what you want to do and the kind of night you would like to have? From chilling in a bar to clubbing, no matter what your budget I should have you covered! So off you go on your drunken journey, have a drink on me. Continue reading The Guide to a Norwich Night out

What I’ve Learned In My Second Year

by Cassie Waters

This time last year, I was a ball of nervousness and nostalgia. I finished my coursework in early May and as an English Literature student I spent the exam period drinking Pimms whilst watching my friends revise, leaving me lots of time to think about the approaching end of a very short era. I wasn’t going to be a fresher anymore, I wasn’t going to live in halls anymore, and I wouldn’t be a few doors down from all my best friends. I tearfully moved out of Victory House convinced that my uni experience was practically over, that the next two years were going to be a long lonely drag spent in the library with a ten foot pile of books. Now it’s the end of second year and I’ve realised I couldn’t have been more wrong (the pile of books is only 6 foot). Despite first year’s reputation as the best year, second year has so much to offer and here are some of the things I’ve learnt from it.

Living in a house share:

There is a world of difference between living in halls and living in a house with housemates. Although living in halls presented its own challenges like sharing two microwaves with eleven other people in a kitchen where you might get tetanus if you walked barefoot, it doesn’t compare to facing the tiny practicalities of living in a house of four girls for the first time. In the first week we had nearly had: a fire (I still don’t know how I managed to start a fire in the microwave from a frozen bread roll), smashed the glass in the oven door (my housemate forgot to ‘break’ at the end of her sock slide’) and unknowingly turned the boiler off. We quickly realised we were incapable of living without UEA maintenance and the cleaner on standby, living in fear of when the light bulbs would give out and we’d actually have to change them. We had to wave a swift goodbye to egg fights and water fights in the kitchen – they aren’t as fun when you’re the one who has to clean it up. A new oven door, 4 sets of keys (just mine- thank God for £3.50 cutting at the market!), several almost fires, many cold showers and a traumatising experience of pulling 6 months of hair out of the downstairs shower later and we’re as close to domestic goddesses as we ever will be. I’ve even taken the role of chief spider catcher. Somebody has to do it.

The joys of a cleaning rota:

Back in halls we were constantly receiving passive aggressive notes and warnings off Helen, our frenemy cleaner. I moaned like everyone else each time we got a new letter telling us that there was another reason why our kitchen couldn’t be cleaned properly. How is it possible to have all surfaces cleared but no floors or windowsills obstructed! However, by the time September came around I was on my way to becoming the new Helen. Waking up after our first pre-drinks and seeing the state of the house, I realised that I really was bothered by mess. Without a cleaning rota I would have had to become the housemate that everyone hates, sending snappy messages to the group chat about the state of the bathrooms in the vain hope that someone else would clean it. I spent ages making the cleaning rota, colouring it in with my extensive Sharpie set. I proudly stuck it to fridge, relieved that a piece of paper could save me from my own passive aggression. On the whole it has worked, our kitchen surfaces could still use some TLC and our carpets sparkle from embedded glitter but in comparison to some of our friend’s houses, it’s a show room. Long live the cleaning rota.

Friendships change:

Towards the end of first year I had a very tight group of friends in my flat that I spent all my time with. We had the same sense of humour and we had a closeness that only comes from having lived with each other. I knew that I would miss being flatmates with half of our group but I was sure that we would see each other all the time and that our house would become a crash pad, a base for our group. Unfortunately, it was quickly apparent that this wasn’t going to be the case. After many ignored invites, flaky excuses and a general lack of effort we started to give up. Bigger workloads, distance from houses and new friendships have all contributed to why we don’t see some of our friends very often. It’s not all bad though. I didn’t know one of my housemates – Alice – very well at the beginning of the year. We had mutual friends which was how we were brought together. In her I have found the perfect companion, someone who loves tea nearly as much as I do and we spend most of our evenings sat next to each other in our armchairs laughing at memes or drinking Aldi wine in the garden. One of my old flatmates is a student paramedic and when she’s not on placement she’s often found at ours. She is the perfect honorary housemate who once got out of bed to pick me up from the LCR when I was several drinks past my peak. We’ve made lots of new friends, become closer to some who we didn’t know that well last year and I’m really lucky to have some of my best school friends at UEA with me (coincidence I promise!). My old flatmates are still really important friends to me, but I’ve accepted that you can’t bring everyone along with you.

