West Downs: where life long frienships are forged, only to be swiftly shattered the moment the bog roll runs out…

Welcome to Splendid Fred’s newest feature, in which students of the University of Winchester write on a variety of issues surrounding student life.

In this first issue Tammy Lane writes on the annual problem of student house hunting, and the weekly/daily issue of hangovers…


In the confines of West Downs, Freshers are blissfully unaware of the turmoil that is house hunting for your second year – not forgetting figuring out who you can stand to live with for a year without turning into a character from The Shining. My friends and I had luckily sorted it all out with time to spare to find the house – an 8 bedroom affair. Then everyone started leaving. One ran off to America and another decided to drop out of University completely and become a midwife. So we were well and truly screwed. We began interviewing several people. One in particular decided to accept the place, then complain about the cost, the size of the room and eventually shortly after she ‘forgot to inform us’ we found out she was living elsewhere after a friend saw we were Facebook friends and asked if she would be a good housemate. It’s safe to say we are no longer Facebook friends. At this point we were desperate and so chose the last candidate on the portal – who unfortunately has the strongest smelling body odour you will ever come across. Moral of the story: sort it out early, and have a sniff test when interviewing housemates.

Tammy Lane

Editor’s Response

I’m not really in a position to respond. I never lived in West Downs, and when it came to house hunting there were only three of us. We got drunk and booked a viewing. We looked at the house the next day, took it on the spot, and lived their for two years. I feel rather cheated out of my housing horror story…

When it comes to it, start as early as possible. Try and get together in a reasonable sized group, don’t just look at student sites— my house was £325 a month per person and was found via Winchester Lettings (now Personal Homefinders, opposite O’Neill’s). Pick housemates carefully, and keep organized.

Not pictured: streams of vomit, students.


As a constant victim of hangovers, I can vouch that the perfect cure is a Wetherspoon’s traditional English breakfast and a large mug of tea. Winchester’s local hang-out (excuse the pun) is The Old Gaolhouse situated on Jewry Street. Nothing is worse than the familiar stale smell of alcohol seeping out of your pores and a mouth dryer than Gandhi’s flip flop. After a night at the SU or Bar3one (yes that’s as far as it goes) nothing compares to the sudden sinking of your stomach to your groin when you don’t remember what happened the night before. The only way to pick up your dignity is to grunt ‘Spoons’ at your housemates, chuck on a hoody and sunglasses, drag your self-inflicted-no-sympathy-for-you ass to town and exchange notes with your fellow hangers to piece together the night. You’ll end up laughing about the moony you gave the bouncer and the chunder bomb you left on the table for your mate to drink.

Tammy Lane

Editor’s Response

The only true cure for a hangover is to not drink, but that wouldn’t much fun. Unless you drink five J20s in an hour, which is actually a lot more fun than actually being drunk…

Wetherspoon’s for breakfast seems a little too close to returning to the scene of the crime. Apt then that it is called The Gaol House (so much classier than ‘Spooooonz). Whilst I would agree that nothing quite fits the bill after a night on the ale/scotch/gin and tonics/woo woo (my personal favourite of the Wetherspoons cocktails) tha a full English breakfast, I would suggest there are several better places to. The Wetherspoons breakfast worries me, as it always seems so perfect and sterile. It is lacking in both charm and grease.

Not many people know this, but the Bus Station actually hosts a fully functioning, old fashioned greasy spoon. For about 50p more than a Wetherspoons fry up you can get twice as much, including a nice mug of tea. There is infinitely more variety, a better atmosphere, it is usually quieter, and everything is coated in the thick, filmy grease essential to neutralising the symptoms of a hangover.

And if there is still enough student loan left, Buddies can’t really be recommended enough. An American breakfast is essentially the same as ours, but with pancakes. It also feels far more like you’re in a Tarantino film when you’re in there— just make sure your head doesn’t actually explode, like poor old Marvin.

MMM… I love the taste of sterile corporate conformity in the morning…