what is it like to live in stoke-on-trent?

when i moved to stoke-on-trent about 1 and a half year ago, i knew almost nothing about the midlands. the only thing i knew, was that there was a team called stoke city (which i am a big fan of) and that i had gotten a full-time job as a translator there. i was 22 years old, i knew nobody in my new hometown and i was pretty nervous.

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you’ll see this owl everywhere in stoke!

stoke-on-trent, also known as the potteries, is a city by the river trent in staffordshire. the place is has six smaller towns, called stoke, hanley, burslem, longton, tunstall and fenton. stoke-on-trent is greatly recognized for their pottery industry, a thing you understand that the average stokie is still quite proud of. i used to live up hanley, which has most of the shopping oppurtunities (including the shopping centre intu potteries). i used to work when these were open, so i didn’t really spend much time shopping, but i can definitely recommend this to visitors. this because the shopping centre has a great stoke city fc-shop!

as i mentioned earlier i was quite nervous when i arrived at the city of oatcakes, but luckily this passed quite fast. i got settled in hanley, i lived in a traditional english brick house and i also got in the routine of work really fast. working in stoke-on-trent i had varied days, because i did not have to speak a lot of english at work. i worked in a scandinavian team, which meant that i learned a lot more danish and swedish, than english on a daily basis. the company had a lot of different employees from different countries, like the netherlands, poland, greece, spain and a lot more. this definitely made the working experience a lot more fun, because you learned bits and pieces from all the other nationalities.

Skjermbilde 2015-03-06 kl. 22.34.43  the building on the left is where i used to live.

but in my spare time, i got to speak a lot of english. i really fancy the stoke-accent, i must say. especially their use of the word “duck” which originally came from the word duke. this is a common designation of affection towards both men and women. this word is mostly used at the end of a sentence. one of the sentences you hear most often is “ay up, duck?”, which can mean “whats happening?”, “how are you” and “hello”, it all depends on the way you say it. try it next time you meet a stokie. i think i’ve never met anyone from stoke who does not find it fun to make a foreigner speak the stoke-accent.

when i moved to stoke, i thought my english was quite good, but i had a hard time understanding what locals were saying to me in the shops, on the bus, at the pubs etc. but i believe that one can get used to almost anything, and now i almost feel like a “duck”.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.12.37britannia on a friendly match day.

i have heard that journalists often does research for their articles, so that is why i decided to do the same. i asked a lot former foreign colleagues what they liked about living in stoke, and i got a lot of great answers:

– it is really easy to get to stoke city matches, both home and away (because they have free transport to away games).

– if one is originally from a foreign country, stokies tend to find us exciting and it is easy to make friends.

– rent and travelling is really cheap. stoke-on-trent is in the middle of england, so you can travel anywhere cheap and fast. it is also a great place to groundhop!

– indian food is great in stoke (the best restaurant is called sangam)

– student-night in hanley on mondays, where the alcohol is almost free!

– oatcakes – a type of pancake, but with oats in it. you can buy these almost anywhere. they are served hot with some type of filling. this is often cheese and bacon. stokies love them so much, and get offended if you make fun of them.

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one of the greatest games last season, against arsenal.

i would really recommend living in stoke. it is a great place, with great people. if you do a quick google search, you will find out that not a lot of englishmen like stoke. the readers of the telegraph named it the 10th most ugly place in all of england. i have experienced that englishmen in general make fun of stoke-on-trent when i say that i’ve lived there, the funny thing is that over 50% of those people have never been or plan to go to stoke-on-trent ever. so their arguments are not really valid, i guess that stoke-on-trent is just a place with a bad reputation.

after reading this experience, i hope you will take the time to someday visit the home of the great potters!

PS: you might not know what these famous people are from stoke:

– lemmy kilmister (motörhead vocalist)

– slash (most known as the guns n’roses guitarist)

– robbie williams (known from take that)

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.45.35picture from the robbie williams exhibition at the local museum.

have you ever been to stoke-on-trent?

