I moved out of my house in East Oxford this week, but only realized on the last day that I failed all year to take any photographs, so I snapped some quick shots on my phone of the bare room. I rearranged it this way about two hours before taking the photos, having had the furniture in a completely different configuration all year long, so it’s doubly unfaithful! But I think it’s important, or at least fun, to have photographs of every place you live, so that one day you can sit down and look at all the places you’ve been.
I haven’t loved this room: the size is deceptive, and I often felt more cramped than in my tiny space back home; I had some serious damp issues for most of the year; the bed was more springs than mattress; and the aged, “vintage” furniture was a stiff and splintery nightmare. During the most hectic parts of term, it was strewn with clothes and papers, and there were weeks where it seemed I only came home to sleep. My bike tracked in mud and rain and streaks of oil, and I know I have had my fair share of furry old cups of tea forgotten on a mantelpiece or on a stack of books.
And yet, it’s the first time that I ever lived away from home properly in my own place – not lodging, not as an au pair, not in college accommodation, but in my own place, shared with seven other students. We let the kitchen and the bathrooms get too an embarrassing stage of grime before teaming together and cleaning the house all at once in a storm of Mr Muscle and elbow grease. I made midnight pasta after getting back from a party, consoled a friend with a bottle of wine, holed myself up in my room and my bed for days when I felt rubbish, watching The West Wing and eating chocolate, spent hours in front of my desk, pounding out an essay to hit a deadline, tried on outfits in front of my mirror, and used the room as a sanctuary all of my own to catch a breath and find my head.
Now on to the next adventure.