Wednesday, 4 November 2009

All the homes... No. 3

In my second and third year at university I rented a really dirty house in SE London with 4 others. The house had the type of grime that only years of non-cleaning and student neglect and apathy can inflict. I am sure I would be shocked to see the squalid conditions now, but I didn't mind so much then.

The "garden" was so overgrown that we literally could not open the backdoor. Until one day the landlord came round with a scythe and hacked away for a couple of hours - then we could sort of sit out there on nasty plastic chairs. But it also meant that the families of mice that had been previously making their nests in all that long grass were suddenly homeless. And they didn't waste any time calling squatter's rights in our kitchen. Maybe that's where my love of mice comes from. I remember having to stomp around loudly in the living room before entering the kitchen so that I would scare the little creatures away from the bread.

The house was very close to the train station and after a night out it took about 40 seconds to make it home in a quick sprint, dodging the drug pushers on the corner.

To start with, I shared with girlfriends who were all doing language degrees. This was a mistake as in my third year they all buggered off to Paris and Cologne and left me there all billy-no-mates to do my finals. My fellow psychology friend Rob moved in. He was really cool but brought along his neurotic, annoying Norwegian girlfriend and her (also Norwegian) friend (who turned out to be really nice and I still see in Copenhagen occasionally). We rented the final room to random-bloke-Paul, who liked to borrow my Calvin & Hobbes books, was an anarchist and sometimes received dodgy substances in the post (cleverly addressed to Mr M. Mouse, presumably to confuse the narcotics authorities).

I had one of the better rooms, downstairs with french doors (again). I remember sitting for many hours there, tapping away on my little Apple Macintosh that I got for my 21st birthday. It was an awful student house and a great couple of years.


  1. Urgh, I can taste the grime. Just love London rentals.
    So will you write for me next Wednesday then...? I have grand ideas of collectives.

  2. I lived in a houes like this in Birmingham. Except I'm so old I had some kind of, erm Commodore type thing. Actually it wasn't but not much better.

    We were burgled 5 times in 2 years. By our neighbours. They even stole the washing machine and tea towels....