In The Big House

The romantic part of me thought living in a share house in the UK would be a bit like an episode of This Life. I would be doing a lot of shagging, drinking lots of red, perhaps snorting some illicit substances. Or at the very least scampering around in my sexy bathrobe to scoff cake at midnight by the light of the refrigerator, Nigella style.

But it hasn’t quite turned out that way. For the start there’s my crappy bathrobe. It’s very thick and pink. It was a size too big but it was on sale. I look bloody ridiculous in it, especially when combined with my purple slippers with the lilac sequin love hearts on them, also on sale. I am a vision of frumpiness. I look like the lost Jedi Knight, Porky-Wan Bathrobi.

There are seven chicks living in our house. Luckily there are two bathrooms. But there is one tiny fridge. All the chicks seem to live on cans of soup, yogurt and ready-to-eat lasagna from Sainsburys. There’s not a vegetable in sight. But the fridge is crammed tight with condiments. I’ve never seen such an impressive assembly of relishes and mayonnaise. Then there’s the Jams Throughout The Ages, topped with bursts of mould. We have managed to carve out a third of a shelf for our own food, but I think the Glaswegian Chick’s radioactive Cheddar Cheese has plans to invade.

It’s also quite a challenge getting your washing done with six other rivals for the machine. It’s one of those front loading ones. Our washing machine back home would briskly hurl your clothes around until they were reduced to a pulp, but this one gently tosses your undies back and forth like they were made of eggshells. It does a sterling job, but can take up to two hours for a cycle.

Quite often I stake out the laundry with a big club in my hand, ready to knock anyone out who tries to jump the queue. Well not quite. But I am holding three clothes racks hostage in my room. We don’t have a dryer, so the racks are a prized commodity. I stole them in the dead of night and I am not going to give them up without a bloody fight.

This morning I awoke to the sight of my socks and undies and bras all perched along the racks. They looked rather menacing. I should just try to buy some smalls that aren’t black…


About Shauna Reid

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26 thoughts on “In The Big House

  1. You use the Farce well Porky-wan Bathrobie.

    Sounds just like my summers spent while I was in college. You don’t have two every unatractive people “shagging” in the room above you, do you? Cause then this would all seem really a little too strange.

    There are few things worse then having to take a shower after two stinky-hairy “we’re just so in love” roommates have gotten through with it…

    Suffice to say I had to join a heath club just so I wouldn’t have to clean their hair out of the drain…A thought that still gives me shivers.

  2. Our washing machine is like that. On the super-ultimate-mega cycle, it can go for two hours and use one drop of water besides. However, there is a cycle which goes for only 30 minutes. Look out for that one.

    Also, every time Sir makes potato salad he buys new mayonnaise. There is a small army of bottles in our fridge.

  3. As long as your socks/undies/bras don’t swoop, you should be fine. Maybe invest in one of those sensor lights, so at least you’ll be able to see them coming….?

  4. Having to escape from your smalls by dint of a cunning plan and a car is always a bad look. Watch out for them; they can be vicious if not rinsed properly.

    The racks are fucking gold, though; my advice is to chain them to the radiator. You can then use them as a sort of makeshift sunbed when winter really sets in.

  5. Ah, the layers of pop-culture references:

    (1) a Jedi bath robe;

    (2) a “Fight Club” fridge that is an embarassment of condiments; and

    (3) the “The Birds” clothes-drying rack that looks like a murder of ravens.

    My smalls are also black, and drying on the sole rack in the house in my room.

    I tried using a drier at a commercial laundry on the weekend and got murderously bucketed by a Melbourne downpour for my troubles …

  6. Hehe Doug. You’re more tragic than me. I thought the Fight Club thing too “You are not your fridge full of condiments” but I didn’t think of the other pop cult stuff. I’m slipping in my old age.

