Special Post #36: Accommodation, Part 13 – Come In

A new chapter in my life started last week. I moved in to my new house 10 minutes walk from my old house. Come in and take a look around…

My room is on the ground floor with a big window looking out over the street. My room is much bigger than last year, it has a double bed (!) and a fireplace (!!). I’d put up some pictures, but it looks like a tip since I haven’t fully unpacked yet. Part of making the room a home has been putting up posters and a new cork wall above the fireplace.

The cork wall is about 1m by 1m and I’m planning on filling it with lots of pictures, ticket stubs, receipts and quotes from the last two years. I owe this idea to Sophie Dean :) Much like I did for my summer last year, but on a bigger scale. I’m really looking forward to creating it and having something to affirm my identity and all the good times I’ve had at university the last two years :)

My room shares a wall with the lounge which has a couple of sofas and a TV. Unlike last year in ZION, I can imagine spending a lot of my time in the lounge this year because it’s so cosy and used by everyone.

At the back of the house is the kitchen. It’s smaller than last year, but then it could hardly have been bigger. All the usual things you’d find are in there, even the kitchen sink :P

Upstairs is 3 bedrooms and the bathroom, and on the top floor is the largest room with an en-suite.

This year I’m living with 4 girls: Frankie, Claire, Sophie and Tamsin. Frankie studies Maths, Claire and Sophie study English and Tamsin studies Politics.

I know Frankie and Claire from MAD TV because they both present stories and have positions on the new committee. Claire is actually the new President of MAD TV next year and Frankie is the Treasurer, so I’m going to be very much in the loop as to what’s happening. I’m really excited to be in a position to join in with MAD TV, not as much as last year, but definitely in a helpful capacity.

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Left to right: Claire, me, Frankie (mar ‘10)

Sophie Jones and I are good friends from first year, I can’t exactly remember how we met, but she’s a good friend and a great laugh to be around. She came on the recent boat trip at Easter and was the source of much amusement :D

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Sophie winding a paddle on the boat trip (mar ‘10)

Tamsin is someone I didn’t really know until I moved in last week. She’s studying Politics and about to go into her final year, as are the other girls. We’ve got on really well in the last few days and seem to have a similar sense of humour.

I’m really looking forward to this year, it has the potential to be a completely different experience to university so far, but still really interesting and fun.

I’m the only one in the house going on placement, while the girls are going to be in their final year. I’m not sure how that’s going to affect things in the house, but we’re all going to be pretty busy so I can’t see it being a problem.

Talking about placement, I have my first day tomorrow! I know! Kept that one quiet didn’t I :P So you can guess what tomorrow’s post is going to be about. See you then :D

The End of Year 2: Part 7 – Bumble B Tuna

The last post in the series covering the modicum of events that hatched in the week after my last exam.

After the moral maze of Wednesday and Thursday that ended in me changing my decision on who to live with for the next 12 months, all my energy had been spent. The rest of the week comprised of me moving out of ZION and into 63 (as it shall now be known). With the help of Josh and his dad’s horse trailer, all my things (a lot as it turns out) moved 2 minutes down the road to my new home.

The rest of the time was a combination of tidying ZION before we all left, and playing with Bumble B Tuna. Bumble B Tuna is the name given to a cat that had taken to coming into the house and keeping us company on a daily basis:

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Josh left the house on Thursday, Will on Friday and Viv on Saturday. On Sunday morning Anne left with her dad to travel back to Guernsey, and I was left all alone :(

I packed up the last of my things and sat in the garden for the last time… Using a Tesco shopping trolley to carry the last of the food in the freezer, I walked to 63. This was now my new home and my next new start.

Tomorrow is another accommodation post, since there’s a lot of that at the moment. I’ll introduce you to the house, my housemates and tell you how this year is going to be another memory masterpiece that’s just waiting to be painted :)

Special Post #35: Accommodation, Part 12 – The End of Year 2: Part 6 – A Change of Plan

Another post in the on-going series about all things to do with where I lay my head at night. It’s also part 6 in the almost-over-series about the week following my last second year exam, which was also coincidentally my last week in my first ever house, and the first few days in my second house!

In a post a couple of months ago I talked about my plans for living on my placement year. It was a hard decision to live in Guildford, but Basingstoke is only an hour’s commute away and getting to spend another year close to all my friends at university had to be done.

Josh had been asked by his best friend, Chris Nash, to live with him next year. Together with Chris Nash’s housemate Chris Ashton and me, we had enough people to get a house. Ashton and Nash looked at houses and eventually found one they liked. Josh and I looked around and agreed to get it. It was really exciting to know that I had a house with Josh next year, but even better given how great the house was!

