I returned to Cambridge to clear out my second year house and it did NOT go well

Did we really leave it looking like THIS?


Driving up the A1 on the journey from London to Cambridge, I began to picture the emotional goodbye I would finally be paying to my shared second year house – the house that my six friends and I waited eagerly through first year to live in together, beating the impossible odds of the accommodation ballot (I was 105th out of 119 people) to get.

What went through my overactive (and clearly careless behind the wheel) sense of imagination was a montage of deeply cinematic moments that closely resembled that one episode of Hannah Montana where Miley moves out of her family home (only the real ones will know). Like many of us, my friends and I were very upset about missing an Easter term in Cambridge, so naturally, I was expecting to get overly sentimental as I began to tear the Gardies photos from the walls of an empty house, in which I’d never see my mates in again.

What I foolishly forgot, was that Lent term was a seven-way trainwreck in which we all became enormously overwhelmed by coursework deadlines and severely traumatised by emotional stress. Subsequently, our house became a living embodiment of the feedback on my Week Eight essay: “incredibly disorganised” and “in need of major re-arranging”. Here’s a review of some of my saddest encounters upon revisiting our once happy and completely inhabitable household:

Sighting one: All the alcohol I never drank

They say that the sesh never ends, but I mean… these have been open for a WHILE. The saddest thing about this sight is the regretful memory of all the pres I skipped for yet another all-nighter in the college library. (And they say English students don’t do any work…)

BONUS: This jug once contained a super sweet (and strong) cocktail recipe for the purpose of our one and only house party at the beginning of term. During said party, a man dressed as The Bath House (it was “Cambridge pub” costume-themed) drunkenly knocked the jug over onto me and drenched my costume in mojito mix (I was the “Street” in “The King’s Street Run”. See below for reference). The jug has since remained on the floor – unwashed and unloved – at the scene of the incident. I didn’t dare look inside it.

“The King Street Run” (featuring Olivia Railton as “King”, Ella Gold as “Runner” and Charissa Cheong as “Street”)

Sighting two: Deflated dreams

These sad silver helium balloons that have been crushed behind the Henry Hoover, are a stolen memento from the Christ’s Second Year ‘Halfway Hall’, and at one time actually looked like this:

Oh, how I miss the good old days. You know, when my friends were actually allowed to stand that close to me…

Somehow, I found that the “Y” in “HALFWAY” managed to survive, living it up in his designated home in our bathroom:

Yes, he has a face and a shower cap. Don’t ask ‘Y’, because the answer is, he doesn’t know, and neither do I.

And while we’re on the subject of things I don’t know…

Right-handed, primary school scissors… in the bathroom. I won’t ask who they belong to, but I hope this person knows that Jesus is watching.

Sighting three: Succu-less

My beloved plant, who I named Harvey, had been my trusted bedside companion since I bought him at the Fresher’s Fair in Michaelmas. In all honesty, he was long dead before the end of last term, but I still shudder at the thought of the many nights we spent apart, as he continued to decompose in a room with no sunlight, water, or love. I’ll never forget you, Harvey.

Sighting four: If you can’t take the heat…

I have such a huge bone to pick with the last person who did the washing up and just left everything on the counter to dry… FOR THREE MONTHS. Seriously guys, how many times have we talked about this?

Also joining Harvey in the Elysian Fields of dead plants, is that basil pot in the background, which my mate and I bought and used a grand total of one time, to make a ratatouille. And speaking of Ratatouille…

We have a BIG ISSUE in the plates cupboard:

No literally, there’s a copy of the Big Issue in here. The Ratatouille kitchenware I understand (Confession: I bought them for my housemate. It’s an inside joke. Plus, they’re microwave-safe and super adorable). I’m very sure that when I left the house there was a neat-ish stack of plates in here though, so I’m really going to need an explanation as to when the normal, non-Disney related plates moved out, and when Big Issue “BOB” decided to move in…

Sighting five: Towel off

Hey guys, remember when somebody decided to do us all a favour by washing the tea towels in the middle of term, and then decided to just leave them over here on the floor? Anyone want to own up to this now? No? Cool, I’ll just leave them here then.

Sighting six: Bike-mare

Ah, yes. My budget, barely rideable bike that’s been locked to the back of the house since Michaelmas because I forgot to bring my key last term. Sorry about that, Kermit. (I named my bike Kermit. As you can tell, naming inanimate objects is a hobby of mine).

It took approximately fifteen minutes of pulling at and begging the lock to come loose before I was finally able to free Kermit from the gate he’s been stuck to for almost six months. I decided to take him on one last ride to chain him up in the college car park, only to find that I’d been inconveniently ‘lock-blocked’ by a line of bins obstructing the exit:

Talk about a load of rubbish, am I right? (I’m painfully aware that the jokes are getting worse so I’ll just a put a lid on it from now own. Get it? I’m sorry. Wheelie sorry.)

But hey, at least I’m not this guy:

That’s just wheel-ey unfortunate if I’m being honest.

And finally…

Perhaps the saddest sight of them all. I don’t actually know what this thing is called so I’ll just refer to it as the sliding thingy. And at the beginning of the year, this sliding thingy was our source of unjustified childish excitement, as we used it to signify our comings and goings (before about three weeks in, when everyone forgot to keep updating it, and thus it became a primary source of argument).

Today, our sliding thingy shows each member of my house as permanently ‘out’, gone forever and soon to be replaced by seven different (but probably equally generic) names, when next year’s cohort move in and begin to create moments that I wish we treasured more while we still had the chance. Before I say goodbye to our second year house for the last time, I just want to say to all my housemates that despite the fact that you clearly all have personal hygiene issues, and we never took a single picture together whilst living here, (I mean seriously guys that’s just poor form) I’ve really loved living with all of you, and hope that we’ll still be stealing balloons and eating off plastic plates together in third year. It’s been real. Deep and emotional goodbye: achieved.

All images are the author’s own.

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