One Month In Cranborne House, Bournemouth (August 2005)

I had never lived in any form of official student accomodation before, despite having studied at Belvoir Training Centre (1997 – 1998) and Ards Tech (2002 – 2003), and even when I moved to Bournemouth, England in 2003, I didn’t move into the student halls of residence. 2003 is when I started studying at Bournemouth University, and for the first two years I had shared with a number of students, though in two separate houses in town. From September 2003 – September 2004 I lived at 256 Holdenhurst Road in the lovely Springbourne area of Bournemouth. There I shared with Steve, Claire and Hannah for the first nine months and then with Jody, Neil and Austin for the summer months, as the other students all moved out. I did originally apply to live at the Bournemouth University Halls of Residence, and didn’t get chosen to live there, rather I was moved into what is known as a “Unilet House.” I was living with other students, but not in halls of residence and the British student experience that comes with it…

So two years on, and myself and two mates faced a slight dilemma for one month. Our lease of rent for a house at Wallisdown’s Alton Road was due to end in July and we suddenly had nowhere to live for the month of August having agreed to move into another student house in Ensbury Park, but NOT until September 2005. So myself Jody Casey and Clare Tweedy had to find somewhere to live, fast. I could never understand, and still don’t, as to why students tend to live in one house during what is “term time” and then choose to live with parents outside of this time. It never ceases to amaze me how many students do this, they claim it is to “save money”, however what is the fucking point of paying rent for one house and then living with your parents, some students I shared with over the years took this to the extreme, staying with parents at weekends, not even having any kind of job and living at their “student house” only when they had lessons. In my humble opinion this isn’t student life at all; student life should be about living, working and studying independently in a house you pay rent for and not spending time with family, as the idea is to get away from that. And on top of this, it is my opinion that the British Government should only allow citizens to study and attend university if they are working, ALL students should be forced to have a part time job, at least 8 hours per week, and if not do some community service. I believe in the UK we are losing manpower over this, and furthermore a student should be working to earn his or her right to further education. Students that don’t work are lazy and spoon fed and I have little or no time for such people. Anyhows…

So in July 2005 myself and Clare applied to live in the Bournemouth University Student Halls of Residence, but only for one month, as we had other accomodation lined up. Eventually we both learned we had been successful and were allocated each a student room on floors 1 and 2 of Cranborne House (pictured), situated very centrally to Bournemouth’s nightlife, beach and train station. The location was superb and we were going to spend one month in Cranborne House. Having just turned 25, I was finally going to be living in Student Halls of Residence, albeit a bit later in life than most people, and also during the summer, when strangely there are very few students living in the party beach town of Bournemouth. Of course, Clare and I had a room each, but Jody hadn’t applied, as the plan was to split the room and share the rent for a month. It was going to be interesting, but Jody and I had lived, worked and studied together for some two years and all would be fine sharing a room! The room itself was tiny, with a very small shower room just off it…

At the time Jody and I were both working as seasonal supervisors for Bournemouth Borough Council on the busy Ice Cream kiosks by the beach. The location of Cranborne House was ideal for work, and I also had a free town centre car parking space in the rear car park there, which was a real luxury. We were 2 minutes walk from the pub, 10 minutes walk from work, 5 minutes walk from ASDA and 6 minutes walk from the Train Station. It was an excellent location and a really busy exciting month, it easily merits a blog post and indeed other moments from the summer of 2005 have merited and will continue to be covered in future blog posts. So Jody and I shared a room and a key for a whole month, this meant we needed to strategically know each others working hours and patterns so that the person who had the key would be the next one to come home. It always worked out OK, in fact in the month I was locked out once and Jody was locked out once. Our “student flatmates” in there were diverse, and I was surprised to learn that in our “flat” (which had 6 bedrooms), we shared with Joanne Dark, of Wales who had been studying Public Relations with me two years previously. I always fancied her actually and she had a lovely Welsh accent, though I never told her, or even enjoyed a drink with her that month, as busy as times were. The other flat mates were two Italian guys, with whom I seem to have lost touch, I think it was Mario and Vittorio, and we often enjoyed a late night beer and chat. Christoph from Munich Germany was also living with us, and he was in a wheelchair, to his credit he was a great flat mate, as he never asked us to help him with anything despite his disability. We also shared with a Spanish girl and a French guy, though not everyone was always around.

The accomodation was clean and tidy, if basic, plus we had to pay for our laundry, though the kitchen/lounge was beezer. Jody and I would often enjoy a post work pint in O’Neills or the Lounge/iBar which were both about a 2 minute walk. It was my only experience of living in student halls of residence and I’m glad I did it and enjoyed it, again the mix of nationalities (again NO English housemates in this English University Accomodation!) made for a wonderful month, where I also watched the Cherries three times (Hartlepool and Walsall draws and Bristol City win) and Northern Ireland twice (Azerbaijan and England victories which I flew home for).

What Room was I In? -Flat 1, Room 4, Cranborne House, Lansdowne, Bournemouth.

Who I Lived With – Jody Casey, Joanne Dark, two Italians, one German, one Frenchie, one Spaniard.

When I Lived There – August – early September 2005.

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