The sound of my voice: The college dinner lady

“I’d like to leave Oxford. It’s a beautiful city, but soulless too”

We continue our feature on finding Oxford’s hidden voices

I worked it out the other day. I’ve served breakfast, lunch and dinner to over a thousand people in the ten years that I’ve been working here. That’s a fair few. But I’m probably the ideal sort of person for this interview, because your’e right, no one really knows us. We see you every day, say hello and swap bits of chit-chat – but really we don’t know each other from Adam.

Some of the younger staff who work here can be a little bit sulky sometimes with the students. That’s silly, because people are only as nice to you as you are to them.

I wouldn’t say I love my job. It can be pretty boring just slopping lumps of mash onto plates. Fish days are the worst because I can’t stand the stuff. I’d never eat it at home and even the smell makes me feel ill. I’m probably not in the right profession!

I’m not that young anymore and I’ve got friends who work in offices with big salaries, and it makes me wonder why I’m still standing behind a counter in a hairnet every day.

It definitely makes me wish I’d worked harder at school, or at least not been so happy to take the easy route. I will leave here one day though, and I’d like to leave Oxford. It’s a beautiful city, but soulless too.

You probably want me to give you a headline-grabbing quote, “Dinner lady slates students!”, but the truth is you’re a pretty nice bunch on the whole. Even mornings when I can see you’ve drunk until you were sick the night before, people will nearly always remember to say thank you – and that’s all I can ask for really.

Week 1 / Week 2