Category Archives: University Accommodation

Special Post #49: Accommodation Series #19: Mind The Gap

and they all lived happily ever after. Except Charles who had one small problem to contend with…

#11: Mind The Gap

I have to move our of my current house on the 30th June, but the contract doesn’t start in Imhotep until the 15th July. So I’m homeless for 2 weeks. Luckily, my first port of call was just the ticket.

Anne and Viv, who I lived with last year, are living together in a posh apartment in Guildford, about 20 minutes walk from my current house. I asked them if I could be so cheeky as to pinch a spot on their floor for 2 weeks and they did one better. Since Anne was actually not going to be in Guildford at all for those weeks, I could stay in her room! There is a little bit of you scratch my back here since they both lived with me for a week in my current house while they found somewhere to live… So it’s a little like returning the favour :)

Anne & Viv

So the stage is set. All that worry’s me now is the amount of time I might be in Switzerland in the coming weeks while I’m trying to move all my things around and live in several places. There’s also several weekend trips that all add to the kerfuffle, including a long weekend in Scotland, if nothing else the next 6 weeks of my life are going to be eventful!

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Special Post #48: Accommodation Series #18: Imhotep Is Born

part five of the nearly completed accommodation mini-series about my trials and tribulations to find a house for final year…

#9: Imhotep Is Born

We now have 6 people, a house and a contract. Operation house-for-final-year was nearing completion. The last piece of the puzzle for me was to meet the one housemate I didn’t know… Simon.

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Simon, like Katherine and Liz, is a Mathematician going into his final year of study. He seems like a really nice guy and I finally got to meet him just a week after the deposit gubbins when it was Liz’s turn to get a year older.

We all met at a local pub and ended up having a really good evening. if Katherine had been there we’d have had a full house, but it was still a great chance to chill out as a collective for the first time.

liz

There’s just one small detail left in order to call the mission accomplished: a name. Every good house needs a name. Being a house of geeks, which is what we essentially are, we all love a little show called Look Around You. Produced by the BBC last decade, it’s a spoof educational series that mocks those videos you used to watch in school when you had a substitute teacher. If you haven’t watched any, and you like Monty Python, Blackadder, or Brass Eye, then I highly recommend it.

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Our favourite episode is Maths. And since half the house are studying maths next year, it seems very appropriate. Skip to 2:46 if you just want the reference, but our new house name is IMHOTEP.

#10: Boat Bondage

To get to know everyone a bit better, and get a taster of how easy it was for us to live together, I suggested we go on a boat trip. And that’s exactly what we did at the start of April. A week-long excursion from Swiss life to live up the Birmingham countryside… It seems a bit backwards to take a holiday from Switzerland in Birmingham, but I had a great time!

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We all got on like a house on fire, so to speak. It’s really made me look forward to living with them all! But the trip made me realise that something like that is what was missing from my house this year. I just turned up one day and started living there. No big hello, no trips, no parties… And that’s maybe why our house has never felt, to me, like a home. We all go off and do our own thing, rarely around enough to wear the carpets down. While this year has been great, I’m now itching to move in with my new housemates.

Imhotep

Coming soon “Mind The Gap”

Special Post #47: Accommodation Series #17: Don’t Panic

part four of the very long awaited (and highly anticipated) blog post telling the remarkable tale of one man’s search for Final Year university accommodation…

#8: Don’t Panic

So, quite excited with the girls find, we all convened over breakfast to discuss our next move. Breakfast being several varieties of cake of course… We all loved the house, the rooms were big and there’s bucket loads of communal space. We spent a bit of time looking at who’d have each room (since there was a much bigger room and a small room to sort out) before calling the landlord and tell him we were interested.

For a few days it was quite exciting to think I had a house, and then it came time to pay the deposit. Sadly, it also came time for one of the girls to back out…

Charlotte had been unsure of where she was going to live next year, and paying a deposit on a house she wasn’t sure she wanted did seem a bit crazy. So she left the group and left us with a bit of a situation: we still had a deposit to pay to secure the house…

Who you gonna call? The one person I knew who needed a room: Julie of course!

julie's face

I still felt bad about abandoning Julie just days after Soph did the same thing to both of us (yep, I’m still rubbing that wound :p), so this was the perfect chance to help her out! The room we had going was the smallest, whose rent we’d reduced to make it fairer. But Julie, being the dancer that she is, didn’t really fancy a smaller room all that much… and the communal space in the house is apparently no place to be practicing your ballet moves (although I did mention I had no problems with scantily-dressed girls in the living room). So Julie gracefully declined. But that still left us with a space to fill…

“Will received a text from Charlotte early in the day, and so made plans to head into Guildford to talk with Charlotte face-to-face, and talk with his remaining IMHOTEPians about a plan of action. When he arrived at Guildford station (from Chobham) he happened to see a guy called Simon having a cuppa tea whilst waiting for his train. Katherine and Liz know Simon from their course (as he is a fellow Mathematician). A more superstitious man would cite fate for this most chance of meetings… So Will put forward the situation to Simon in about 3 minutes flat, with a promise to contact him if Charlotte was really backing out…” (Will’s personal account)

and the rest, as they say, is history. 72 hours later the deed was done and the deposit was paid. Imhotep, was born…

coming soon: part nine “Imhotep Is Born”

Special Post #46: Accommodation Series #16: Proposition 101

part three of the longest awaited post in the history of this blog. So what are we waiting for, let’s do it…

#6: Proposition 101

They say what goes around comes around… Well several weeks after helping Katherine and her housemates pair up with Mike Frazer (of Mike Frazer fame), I got a phone call…

