Warm welcome

In which we go self-catering


I’ve gone back to university.

No, not like that, I’ve not suddenly gone all intellectual again. This week, though, I’m staying in one.

When I was planning this trip down to London, an internet acquaintance known as D R contacted me and said: “why don’t you stay at a university? It’ll be cheaper than a hotel.” So, I went and booked a room at Shoreditch University’s Ripper Hall,* to relive my university days.

Of course, I never actually stayed in a hall at university, so I’m not really reliving anything. There’s something common to all university accomodation, though. The cheap, cheerful decor, designed to be easily replaced or cleaned at the end of the year. The slightly broken fittings. The dubious stains on the carpet. All very familiar from my university days. There’s a couple of slight concessions to tourism: free soap and shampoo in the bathroom,** and coffee-making equipment: a small tray with a built-in kettle, a single cup, and little sachets of instant coffee and sugar. If you have any visitors, they have to be signed in and out at the front desk – full name and address on the form, please – and definitely have to be out by 11pm at the latest. It’s not bad, as accomodation goes, but it does feel a little blank and soulless compared to most hotels I’ve visited. And given the level of hotel I usually stay in, but that’s saying something.

* No, it’s not really called that.

** “Complimentary toiletries are not replaced during your stay”, the visitor instructions warn.

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