/fredrikke

tips on saving money before christmas

it is getting close to christmas, and you probably plan to spend tons of money on gifts for all your friends and family. but when you realize how little you actually have to spend, you need to come up with a great plan to fix this. here are some tips for saving money:

do you have spotify or another streaming program? well, end your subscription. the library has tons of CDs, all for you to borrow. i do this myself, i go to the library every day and borrow a certain amount of CDs which i save in my music library. this also is great for putting on your ipod. this is also a great way of going to the library and actually staying to read a bit, cause if i am at a library, i do feel that i have to study, at least for a while. and why stream music? streaming tends to never work on trains anyway.

do you collect anything? well, if it is valuable you could trim off your collection. everyone has duplicates of something, and they never use them, so go a head. SELL SELL SELL. i certainly know a few things i could sell out of my collections. luckily those things are at my parents.

do you shop at stores? sign up for their reward program. (a good idea is to create a separate e-mail address for this, because you’ll receive tons of spam.)

do you like making things? this is like the oldest trick in the book. people do enjoy homemade gifts, often more than new things. so start cooking, painting, drawing or whatever you’re the best at.

do you have a lot of stuff? this trick seems kind of rude, but i personally am a huge fan of it. do you have a book you’ve read or a movie you’ve seen that you don’t need anymore, give that away as a gift. people like to get things they know their friends/family likes.

do you like books? well, join this site, where you can swap books for free.

after you’ve done all of that, you’ll feel like this:
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i could give you more tips, like: make a shopping list and stick to it, repair your clothes instead of buying new ones and cut up your credit cards, but we all know that those things and they often don’t work.

how do you save money?

/fredrikke

red hot 100

a few days ago i got a book by post, made by the fantastic thomas knights. i have been loving his work since the beginning of the year when he started the red hot-project (you can see my post about going to the exhibit further down). i have bought the calendars and contributed fairly to the project, because it is so amazing. all my friends know that i love red heads, so they weren’t surprised when i bought this.

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thomas knights himself says this about the project:
guys with red hair don’t have the positive role models that girls do in our culture.  male with red hair is not seen as aspirational, culturally speaking, with very few leading men, heroes, action stars or heartthrobs played by men with red hair in hollywood or on our TV screens. also the more laddish culture of banter – that maybe is not so prevalent in female friendship circles – creates a fear of speaking out based on the concept of ‘it was just a joke’. while many people may argue calling someone a ‘ginga’ or any other ‘fun’ words for people with red hair is just witty banter, for some of those on the receiving end, the impact to their self esteem is felt much more deeply and can have lasting, detrimental effects at school and way into their adult life. red Hot is my response to this.

i really like his approach and i also LOVE the book. i’ve been reading and mostly looking at all the fantastic red haired men in this books for hours. i wish that i came up with this idea!

these are some of my favourites from the book:
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i think you all should read more about it at this website.

how do you feel about people with red hair and what is your favourite hair colour?

/fredrikke

first month impression of liverpool

i am always up for trying something new. so, earlier this year i decided to leave my job as a translator and move on to studying (again). i wanted to move to liverpool, because of the beautiful city and the fantastic accent. but i have experienced a lot of other things in my first month as a norwegian scouser.

here is my impression of liverpool after actually living there for a month:
– a lot of pregnant women smoke and drink (a lot).
– people react negatively to me paying with debit cards.
– men wearing mittens and t-shirts. (that doesn’t make ANY sense)
– girls putting on more make-up when they’re going to work out.
– people with tattoos on their neck or face only.
– teachers who only talk about their dogs.

i also have experienced that most of the people i have talked to, who come from liverpool have no sense of direction in their own city.

going out in liverpool is an experience on it’s own. you’ll probably see more nudity then if you were to stay home and watch a porno. men walk around with their shirts off (and their bums out). the girls walk with high heels which are as long as their skirts (which means very short skirts and VERY high heels). men wear a lot of make-up (almost as much as the girls). i have also experienced to see people of both sexes dance like nicki minaj does in her anaconda video.

the experiences has been mostly bad, but interesting, but the reason i continue to live liverpool, is this fantastic movie:

have you ever been to liverpool? what is your impression?

/fredrikke

ps: i also love scouse, since rupert grint did a scouser accent in the movie “into the white”.

what to watch: i wanna marry harry

i’ve always had a dream to marry prince harry. not because he is a prince, but because he is unbelievably handsome, and because we totally have soooo much in common, like that we both live in britain (or at least i think he does?). in these world cup times, you can never get enough of hot english men (like wayne rooney), so here is some qualities prince harry has:

– he can play the tambourine.
– he looks good in a uniform.
– he has red hair.
– he is interested in botany.
– he is the patron of 12 charities.
– he loves partying.

but, the reason i am mentioning all his amazing qualities is that some american people, and a guy called man called matt hicks (who does look much like prince harry), decided to make a show, where 12 girls are fooled into believing they’re dating prince harry. do the girls only want the fame and fortune? or would they want to date a red head? you have to watch the show to tell!

and to be fair, it is surprisingly entertaining.