Since then we’ve got together once as a house to meet the estate agent and pay the holding deposit for the house.

The tenancy for the house didn’t start until the middle of August, so between the end of June and mid-August I had nowhere to live. At first I was going to go home for 6 weeks and commute to Basingstoke from London, but then a few of my friends told me that they had a spare room I could use…

Frankie and Claire from MAD TV had a room in their house that they hadn’t found a housemate for yet. They needed a 5th housemate for the whole year and I was their first choice. At first I declined living with them for the whole year because I was already planning on living with Josh, but I told them I could live there for 6 weeks over summer. This made the commute a lot easier, and meant being in Guildford for Guilfest, Phil’s graduation and other things. It was a done deal, all they needed to do was find someone to take the other 11 months and I could pay them back the months rent.

The reason I declined to live there for the whole year at first was because I didn’t want to let Chris and Josh down by backing out of the house deal now. The Thorpe Park trip last week was meant to be a time to meet Chris and Chris and find out more about the people I was going to live with for a year. In the end, Chris Ashton had to cancel and Chris Nash spent the whole day with Josh and Jess and not everyone else. That was the chance I had to get to know my future housemates before living with them. That evening I did a lot of thinking.

Since my other friends still hadn’t found a 5th housemate, and I still hadn’t signed a contract for the house, I was in a position to make a decision. Do I stick to my guns and live with Josh in a great house, but possibly not get on with Chris and Chris? Or do I live with Frankie and Claire, who I know I get on with? There were other factors that went into the decision that aren’t fair to go into on a public blog, but it’s fair to say it wasn’t easy, at all.

A month prior I had to make the same decision when Claire and Frankie asked me for the first time. Since then I’d kind of been regretting saying no, but at the same time knew it was the only choice without a lot of hassle which I couldn’t deal with on top of my exams. But a month later, with a fresh head and new information, I changed my mind.

I chose to do what I wanted to do rather than what I had to do to please other people. I told Josh the following day and he understood that I’d been thinking about it for a while.

If you’ve managed to follow all of that then well done, it was a spaghetti of a situation and I’m still untangling the ends. but the long and the short of it is that I’m living with a different set of people next year in a different house. I’ll write a post very soon about them all and the house, but tomorrow is another post about my last week in Zion :) So much happening…. phew!

Special Post #34: Accommodation, Part 11 – The End of Year 2: Part 5 – Goodbye Zion

This is part of the on-going series about home sweet homes. It is also Part 5 of the also on-going-but-not-for-much-longer series about the rollercoaster of events that took place after my last exam in year two and in my last week living in my first ever house!

For the last year I have been living in a 5-bedroom house about 20 minutes walk from campus. We dubbed it ZION.

Zion was, and will forever be, my first house. It’s been a fantastic experience, and even better given how good our landlord has been with any problems we’ve had.

A top tip I’d give to anyone looking at sharing a house ever is to get a joint account. We used it to pay rent and bills. Just by putting an extra £30 in each every month meant we could easily pay bills without having to chase people up about money every month. However, save your sanity and avoid Natwest at all costs!

I’d also suggest anyone to get a rota for cleaning. We didn’t and it definitely showed. Over time little jobs like the washing up become mammoth tasks, but if everyone had done a little bit every week then it may have worked out a lot better for everyone.

You learn so much about people when you live with them. I didn’t really know Anne, Will or Viv before living with them this year, yet I can’t imagine it without them. Looking back now, I’ve only ever known them as housemates, potential housemates or otherwise, and it’s going to be strange going forward staying in touch as just friends. But I have this year and Zion to thank for introducing us (and Josh of course :P). I know that we will all stay friends for life :)

Josh, on the other hand, was my best friend last year, so I already knew his as a friend before we decided to live together. But even then, this year has only strengthened our friendship. I had my doubts that being on the same course and living in the same house would be overkill, but it was quite the opposite. It’s been so helpful with coursework and revision that I literally don’t know how I’d have coped half the time if Josh wasn’t only a walls width away. Especially in the year after Christmas when we’ve been in the same lab group and doing lots of work together.

As this great year comes to a close, I can’t help but think how unique this experience was. It couldn’t have been better, I wouldn’t change a thing and I couldn’t have wished for better housemates. I’ll miss tickle time, Anne laughing at nothing, Will’s strange eating habits (how many times I watched as he cooked fish finger sandwiches I don’t know), Josh’s wall knocking and singing in the kitchen and Viv’s weird noises. Forever Zionites.

The next part in the accommodation series, and the End of Year 2 series, is about my new house and housemates and why I’m no longer living with Josh next year…