Joseph Joseph Nest 9+

Though not much of a cook, Isabella hadn’t been able to walk past the Joseph Joseph Nest 9+ set which sat, like a technicolour matryoshka doll, in the window of the little independent kitchen shop on Islington High Street. It was only in the soupy light of her fresher room at Mansfield that she realised just how conspicuously tasteful the matte packaging was, the company logo rendered with a discrete lack of serifs. Her parents, unwrapping mugs from protective layers of The Guardian, didn’t notice her embarrassment.

The immaculate nest had remained confined to her room for the first few weeks of Michaelmas, used in emergencies when the smallest microwave-safe bowl was the only vessel within reach of her bed. On Thursday mornings, after Burning Down the House, she’d shovel Rude Health granola, milkless and dry, from this bowl, which, despite its ergonomic slip-free design, still managed to spill the cereal everywhere. But gradually, one smooth silicon bowl at a time, just as she had yielded to the fairy lights she had originally deemed ‘basic’, Isabella gave in, and brought the Joseph Joseph Nest 9+ set to the staircase kitchen.

Crisis came in 7th Week, when the colander component of the nesting set had not been sighted in over a fortnight. Though Isabella had encouraged the rest of her staircase to borrow any of her kitchen items, now she regretted her self-consciously cavalier attitude. Her increasingly urgent messages to the staircase Whatsapp group were not attracting the sympathetic response she had expected; no-one seemed to think the loss of one colander so significant. For the first time since freshers’ week, “Bella” cried outside the staircase loo. She explained to Holly, who lived next door, that she was just hormonal. Holly, a cheerful Mancunian biologist, comforted her while feeling pleased that this confession was a sign that her friendship with her neighbour was making significant progress. Through her frustrated tears, Isabella recognized the futility of her position. If she protested that the incomplete nesting set, a collector’s item, was now valueless, it was only a matter of time before her new friends found out she lived in Highgate, instead of Archway, as she’d told them. Isabella sighed. This never would have happened if she’d applied to Trinity.

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