/fredrikke

travelogue: millwall vs watford

after getting of the london public transport, i was ready for seeing a team and at a stadium i’ve heard much about. the den was the arena for:

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i came and saw a millwall bus, a millwall café and tons of old men wearing millwall gear from head to toe. you could see that these people really love millwall. when i came the stadium it felt really small and intimate, but also very big and grand. i found this really interesting and therefore this fast became one of my favourite stadiums i’ve visited (until now). i sat on the 5th row on the lower ground, and it almost felt like i was on the pitch when i was watching the players play football. i must say i find it a bit weird that their main sponsor is prostate cancer uk, if you just look at their t-shirts.

this was my view:
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what also made it quite interesting was that it was kind of a local match. the watford fans were ecstatic, and the millwall fans didn’t hesitate to answer back. the atmosphere was electric.

1. food wasn’t anything special. i’ve had to start bringing my own packed lunch, cause i really can not eat hot dogs at football games every day. but the menu here, mostly consisted of pies, so it didn’t bother me that much.
2. toilets were quite cold and a bit rough, but i’ve started to become happy if the toilets at football stadiums have either a toilet seat or toilet paper, so the standard is not that high in general.
3. admission was quite okay. i payed student admission, so i can not complain at all. i’ve done 1/3 of this project now and i love every stadium who has a student option.
4. alcohol was not expensive, but nobody seemed to care.
5. programme was quite fun, and i liked the interview with one of my new favourite players, nicky bailey, and i really liked the fact that is was so informative for children.

i was not ready to leave the den when the game was over:
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the game ended 2-2. a match report is available from here. it is definitely informative. when the day of amazing english football was over, i travelled to my friend, robert, in didcot, to enjoy an exotic night of meeting local people.

until the next game you can watch a former millwall supporter portrayed by lillyhammer:

/fredrikke

travelogue: qpr vs nottingham forest

after a four day just-being-at-work break, i had to wake up early this saturday for my train to london. this first game started at 12.22 and my train left from stoke-on-trent at about 9 in the morning. when i arrived at stoke train station i’ve never seen so many people wanting to board a train, in my entire life (or in stoke at least), so i became quite pessimistic about getting a seat on this train, but i managed and my good mood for the day was saved! i was actually going to see:

Skjermbilde 2014-04-28 kl. 00.10.19 vsSkjermbilde 2014-04-28 kl. 00.10.33

getting to loftus road was harder then i expected though, these three weeks i’ve been groundhopping i’ve experienced that london as a city are very bad on doing road signs to where stadiums are placed. or maybe i should just start planning how to get places from the train station? i travelled from shepards market, which i read online was supposed to be the easiest way of getting there, i think not!

i was excited for this game because:
1. i’ve heard that nottingham forest is the only team that have one the champions cup twice, and are not playing in their top division, so they should be good!
2. i find qpr to be a bit weird, since they’ve had four different home shirt colours, before they decided to stick to the blue.
3. also, i’ve heard very different things about loftus road, people either hate it or love it. so i was excited to see it with my own eyes.

when i finally arrived at the stadium i felt that it was a bit small and tight, but the atmosphere was okay and i definitely had a good time. i would think that anywhere you sit in this stadium you would feel close to the pitch, which is always a good thing!

a photo that shows my view at loftus road:

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at half time it was time for reviewing some of the facilities:
1. food was mostly pies, but the hot dogs looked really, really nice.
2. toilets were okay, but i thought they were a bit tiny.
3. admission prices were actually quite expensive, this ticket was 30 pounds, which i think is a lot!
4. alcohol was quite expensive, but easy to get.
5. i sadly didn’t get a programme. i don’t know what happened here, but i think i just forgot, cause i knew i had one more game to go to this day.

yossi benayoun was the man of the match against nottingham forest, and here you see why:

the game was exciting, there were three goals in the last six minutes (!) and you can read the match report here. it ended 5-2, but i had to move on, cause i was going to see another game and had to run to another stadium.

/fredrikke