Summer Days – Student Living

As I’m now finally on my Summer hols, I’ll christen the blogs I write during them as ‘Summer Days’. So far, I’ve had five days of holiday and it’s been jam packed with things to do – but I want to share with you what has happened so far. 

My older brother recently turned 21 and has just finished his third year at university in London, so on Sunday I went back to London with him to see the area. I finally saw where my big brother has been living for the past few years, which I probably should have gone to see a while back but better late than never, huh? 

If you can’t be bothered to read on, a quick summary is that I love London and I really want to go to university there. However, I did learn a hell of a lot more about student life in three days than I have at any point. No teacher at school could have given me as much as an insight as my brother and his friends did, so I’m going to try to tell you about it. 

Day 1: Saturday 20th

To celebrate his birthday, my brother had several friends over for a barbecue and I met his friends for the first time. Try to picture this: my parents and I are anxiously waiting for the arrival of these students, having already heard stories of the amount of food and drink that they can consume in one sitting. We’ve bought crates of beer, tons of food and I’ve baked two huge cakes in the hope that it will be enough. We debate over moving some more fragile items upstairs, thinking that when they get drunk it would be better if they can’t easily break anything. 

Then they arrive. 

They hang around for the day and not one – NOT ONE – of them went crazy drunk. It was actually incredibly civilised as they piled their plates with food and sat around a table outside. The only thing that wasn’t docile about the gathering was the conversations simply because some of the stories were just incredible. We hear about drunken nights and crazy moments that they can’t quite remember too clearly whilst I look on, waiting for something else to happen. 

All in all, I loved that day and met some great people. Admittedly, I haven’t told you much yet about students other than the fact that they aren’t as wild as you may think. It’s the next part which I think is important. 

Day 2 & 3: Sunday and Monday

Going back to my brother’s house was an adventure for me, seeing the area he was living in. My first impression of his street wasn’t great as we encountered a No.2 which was far too large for a dog, but we walked on with our eyes looking over it and holding our breath.

The student house itself wasn’t as bad as I feared. It had several bedrooms (some en suite), a kitchen, a general bathroom and a basement. There was a strange smell coming from a fridge – nobody knows yet what the source of the smell is – and there is newspaper stuffed on the edges of the floor but nobody wants to move it in fear of what might be behind. The basement – where I was staying for that night – was actually really nice in my opinion compared to what I was imagining. I did make some friends in the basement – a few snails and woodlice, now named Terry and Steven – and I could choose from sleeping on a hammock or on beanbags. I went for the beanbags, only because the hammock was above a wooden table and I would definitely fall out at some point onto that table. 

What I loved about the student life – well, my brother and his friends’ lives – was the family-like qualities. They all cooked dinner together and chipped in for the cost, eating together as they traded stories. At one point, one of them brought in some leftover cookies (which didn’t last long at all) and everyone was just happy. Afterwards, a few of us went to see a movie and that was that. 

All in all, student living is difficult – juggling bills, work, studies, social life and more – but I honestly can’t wait until I can experience it. 

~Thanks for reading and I’ll make another post in a couple of weeks as I’m going on holiday, but my Summer Days posts shall continue! 

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Propeller

One thing that I love to do is going to see plays. I’ve seen my fair few and they have been absolutely fantastic. I admit, I do like a good musical (I’ve seen Wicked twice, Billy Elliot, Lion King, Legally Blonde) but I love seeing classical plays brought to life. I’ve seen a contemporary performance of Medea and I love seeing Shakespeare plays. 

The first Shakespeare play I saw was Macbeth and I loved the RSC’s take on it, but last Friday I had the opportunity to see Twelfth Night. As it was a birthday present to me, I only knew the location (Hampstead Theatre, London) and which play it was. I had no idea that I was about to see one of the best plays – possibly THE best – I have ever seen. 

I don’t want to reveal any spoilers in case you want to see this particular performance (which I highly recommend), so I will do my best to convey how amazing this play is. 

The company performing Twelfth Night was none other than Propeller. I have to admit, if I had been told that I was going to see an all-male production then I would have been a bit skeptical. HOWEVER it couldn’t have been better. As Shakespeare would have been performed by an all male cast back in the day, it was great to see a modern version. Propeller are fantastic actors, amazing musicians and hilarious comedians. 

To name a few, I especially loved Liam O’Brien as Feste, the fool, as not only was he a brilliant actor but his voice – my goodness, his voice was incredibly. The director and co. definitely have credit for the brilliant lines, but the actors made the play what it is. I also adored Ben Allen as Olivia, and bravo to the makeup team, and Vince Leigh as Sir Toby was perfect. Yet, I have to say, along with O’Brien, Gary Shelford as Maria won the crown for me. I know I said no spoilers, and this doesn’t really count, but MAN can he dance. 

Overall, it was perfect and I really hope you look them up (http://propeller.org.uk/home)! I’m definitely going to see them again as I want to see their adaptation of another of Shakespeare’s plays. It was funny, witty and just…wow. 

Thank you Propeller for a great evening and thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read this.