First impressions .. 2nd October 1973

‘Arrival at Speirs’

Winnie QuinnWell, I’ve very mixed feelings at the moment...as is only to be expected, I suppose. I’ve found my first impressions to be very favourable. The ‘natives’ of the University seem friendly, and very helpful. Though, I must admit, when I walked into my room (labelled ‘Simon’s Room’ on the door) to a heap of blankets, magazines and a filthy sink, I began having doubts.

Faced with visions of sleeping under itchy, scratchy blankets on a sheetless bed, I was reassured by the Court Attendant (p.s. Surrey contained five ‘courts’, or blocks of houses, at the time. They were built on ‘levels’ according to their height on the hill - Stag Hill - which the university and Guildford Cathedral were both built on; so that one could use the outdoor walkways to cross from one building to another without having to use the stairs, in many places. Level 19 in one building might cross to Level 18 or even 17 of another building; an ingenious method, once one got used to the system). The Court Attendant (a posh name for housekeeper) obligingly produced clean linen under my very nose, almost like rabbits out of a hat!

My exploration of the campus started with the encouragement of a rumbly tum... but I was directed to the University shop ‘Wavy Line’ and, clambering over the other starving bodies milling aimlessly around, I headed straight for the Marmite, tissues and Pork and Egg(?) Pie, of which I had been dreaming all afternoon (even the tissues?). I’ve also rediscovered Dad’s Cookies - it’s terrible what a year in Germany can do for one’s taste buds.
Anita says I’ll put on weight...let’s hope not, for I’m already ‘over’ enough (only half a stone). Still, reading the Union Book’s guide to sports, dancing and other miscellaneous clubs, if I have time to move off my posterior, I should manage to keep fit!

The only really strange feeling is the waiting for events to come, and knowing that only I can amuse myself imbetween-times....using my initiative. But then, I can’t complain, as I’m not incapable of communicating, if I simply make the effort.
Though what I feared seems to have come true.....many of the ‘Freshers’ I have seen so far are so obviously fresh from school, and I hope I won’t priggishly start thinking of myself as more of a ‘Woman of the World’. Not that it is likely to happen anyway; there are far too many continuing-year students here, all too ready to push over-enthusiastic Freshers into their place (in more ways than one), I’m sure.

The one girl I have met so far lives next door, so to speak. She’s studying ‘Hotel and Catering’ and looks a friendly sort (Bev). There’s someone upstairs walking backwards and forwards in heels on the wooden floor. If she doesn’t stop the noise by acquiring slippers in a couple of days, I swear I will explode and burn her very feet off!

Some strange bloke has just come round the corner playing his guitar, tried to open a locked door, then walked off again. Some fools!

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(c) 2001 Winnie Quinn

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