Initially I moved into a large attic bedroom that I painted white with bright pink woodwork. I made some curtains out of old sheets and tie-died them pink and white. Whatever possessed me?! Some months later I swapped rooms with Islay and moved into the ground-floor bedroom with beautiful alcoves that Islay had painted in two shades of blue - much nicer than my pink colour scheme. The room had once been the drawing room of the large house and had huge windows looking out onto the church of St. Paul opposite.
|St. Paul's Church Herne Hill today|
I missed playing the piano so one Saturday, soon after we moved into no. 88, I borrowed Sue's boyfriend Steve, another pianist, and went to Morley's piano shop in Lewisham. After playing several models, I decided to rent a small upright teak piano. After a year I had the option to buy it at a reduced price and thanks to some generous gifts for my 21st birthday I became the proud owner of my first piano. Little did I imagine that 30 years later I would be choosing my dining room floor and kitchen worktops to match said piano! I have many happy memories of sitting in the lounge at 88 Herne Hill, playing the piano either on my own or with Dave Mudie, Paul Hattam or Matthew Redfearn - my musical friends from the hospital CU.
No. 88 was on the 68 bus route to Kings but there was no direct bus to Dulwich Hopsital (where I did many of my placements and eventually got a job as a staff nurse). So I bought an old bike and cycled everywhere, chaining the bike to the outside railings and taking it up in the hospital lift to store on the balconies between the wards during my shifts. I started swimming every day, at Brockwell Lido in the summer and at Brixton Rec in the winter. I remember swimming 20 lengths of the unheated Brockwell Lido (a 50m pool) before my nursing finals - I went on to win a prize so cold water swimming is to be recommended!
We didn't spend loads of time together as students - Clare and I worked many nights and weekend shifts whilst the physios worked 9-5 and had weekends and holidays off. However, there were some memorable parties: the 'black and pink' party at which Carol did a hamster impression, having just had her wisdom teeth removed; the Pimms garden party... and one party at which our hoover was stolen by some medical students. We didn't miss it for several weeks! One drunken night Carol, Sue and Sunita gave everyone nicknames; Carol became Platelet, Sue was Pooey and Sunita was Pernicious. My friend Stephanie Murrell (who eventually moved into the house) was Pledge. Islay was Granny, courtesy of being a mature student and a couple of years older than us! Granny's boyfriend became Grandad (of course). I was Joyful Bangla and my sister Anne was Annie. Clare became Bernard - for no other reason than the nurse in Blackadder was also called Bernard. These nicknames stuck and we still use them for each other 30 years later! Can anyone remember why Rachel was Marbody?
To be continued as my fellow housemates share their memories and photos....