I’ve been in my new ‘digs’ for just over 24 hours now and have settled in nicely
I’m in Barnes Hall, one of the five Halls of residence on campus. First time around there were only four, with Horwood, Lindsey and Hawthorns being the others. Now there’s a ‘new’ hall called Holly Cross & the Oaks, which has risen from the Staffordshire earth midway between Lindsey and ‘Thorns. All of the halls have expanded, adding blocks as far as the alphabet can reach, which is no surprise as the student population has at least quadrupled since the 70s. Amazingly, it seems that Keele can still just about offer accommodation on campus to everyone who wants it
it was with some trepidation I went in search of Block X as I’d seen on the map that it was nearer the old main gate than any of the other blocks. That part of the campus had been liable to subsidence in the past and entire block, M, had had to be demolished because of it. But no, nothing to fear – there was a brand spanking new (ish) building just where the map said it would be
My room is pretty decent – about the standard of a one of the mid range ‘budget’ hotel chains. there;s an en suite loo and shower and reasonable desk and storage space. The big shock, even though I knew it was coming, was the single bed. It’s been a long time since I slept in quite such a narrow bed, but it’s comfortable enough
There are two downsides to Barnes X block. the first is that, because Keele is expanding and there is a need for more accommodation, there’s a building site just ‘out the back’. Not sure what time the lads get going with their diggers, but I’m willing to bet that a fair few students will get a rude awakening every weekday morning for the whole of the academic year
The second downside are the living arrangements. Rooms are on four floors with each floor having three corridors of 6 rooms each. At the end of the corridor there’s a large kitchen with two of everything : fridge freezers, cookers, kettles, microwaves and sinks. My room is advertised as a ‘premier flat’, but because of the layout there is nothing remotely flat-like about it. there’s no communal lounge area at all, no television area, nada.
To make matters worse, each room has a heavy door with the stern warning ‘Fire Door – Keep Shut’. This means none of us can keep our doors open to encourage friendliness and a ‘getting to know you’ attitude. Each (narrow – not even enough room for a decent game of corridor cricket!) corridor of 6 rooms has to
be entered via another such door, which has the added disbenefit of having to be unlocked every time. Health & Safety gone mad! The whole set up is what I image an Open prison would be like. I still haven’t met two of my five cell (oops, sorry, flat) mates yet!
Oh well, better get on with making dinner. Maybe I’ll meet them then