 Being a real adult (sort of):

Being a first year you are sheltered from some of the realities of adult life. Like bills! Utilities are an almost impossible world to navigate, there are so many deals and how do you sort out splitting them between four people? My housemate is still scarred from the experience of setting up our bills over the summer. This year I also got a job working at an out of school club. It’s great, I get paid to play with Lego and make parachutes out of tissues and plastic cups. It also requires me to get up at 6.15am on Tuesdays which is not so fun. It’s forced me to learn how to balance my time around uni and because of it I spend less time lying on my bed flicking through Facebook when I should be reading. I’ve learnt how to better manage my money; my overdraft hasn’t been used in a long time (which is a good thing – it’s been left in a sorry state!). I still drink too many cocktails (they are the cause of my previous money problems), have too many late nights and occasionally ignore my reading list, but I’m well on my way to becoming the responsible adult I hope I will be one day.

As the end of second year rolls around, I don’t feel the same dread that I felt last year. I’m excited about the prospect of third year, even though it drags me one step closer to leaving UEA. Roll on more house chaos, dissertations and panic about the future. I think I’m ready.

photo courtesy of Tim Trad at https://unsplash.com/@timtrad

Surviving the Easter Holidays – a memoir

By Cassie Waters

This Easter it took roughly fifteen minutes of hugs and smiles and “it’s so nice to have you back” before my family descended into their usual madness. This time it was an argument over what take away we were getting. The war between fish and chips and Indian lasted twice as long as the happy homecoming. It left me questioning: how on earth was I going to survive four weeks in this madhouse?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. By the end of term I really look forward to coming home and seeing them and the dogs and the beautiful Suffolk landscape (although I’m still waiting to see one of these “mountain hills” Ed Sheeran’s been talking about). Before I came to UEA I was terrified of leaving home, I couldn’t imagine life away from my family but it didn’t take long before I grew to love my newfound independence. When I went home for the first time after starting uni I was amazed to discover that living in a flat of twelve with all the drama that entailed was more chill than my home with four of us.

 I come from a family of strong characters. We’re all opinionated, mick-takers who don’t shy away from confrontation. It must have been a shock for my sister’s boyfriend, a guy who’s so laid back he’s almost in a permanent state of limbo, to come round for the first time and be confronted by the constant winding up from my dad, my mum insisting on him having third helpings of tea and my sister and I shouting over the top of each other to be heard. I spent all of first year entertaining my flat with stories about my family like how my aunt believes in fairies and lives in a spiritual commune in Brazil or our Christmas tradition of everyone buying someone a joke present to wear. Meaning we have a vast array of awful family photos where my aunts are wearing thongs made out of sweets, my dad’s wearing a mullet wig and a medallion and, even more horrifyingly, my uncle has a woollen willy warmer. The best anecdote is the time my mum pretended to be dead as a prank on my dad. That’s a story for another day.

Returning to your family after a semester of only having to answer to yourself is always going to be a challenge. During the first week I was irritated by the questioning about my love life (it’s like being Bridget Jones, only they aren’t yet concerned about my fertility), my future career plans (non- existent) and my driving skills (my parents seemingly believe that 3 months without driving means I’m only capable of driving after long lectures. Yes Mum, I will ring the AA if I break down. Yes Mum, I will take photos if I crash). It’s a week of lots of petty arguments and long dog walks to get away from it all. After that I just embrace the different way of living because it won’t be long before I’m sat in the UEA library procrastinating and missing it all.  After all it is a month of having meals made for me, my washing done and the wonders of Sky TV.

