It made me feel very old when I realised it’s ten years next month since I did my final university exams.

A lot has happened since then, you could say.

To mark this momentous occasion, I reunited with my housemates and returned to the city of Forest, the Goose Fair and Robin Hood to see if anything had changed…

A handsome bunch of characters back in 2007 – we’re just missing Andy!

1. Time has marched on but housemates never change 

As I sat in what was the Ark by myself for an hour, I had plenty of time to reflect on past experiences. Why were they so late? Essentially, good old Si still slept in far too long and had not invested in a watch.

Fresh from an extended travelling, Downing remains as chirpy and opinionated as ever while Mark still enjoys a good night out and retains his cheeky optimism.

Luke? Two kids, a sensible family car, Leicester City title victory later…? I reckon give him a few more jaeger-bombs and hotel door handles will once again be in trouble.

2. Some housemates do change though

It was awesome to see Andy again – for some of us it was the first time in 11 years! After turning into a surfer dude in Australia he has retained the flowing locks he acquired over there and is now busy saving people’s brains in Portsmouth. Who’d have thought?

3. Dinner out? – we must be getting old

Another thing which changed was a sit-down meal which we enjoyed at Tarn Thai, Nottingham.

We never sat down as a house when we lived together for three years – it was great to see we could hold down a civilised conversation.

4. The History house- now a behemoth

For three years, we traipsed faithfully across campus, down the Hill of Destiny to the little house of History in Lenton Grove. Sure it meant getting up half an hour earlier than all other uni students but we loved our quintessentially English – no quintessentially historical – cottage.

Imagine my surprise to discover that Lenton Grove is now dominated by a giant monstrosity of a humanities building, dwarfing our little cottage with its soulless grey exterior.

Humanities students have never had it so good, they reckon? – “Geog on”.

5. Broadmarsh Centre remains terrible

That shopping centre has had more face-lifts than a Hollywood actress and yet or remains distinctively unappealing. Never did I find a shop I was content with in there. No amount of Westfield love will make it happen either it seems.

6. Being old makes it easier to talk to people

I was never much one for talking to strangers on nights out. I loved hanging out with friends but could never pluck up the courage to speak to anyone new.

However, being the wrong side of 30 with two children means inhibitions go out of the window and somehow it becomes so much easier to approach new people and get along with them.

Maybe it’s just because now I can moan about being old and seek compliments for how young I look…(not often forthcoming!).

7. Campus 14 is long gone

When we were at uni, the ultimate in student achievement was the legendary “Campus 14”.

The premise? Double or pint in every student hall bar before polishing off two in the final Students Union bar, totalling fourteen drinks.

The reality? Horrendous process, often with worrying results – the uni actually banned it after students tried to swim across the campus lake afterwards. With the main SU bar now a burger restaurant, I’m guessing Campus 14 won’t be happening too much anymore.

8. TK Maxx is a promotion not a demotion

For some people, the progression of Selfridges -> Sainsburys -> T K Maxx would suggest a downgrade.

However, being the European Director of Finance for T K Maxx is no feat and I wish Downing all the best with it (and those poor Europeans too…)

9. Si’s look

My housemate Simon is a lovely guy. Heart of gold an’ all that.

Boy can he pull off a creepy look though…



10. Nottingham will always have a special place in my heart

I love Nottingham.

It’s a terrific city with much going on and I really enjoyed it for the seven years we lived there.

Time has moved on – we certainly have – but I’ll always have a huge fondness for the city where I studied, found a wonderful wife and began married life.