Student accommodation

Last weekend we were in Portsmouth – summer in Pompey is always busy with visitors and by chance we chose the weekend the students were graduating so the city was bursting at its seams. We found reasonably priced accommodation in student halls of residence – which was sort of funny since the students were saying goodbye to their alma mater.

The hall was very close to the station, literally a less than five-minute walk. We were on the tenth floor and we eventually found and accessed our room (there are no keys, it’s all done on cards now) This was a room for a single person, a bedsit really. It was on a short corridor of similar rooms, and at the end was a fairly large sitting/dining/cooking room where people could socialise.

The room was small, especially for a 6’6½” husband and a chunky me; there was an en-suite (quite small but spotless and modern with a good shower) wardrobes and cupboards, a desk, a chair, a ¾ sized bed, blinds, two windows, only one of which opened, and only opened an inch, and a fabulous view looking south across the city and across the Solent to Gosport and beyond. It was a very small room to be honest, but it was modern, clean, comfortable and with stunning views (although facing south during this gorgeous blazing summer did make it rather hot!)

I couldn’t help think back to my first student accommodation – we had to find our own, and a friend and I shared what had been an attic at the top of a Victorian villa in south Manchester. Light came through a sky-light, we had a small Baby Belling (an electric ring with a tiny oven beneath) rackety iron bedsteads with thin mattresses, a wobbly table, two chairs and a chest of drawers. We shared it with mice, and the bathroom was two floors down and we shared it with the other anonymous tenants. We thought we were lucky because there was always hot water and free electricity – as we only had a single light and the Baby Belling, it wouldn’t have cost much. The shared hallway and stairs were always filthy and covered with that gritty grey fluff; there’s a particular smell to those sort of places – and I guess we were fortunate that other people didn’t cook smelly things. I know there was a Portuguese family living in one room… I shudder to remember it – and shudder more to think there are still families now who have to live in such accommodation.

I’m not sure we wold choose that accommodation again – I might if I were on my own, but it was too much of a squash for two of us!


      1. Lois

        We didn’t even think about it then – it was just the way it was. Plenty of people didn’t even have bathrooms and inside toilets when I went to college… heck… that makes me sound very old…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lois

        We were lucky, we were in a modern flat which did have an inside toilet and bathroom, but my grandma didn’t… kids these days would be amazed and horrified – well, my ids would! And as for toilet paper…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Rosie Scribblah

        Squares of newspaper threaded onto a loop of string with a bodkin or Izal (sandpaper I called it) if there was a tiny bit of cash left at the end of the week. I preferred newspaper. Our Mam was expert at’ Waste Not, Want Not’. I still am, but I draw the line at newspaper in the toilet though.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Lois

        ..and sometimes careless threading led to all the paper pulled off and ending up on the floor.. or sometimes there was an interesting something written on the small square, but the rest of the story was missing! Maybe this is why I write mysteries… trying to find the missing square!

        Liked by 1 person

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