Saturday, June 25, 1983


I woke up just in time to bid a lumpy goodbye to Shelley and Susie, who were catching the same train. Shelley's coming back on Monday, but Susie is off for good. They kissed Barry and I. Shelley said she “hates goodbyes.”

We loaded our stuff out into the corridor and then into the van and made the first trip. It took us ages to unload and when we got back to campus an hour later, Gareth and Stu and most of the rest had gone too. Lindsey kissed me on the cheek and climbed into her Mum’s car.

Gone. The source of so much heartache for me disappeared with hardly a word between us.

Wollstonecraft Hall seemed a stranger now and I walked its empty silent corridors for one last time. It wasn't a home any more, just a ‘residence’ again, a building with 120 empty rooms in which so many people lived eight months of their lives. So much happened to us all here, but it's a closing book; I couldn’t help being sad.

We piled the remainder of our stuff outside, mostly Pete’s stuff, boxes and bags full of what seemed like junk. Another two trips did it, Pete and I sharing a taxi with the porter Doris.

And so the campus-era of my life ended.

The flat was filthy and smelly and we were all angry at the previous renters for leaving it in such a shitty state. There’s damp in the middle bed room, the kitchen has been left half-painted and is just generally filthy and dirt-ridden, the sitting room ceiling sags in one corner, the staircase is damp and peeling, the window frames are swollen, cracked, and falling apart, and there are shabby orange synthetic curtains in all the windows that are too short for the height of the frame. Five of us are sleeping here over the weekend, including Mo and Guy.

Outside, the street corners were filled with shoals of lads from the nearby estates in loafers and pleated Farrahs.

We all went out to Watermouth for a dismal drink in The Frigate and no one had any money and we all noticed how different it seemed, somehow less welcoming as if we no longer belonged. We ended up at our new local, The Jervis Arms, a fine old pub with a high bar and ancient wooden tables, bare and unpretentious. Barry and Pete tried to work out the bar billiards.

When we got back late it was late and we sat in the shabby front bedroom, the largest room in the flat, and aired our grievances. I said I wished we’d looked round more thoroughly before accepting a year here and how annoyed and disappointed I was. Barry seemed happy enough although Pete too was a bit pissed off.

“I feel sorry for you because you’ve been swindled,” was Guy’s last comment before we all turned in.

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