My super moans

PET HATE: No-choice tasting menus.

PET HATE: No-choice tasting menus.

Good morning, class. No talking at the back, please. I’d like to begin with another few moans.

I did a straw poll among my friends (only the finest of scientific and journalistic methods for this column, folks) about their biggest gripes. Top of the list came no-choice tasting menus – with dishes as local and seasonal as a polar bear in a bikini. This is currently my pet hate.

And then there’s estate agent jargon, a language you never learned at school. Take this:

‘Charming three bedroom with garden and period features’ that turns out to be a total wreck with one bedroom qualifying only because you can just about squeeze a single bed into it. Thanks to the use of fisheye lens photography to make the rooms look HUGE.

The estate agent? An18-year-old in a cheap, badly-fitted suit who knows absolutely nothing. And the cost? “Price on application to We will append the appropriate number of zeros when we reply to you.”

Basically, buying a house in the UK is like internet dating. The pictures are selling you Nicole Kidman or Ben Affleck but when you get there it’s Nurse Ratched or Billy Bunter waiting for you… Next scandal, please! 

Nora Johnson’s critically acclaimed psychological crime thrillers (www.nora-john all available online. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity. Email:

Nora Johnson’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.