Image courtesy of I’m Priscilla at https://unsplash.com/@artographybyp

Grosvenor Fish Bar Review

By Cassie Waters

In my last article I wrote about how my friends are cocktail snobs. I happen to be a chip snob. Sadly, there are very few benefits of being a chip snob, it’s not glamorous, you can’t precociously discuss it with people and it won’t bring you much kudos. But it does mean I can spot a good chip when I try one. I have eaten my way around the fish and chip shops of Norwich and I can safely say that Grosvenor’s does an excellent chip.

 Grosvenor’s has been around for a long time but it’s only more recently that it’s become the unique chip shop it is now. It describes itself as a “fish and chip grotto”, which puts me in mind of winter and elves. I would instead describe the low ceilings, the tunnelling walkways and corrugated iron walls of the underground seating area as being like a cave or secret bunker, a place to hide and stuff yourself with chips and batter until it’s safe to come out.  Upstairs where you are served the atmosphere is busy and cheerful and the staff make sure you’re never waiting too long, no matter how many customers there are crammed into that small space. If you fancy having a drink with your fish and chips you can take them across the road to The Birdcage and sit in there.

I am usually suspicious of fish and chip shops that look too nice as my dad always says that it means they don’t try as hard with the food, but this is absolutely not the case with Grosvenor’s, the food is equally as good as the decor. The queue spilling out onto the street is a permanent fixture! The chips aren’t soggy or overly greasy, nor are they too dry. Their fish is delicious – not a bone in sight! And the batter is perfectly crispy, I could eat it on its own (and I do, thanks to a friend who just prefers the fish!). They don’t just do traditional fish and chips, their menu extends to wraps such and “Bass with Sass”, a sea bass fillet wrap with lettuce and spicy mango salsa, a favourite amongst my friends and the cholesterol busting “B.B.L.T”, a treacle and beer cured crispy battered bacon in a roll.

So that’s how Grosvenor’s has worked its way into one of our favourite places to eat and up near the top of my expertly compiled best chips list. Go and treat yourself.

Image From Grosvenor Fish Bar’s Twitter Page

Girl on the Train Review

By Cassie Waters

As someone who read Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train with a fascinated horror that meant I was glued to my copy for several days, I was sure that seeing the film would go one of two ways. It would either do the book complete justice and reaffirm all that I loved about it, or I would hate it, horrified by the changes made to turn it into a screenplay or by actors that I felt didn’t fit the part. However the reality was much more flat. I felt no joy or outrage at the adaptation. The film seemed to wilt, falling under the pressure of the expectations of an audience of readers. The film seemed to coast throughout, never reaching its potential. The only time I gripped my seat was at a gory moment at the end, more my own squeamishness than any tension achieved by the film.

However, despite the generally underwhelming nature of Girl on the Train, a shining light throughout the film was Emily Blunt as the alcoholic protagonist Rachel, a woman destroyed by her divorce from her husband and obsessed by the seemingly perfect life of a woman who lives near her former house. Her chapped lips, vacant eyes and slurred speech interspersed with outbreaks of pure rage at her situation made her appear both pitiable and potentially threatening. Through the shaking camera lens the audience is forced to confront what it is like to be in a permanent state of being drunk or hungover and the effect is haunting. Emily Blunt’s raw, unglamorous believability contrasted with Haley Bennett’s Megan, the woman at the heart of Rachel’s fantasies of the perfect life, who I felt came across as two dimensional and towards whom I felt no sympathy. Rebecca Ferguson, as the other woman turned wife of Rachel’s ex husband, was similarly disappointing. She didn’t quite manage to pull off the conflicting nature of a character who was both smug and self satisfied and deeply insecure. She could not compete with the on screen presence of Emily Blunt

Ultimately, the film relies heavily on the question of what happened that day when Megan went missing to interest the viewer. For those like me who have already read the book and know what will happen, the film does not do enough to make you invested in the story all over again, always falling short of the heights it could achieve, despite the brilliance of Emily Blunt. And if that isn’t enough to express the slowness of Girl on the Train, the fact my housemate fell asleep during it sums it up.

Image from The Guardian