“I’ve had the best summer ever, for two reasons,” Alison said.
We were walking up the hill to her new house, a hill so steep and long that it wasn’t unusual to see students stopping on convenient kerbs to re-hydrate or use an asthma inhaler.
Alison switched her bag from one shoulder to the other and said, “Number one, I got to wear a sports bra for three months and number 2, I didn’t have to go swimming.”
“I’m going to need more information than that,” I said.
“When I was in Ecuador working on the farm it was perfectly acceptable for me to wear at sports bra all day, every day, which was grand to say the least.”
“And normally when I’m in America, we go to the beach in the summer and I’m forced to go in the sea (which I hate) or become a social outcast. But not this year!”
While I had spent my summer running around a golf club in an apron, Alison had spent her time on a farm in Ecuador, running agricultural seminars, planting seeds and perfecting an outrageous farmers’ tan. It made my family holiday to Cornwall look like a trip to our garden paddling pool.
But Cornwall is still very pretty
The boys were watching the Great British Bake Off in the living room when we arrived at Alison’s. There was a stack of playing cards on the kitchen table from last nights poker game and a poster on the wall that had drinking quotes on like, “I drink so much alcohol, last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.”
I stood in the doorway of the living room grinning and watching Paul Hollywood eating Bakewell tarts until Matt said defensively, “there was nothing else on, alright?” They said the same when caught watching Downton Abbey, X Factor and University Challenge. Although as James pointed out, being able to name just one Greek letter out of twenty-four is nothing to be ashamed of.
It was a different world than my house with Maria and Emilie. I was having a lovely time living with the two girls, although what with Emilie being Norwegian and Maria half-Danish, I had to quickly learn to laugh whenever they cracked a joke about Sweden. We bonded over Gilmore Girls, banana bread and the night Maria spent stroking my hair after Sybil on Downton died and I couldn’t see for tears.
Three days into the new term, while I was sat in the kitchen reading an Ian McEwan novel and eating chocolate spread with a spoon, a tiny mouse ran out from behind the fridge to sit confidently beside the radiator pipes to clean his nose.
Emilie arrived home to find the recycling strewn around the kitchen and me crouched in the middle of the room with a bucket in one hand and a cracker laden with peanut butter in the other.
Maria found the whole incident highly amusing and named him Jeremy. She regretted this when the rodent control man arrived armed with two bottles of poison and the promise Jeremy would be dead within the week.
“But he’s just a little mouse!” she said. “We could catch him and just give him a good scrubbing with soap and Dettol.”
I was reluctant to tell my Mum about Jeremy, knowing that she was already right about the high price of rent/bills/generalhousekeepingpolava. However, she just sighed and said, “Put your food in the fridge and move your Delia Smith book to a nibble-free area” which made me love her even more than I already do.
To Maria’s delight, the poison has failed to work and Jeremy spends most of his evenings squeaking behind my skirting boards and attempting to chew his way through three inches of sealant.
Oh Mr Carson, you do crack me up
My course is just as hectic as ever. I have taken to lugging my media law book around with me in the vain hope some of the more confusing statutes will ooze into my brain by osmosis-by-proximity.
Patrick and I escaped to the local museum after a three hour workshop on HTML this week.
“The place is full of school kids,” said Patrick in annoyance as we walked through the natural history exhibition. “Ugh ugh look at that horrible python on the wall. It’s hideous, I’m so glad it’s dead.”
We were discussing the change in social life for second years.
“I feel like I’ve lost the will to club,” I said, standing on tiptoe to look at the giant ants colony in the middle of the room.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that Plug is cursed. House parties and bars are the way forward from now on.”
“House parties can be completely over-rated though,” Patrick observed. “There was one the other night which was sponsored by a drinks company. Everyone kept going on about it as though Jameela Jamil had turned up. I mean come on, it’s not Studio 54.”
It would have been cool if she had shown up though
My sister has booked her train tickets to come and visit over Halloween.
“It’s a desert here, A DESERT!” She told me over Skype, throwing her arms wide and knocking over a glass. “I can’t wait to come up and party with you!”
“Umm…” I said, thinking that the last time I got in the party spirit was during a Project Runway rerun, when Alison and I shouted at the screen, “Stop being so bitchy, Lantie!”
“I’ve even bought a wig for Halloween,” Maria continued. She pulled on a cropped black wig. She looked pretty scary and I made approving ‘mm mm’ noises.
“I got it in Pound Land. Isn’t it great? I had it on when Dad came home and asked him if he liked my new look. He want all quavery and said, “You’re joking right? Please tell me you’re joking?” It was hilarious.”
I have decided I need some more partying before law and broadcasting work take over my life. My friend David has already made himself a paper suit AND dressed up as a giant orange cream Quality Street. If a medic with a thousand hours a week can do it, so can I. Right after Bridget Jones finishes.
Best viewed with chocolate and housemates
Images courtesy of Google