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Fresher's First Week: Days 6 and 7April 22nd 2000.
I decided that a good long shower would be the best way to ease the pain of the night before. So I happily shower and begin to forget some of the agony. Being a methodical person, I like to wash from head to toe. So it wasn't until I came to my feet that I noticed that the plug-hole was actually blocked and the water was escaping across the floor of the washroom. Being the responsible person that I am, I dutifully attempted to unblock the shower before leaving the problem for the next unfortunate person to sort out....
Later in the day, I learned that I had slept through a fire alarm. In fact, so had my neighbours. It is not a pleasing to imagine that if it had not been a drill we may have all fried in our sleep. The bizarre thing was that when I spoke to other people, they had described the noise as deafening. The only thing that I could think of was "maybe I shouldn't play my music so loud". I had been warned it would make me deaf and here seemed to be evidence.
As for why there was an alarm, well it was the usual. Someone had been smoking close to a smoke detector in a corridor and set it off. Despite having fire engines called out and evacuating the whole building, the culprit was never brought to justice.
It later turned out that the alarm on my side of the corridor was a little quiet (they are tested once a week). Needless to say, I was rudely awaken when they did a practice the next week at 5am.
It was only now that I realised one of the drawbacks of living on campus so far away from home - there was no one to do it for you. Of course, everyone has heard about the student who sent his washing home on a train but this was not very practical. Unless my washing evolved a higher intelligence to be able to switch trains (a feat that some people I know find difficult), it would probably end up in Cardiff permanently.
So it was with trepidation that I made my way to the on campus washing machines and encountered the other problem with being on campus - there were only six washing machines between the thousand odd people staying in halls of residence.
A few hours later, one of the machines became free and I hurriedly stuffed all my washing in. Then I took them out again and put the washing tablets in first after remembering the gloopy mess that had been floating on some other peoples clothes.
It was about halfway through the cycle that I noticed a few people turning theirs clothes inside out before putting them in. "That'll be because their extra dirty on the inside" I chuckled to myself. Then I thought back to a Levi's advert with a kung foo bloke. He'd turned his jeans inside out before putting them in the wash too. I asked the student to my left and it turned out there was a perfectly good explanation. Maybe faded jeans would be back in style within the next five years...
After finishing the wash, I then had a wait for a tumble dryer. The irony was, there were two less tumble dryers than there were washing machines. Making matters worse, one was out of order because someone had jammed a 5p piece into the slot which only accepted 20p (and they say students are intelligent). Whilst waiting for one to become free, I kept looking up at one dryer that was making loud thumping noises. Just when I had started to ignore it the door flew open and a football boot flew out. The owner, nonplussed, put the boot back in and restarted the dryer.
Another oddity that I noticed was that people would repeatedly open and shut the doors of the dryers before restarting the dryer. I now know this to be a technique to try and remove as much humidity from the dryer as possible. Why would you resort to this? Because most of the dryers are pathetic. When I finally got a dryer, I was worried that the dryer might scorch my clothes reducing them to a pile of ash. An hour later, even with the thermostat cranked up to max, the clothes still weren't dry. Half an hour after that they were merely 'damp'.
For those interested, after a bit of trial an error, it turned out that the best dryer is the one closest to the door.