  7. Yeah, the UK is famous for its horrid washing machines. I preferred the bathtub-washing method, wherein I washed my clothes in the bathtub. And that Sainsburys lasagna is fabul09op-[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ (Lovecraft says hello) fabulous. How I miss the Sainsburys. As for the lost Jedi bit–hi-larious! Loves ya, Miss S.

  8. oh, shauny, you do indeed live in a multi-ethnic house ‘o girls and fun.

    i’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying scotland. if it treats you badly in any way, i vote that an enraged horde of minions should descend and beat the country senseless.

  9. Noone anywhere in Edinburgh has a clothes drier, I think. University houses have big machines that pretend to be driers, but just make your clothes hot and damp instead of cold and damp.

  10. ‘Porky-Wan Bathrobi’ – hehe, not many things make me actually laugh out loud these days :). Glad you’re having an… interesting/crazy/fun.. time.

  11. Sharehouse stories … now that’s opening up a can o’ worms. UK sharehouse stories … there are some humdingers.

    A friend of mine stayed in a place where the sewage from the toilet would pass through a pipe that went up the wall, across the ceiling and out a window. It had a pump to … well, pump. Trouble was, whenever there was a power failure, there was a valve in the pump that would fail, and the sewage would come back down the pipe and overflow all over the carpet. Which, as you can imagine, was a nice welcome home on a wintry night.

    I only tell this story to make you feel better about the things growing in the fridge.

  12. Pray like fuck that nobody brings back some dodgy Cirque du Soleil-stylee home decorations. That’s a hell nobody should have to go through because of their housemates.


    Though she could still be in the house. Somewhere. Under. The. Floorboards…

  13. Sounds rather like a student house. Ahhh, how I wish I was back at university…

    But anyway, back in my university days, one house decided to club together and buy a second hand fridge’n’freezer thing (nice’n’big’n’tall). When one of the co-owners ceased to need it, the remaining ones would buy out that person’s share. Eventually, it all belonged to just one, who’d effectively bought it in very small, manageable instalments.

    With seven of you, you may even manage to buy a new one! Then again, with seven of you, there’s plenty of scope for all sorts of disputes and politics and stuff. Alliances of Big Fridge users will form. The former-food armies of the radiocheddar and mutant marmalades will seek to extend their domain of control from just the bottom shelf to the lower-middle shelf, while the illegal condiments will resort to unconventional tactics to wreak havoc in the vegetable compartments from their stronghold in the little shelves inside the door. And, of course, the American forces still won’t know how to do peace-keeping, and many innocent lettuices will die.

  14. This Life, that was such a good show. So much better than ‘the secret life of bad acting’, Abi Tucker should learn how to emote with her voice, rather than just softly drawl her way through her lines.

  15. I knew your travel stories would bust my gut. You are one funny writer. Daniel and I can sure relate to the crowded house-we are now living with Ben and Rowan and two Danish gals who are visiting for three weeks, not to mention my Sammy boy. All in our little three bedroom one story house. It’s purty durn snug around here. It’s a good thing we all love each other so much!

  16. You must learn balance young Padawan… otherwise the internal politics will degenerate and you will find piles of soggy smalls sitting outside your door. Don’t make the mistake that I once did and leave your girlfriend’s washing in with your own overnight or you’ll get strange looks in the morning…

  17. I think I’ve told the “people shagging in the bottom bunk while I’m trying to sleep” story enough times. But I can relate to this, albeit in a weird upside down way.

    Hope you get a (non-menial) job soonish.

  18. oooh! just cut and paste kathryn’s comment here!

    what about some fellas?! i think you need some menfolk in that house, shauners! as well as some vegetables. but i hope you’re all getting on well. you and the ladies, i mean. 😀

    and nothing betters underwear installations. t-bone and i strewn ours across our venetian blinds at home.

  19. Well then. Glad to hear from ya.

    We have Danish visitor in the house right now and it made me think of you and come down to your little blog.

    Funny post, you kooky oz girl.

  20. If it’s not This Life (which wasn’t set in Edinburgh), at least it’s not Trainspotting or Shallow Grave (which were). Or is it?

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