Student houses don’t often feel like homes.



Life When I was in my third year as a student at Leeds Metropolitan University during the mid-90s I lived at 38 Harold Walk, an end house within walking distance of the city centre and my home campus at Beckett Park (see above). Five years ago I revisited the house and solved a few issues I had with the place, which I wrote about at the time and I’ve rarely thought of the place since, mostly when I was chatting to someone who also went to the university and we were swapping notes about where we’d lived. Most of them knew the Harolds.

Student houses don’t often feel like homes. Apart from not having all of your belongings there, unless you’re settled in with friends for years on end, you recognise it’s just a temporary stop and you know that someone else was there three months before and after you stacked your books on the shelf in the room, piled your bacon in the fridge. You rarely leave your mark so you’ve no idea if the person who’s shared your room had the same problems with it you did. But you can’t help asking yourself – are you like me?

Then this afternoon as I was checking my referrer logs I noticed someone had googled “38 harold walk” and “leeds”. Could be someone thinking of moving in there, someone who’s lived there, someone wanting to find the place at Google Maps. Either way, I was curious enough to see how far up the ranking my blog was. Second it turned out, the first result being some kind of auto house evaluation site looking at properties in the area (£220,000). Then there was the third.

It’s Karaoke Queens, a blog in Icelandic by two Reykjavik natives and here’s the twist and reason I’m writing this – they lived at 38 Harold Walk ten years after I did! I love how sometimes a bit of your life can sometimes resurface online, and that it's not just Facebook reintroducing you to people. Not speaking any Icelandic, I can’t say what they thought of the place, but in this post which judging by the date was published when they moved in the full address is given (I’d forgotten the postcode) and here at what looks like the end of their year there are some photographs, of the clothes shop opposite and the pavement outside complete with the much needed bars on the kitchen window.

I’d love to know what they thought of the place, if the landlords improved it during that decade. It didn’t look much different when I was loitering around outside in 2003, but I wonder if the room I had next to the toilet has been soundproofed, the 1940s furniture had been replaced or the cellar cleared out and if they had as many incidents with people trying break in or grab things through the window. If you are them and you're reading this, please get in touch and let me know. And everyone else -- how is your Icelandic?

(Thanks to Suw and Karie for having a better recognition of the world’s languages than I do, especially after I asked on Twitter before simply looking at the About page...duh...)

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