The Flat

It seems wrong to call our first student flat an apartment. The word apartment is too classy to describe that particular living space. The four of us rented the top floor of an old house in the Northland suburb of Welling ton. The sparsely furnished place sat against a hill and usually felt cold and damp. The only sunny spot was the front verandah.

The small basement was occupied by an older male student who owned a large black cat called Henderson. I don’t think the animal was very well fed as he was constantly asking for food at our back door. When we made too much noise, the guy downstairs banged on his ceiling with a broom and we banged back. Every now and then, he appeared in person and asked us to be quieter and we tried to tone it down for a few days.

We had a large dining room with a table and four chair, a sitting room, two bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, and a bathroom with an antique gas water heater. I had never lived with gas and it terrified me. The water heater made an booming sound when it was lit and I lurked outside the door until I was sure it was not going to explode. After many culinary disasters, I learned to cook on the elderly gas stove. We could not keep it very clean as piece fell off when it was wiped down.

The flat was furher from the university than the hostel had been. I guess the etxtra walk did not do us any harm and probably strengthened our legs. I cannot rmember taking a bus to reach university and we didn’t own any form of transport. I passed a small shopping centre on the way and if I had money in my pocket the seductive aroma of fish and chips tempted me to treat myself. Since that is my second referenece to fast food in the last two posts, I should add that we tried to eat healthy food. The trouble was that our monthly allowance ran out before the month did. On the last days our meals were skimpy. Fortuntanately we were often invited for Sunday dinner at the flat of my then boyfriend, later husband. In return for being fed, we did the dishes and cleaned the ktichen. It was a fair trade.

Things changed in the following year. Both Jo and Helen married and moved out. Marg and I looked for a place together and found rather an unusual one. I will describe it next week.