Mike Frazer, before he was famous

Will (one of my old housemates from last year) called me up and asked what my plans were for final year housing. I explained to him about Julie and how it wasn’t exactly going to plan. Will on the other hand had paired up with Katherine and Mike, making their cohort a nice round 5, which is a good number for a student house in Guildford, hence why my last 2 houses have had 5 people. But they had a problem, Katherine and her housemates (who will be given names I promise) had been looking at a lot of 6 person student houses and wondered if I would join them…

5 people

Since this was only a week after Sophie had dropped out of our plans it was hard for me to decide to leave Julie too, since what kind of friend would I be kicking her while she’s down. But after a looooooong conversation with Julie, she understood that it made sense and she’d just have to find another house to live with.

unsure Julie

So I called Will back up and signed myself in to the group:

Katherine – Mathematician, does Madtv
Charlotte – ex-mathematician, now a waitress
Liz – Mathematician, ginger :p
Mike – Civil engineer, founder of Madtv
Will – Chemist, ex-housemate, also ginger
And Me – Electronic engineer, does Madtv, not ginger

All this happened the weekend back in January that i went to Cardiff, and the following weekend was our first house viewing!

#7: If the hat fits…

Ok, so i say it was our first viewing, technically the girls had looked at a few others already. But this was the first one we all looked at together.

I had my reservations right away when I found out how far away from uni it was, but I persevered. Unlike other 6-bedroom houses, this house had a very reasonably sized living room, and dining room for that matter. A modern kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a veranda… A VERANDA! We have to get this house!! So we did.

coming soon: part 8 “Don’t panic”

Special Post #45: Accommodation Series #15: The Hall Theorem

part two of the longest awaited post in the history of this blog. In this post I start the story in the same way any good teacher would, with the theory.

#3: Pizza & Planning

Sophie, Julie and I had been talking about getting a house together for a while, but it was awkward to organise house viewings when none of us lived in Guildford (ok, technically I do, but it’s kind of become my second home to Switzerland in the last 7 months).

We organised a few international Skype chats to talk about places we’d like to live, which usually involved me getting a takeaway from the local pizzeria (no shortage of choice!) but it was all a bit slow moving…

#4: Meanwhile… 2 Forces Meet

While this was all happening, a couple of my other friends were getting a house group together. Katherine (who I know from MADTV) and her 2 housemates needed another person (or 2) and came to me. Since I had already paired up with Julie and Soph at the time, I put them in touch with Mike Frazer (also of MADTV fame).

Mike Frazer, of Mike Frazer fame

^ Mike Fazer, also called: the lazer, eyebrows, “that man off the telly” and many more…

#5: The Wheely Bin

Back with Sophie and Julie, we were still struggling to agree on houses, and decided that we’d really need a 4th person for this whole thing to work. So we started looking for a 4th person… to no avail. We were alll a bit stuck with what to do, then Sophie made the decision for us.

Because she is on an un-paid placement, she decided that since living on campus would be the cheaper option in long run, that she’d settle for that. So she essentially abandoned Julie and I to fend for ourselves! (I’m going to make as big a deal out of this as I can because I know Sophie reads this blog :P) She screwed us both over for her own selfish gain! Ok, I’m only joking… It all works out in the end, just keep reading.

Julie and I briefly toyed with the idea of finding 2 other housemates before we realised we both are massively short of any friends who want to live with us… So we decided on the next best thing…

wheely bin

Guildford council wheely-bins are surprisingly spacious, and come in two different sizes. They offer location-flexibility in a waterproof, easy to access package. Sorted.

But, just as Julie and I had resigned ourselves to the fact that we were without a paddle, I got an offer…

coming soon: part six “proposition 101”

Special Post #44: Accommodation Series #14: The Prequel

part one of the longest awaited post in the history of this blog. This first post comes some way in explaining why it’s taken me so long to get these words on here… sets the scene for the posts to come.

#1: The Prequel – House 63

As many of you have guessed by following this blog, the last few months of my life have been a big crazy. And while House 63 has been somewhat of a base for my life, it’s also probably been where I’ve spent least of my time.

Between Switzerland, London, Amsterdam, Italy, Weymouth and boat trips I have seen sweet little of my existing housemates. The extent of my interaction seems to be notes on the front of my door saying when I’ll next be around. Time in the house consists of unpacking, packing and sleeping (sometimes not even the latter if I’m rushing off for the weekend). So it’s quite shocking to think that in a few short weeks I will be leaving this place for greener pastures, having never really lived here…

Ironically I am around in the coming weeks, just in time for me to start packing my things. And now I’m around for once, my housemates have coursework and exams and dissertations… we are destined to never socialize together. In many ways it’s hard to miss what was never fully realised, but even the possibility will soon be impossible.

But then looking forward, mid-July is a new start and a new life in many ways. I’ll have stopped going to Switzerland every week and I’ll have new housemates and a new house to contend with.

So let’s start at the very beginning…

#2: The Hall Theorem

Let’s not be mistaken, this is the start of another new era. My final year at university starts in October and back in March I started to look at houses for my final year…

Initially I always thought I’d live on campus in my final year, since the university let final year students apply for rooms not occupied by fresher’s. And indeed I applied and got offered a place, but it didn’t feel right. For me, the freedom of living in a house with a few mates is far better than going back to halls. I liked the idea of meeting new people, but it’s a lottery as to weather they’ll be nice. I count myself exceptionally lucky to fall into Cathedral Court House 2A in my first year at the University of Surrey, I still stay in touch with Sophie and Lauren and I can’t imagine my university life without those late night chats in the kitchen and random objects appearing in the hall after drunken nights out.

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But living in a house last year and this have been such a blast that going back to halls feels like a step in the wrong direction, so I was very keen to find some housemates and find an amazing house we could call our own for what is sure to be one of the most exciting years of our lives…

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coming soon: part three “Pizza & Planning”

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