The halls of residence at Edinburgh University. This is where they bundle all the freshers, so that they are all together, and don't get lost, and can comfort each other when things go pear shaped. Facilities there are a shop (where Coke costs UKP 1.70 for 2 litres), a refectory (where they serve bland but filling food), a rather naff bar with a projector, squash courts, music rooms, and a microlab filled with outdated PCs and Macs that shuts at 11.

Looks kinda like a Half-Life level.

If you are going there, make sure you get in Holland or Masson House. They're the two nicest houses, with en suite facilities. What ever you do, don't wind up in Cowan. It's a total dive. (To do this, make sure that you say on the application form that you are a non-smoker.) All the other houses are ok, but have shared bathroom and toilet facilities. Network access should be getting installed in the rooms March 2001.

I heard from Tim Kerby that the first years built a massive network in Pollock Halls this year, by running Cat5 cabling inside the halls, then taking advantage of the free internal calls to make PPP bridges between the networked houses. Sounds like fun.

There's also a string of flats there for mature, foreign, and exchange students, called Fraser Court.

Update: Cowan was demolished two years ago. Wonder where they send the smokers now.

The Horrors of Pollock Halls

This is my survival guide to ]Pollock Halls], 1st-year student's Halls of Residence, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Fully known as Pollock Halls of Residence.

Prepare to enter the world of survival accommodation. From the moment you pulled up on that sunny October morning, to be confronted by the beaming faces of your two thousand fellow hall-mates, your brain (and liver) will have been a maelstrom of activity, vainly trying to replace that which it has drunkely lost...

Lectures have passed by like so many turds in a sewer, and you could fill Teviot with the number of random folk who have carried you home. It is hard to believe, but it will eventually calm down. However, as life at Pollock begins to settle into a steady rhythm, you will begin to sense that something sinister lurks beneath its glossy outer shell. And you will start to wonder, was that squirrel really looking at me funny?

The Rooms - From the exposed plumbing of Brewster to the hotel-like delights of Masson, there are still some things that will make you all the same. Such as having the shit scared out of you when some random wifey bursts into your spinning sanctuary, unnecessarily informing you for the fifth time that week that she is just 'emptying your bin'. Their ubiquitous response to your pathetic moans of protest will be a cheery 'well if you don't want disturbed, leave it outside. Fine and well until some random sod steals it.
Beware: open windows are a magnet for loose-bowelled squirrels.

The Corridors - 'Any old iron, any old iron, any any any old iron'. Too bloody right.
Unless you fancy wrestling with an oversized element plus plug, you should nick your parent's steam powered monster. A toaster may be a good idea as well, though make sure you keep all these things safely in your room, for obvious reasons. The Microwaves may look like the first ever prototype models, but they at least work.
Cooking is often a waste of time - and leaving dishes in the sink will serve no purpose other than letting future archaeologists know that there once was a Pantry here. Unless of course you are willing to (choke!) wash them... Jars of coffee left in the cupboards will go missing faster than you can say 'squirrel with a caffeine addiction'.
Survival tip: If God had really meant us to iron, he'd have made it a shedload easier. Be creased and proud.

The Houses - You slowly start to smile as the curtain blows back to reveal the striking sight of Elle McPherson, Cameron Diaz and Tamzin Outhwaite lying half naked on a red silken bed. You barely blink an eye as their three lithe bodies gravitate towards you, and then...

WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH!!!!!!

Aaaaaaaaaargh, your world of fantasy is dissolved as your startled body, propelled by evil forces it can't understand, only hear, throws on some random items of clothing before joining its fellow unfortunate fire alarm victims in the sub-arctic air.
Furiously fatigued faces scan the crowds for those choking on burnt pieces of toast, a sniggering bushy-tailed rodent, or those trying to conceal a smoking hairdryer in ANY way they can. Worse still, a much pissed-off Fire Fighter informs you that some TWAT has set it off deliberately. No wonder they let you shiver for so long.

Survival tips: Coming in at three/four/five a.m. shall miss you most of them (lectures and fire alarms).
If you are evacuated, don't wait: seek immediate shelter in some other house (unless of course it was a real fire).

The Halls - Perhaps the greatest challenge to a new fresher at Pollock is coping with the alarming realization that their loan will not stretch to cover both rent and nightly Pizza Hut deliveries.
Hence it will be with a weary heart that you drag your emaciated frame to the JMC to make the excruciating choice between Hungarian Lamb 'Ghoul'ash and a Potato Longboat scary enough to make Hagar the Horrible hang up his horned helmet.
Mmm mmm tasty good. Controversial studies have shown that it is possible to survive on Pollock food - the Salad bar has some fairly decent stuff, while you can rarely go wrong with a baked tattie. On the whole there is always something that will at least sate if not interest you, but if the worst comes to the worst the Moon Bar's pizzas are pretty good and won't sting your pocket too badly.
Survival tips: Make it to breakfast. And help yourself to plenty of rolls.
Go to tea early, it's quieter and the food tastes better.
Leave dinner until Neighbours finishes and you are just plain daft.
Experts are in general agreement that squirrels don't thrive on Dairylea and Hovis biscuits[, so leave them alone.
JMC Bar (upstairs above canteen) does some good lunches.

The Top Five hidden treasures of Pollock Halls

  1. The maintenance area behind the Moon Bar (where all the stolen traffic cones/ road signs/ bus shelters end up).
  2. The Moon Bar staff leaving the pool tables unlocked.
  3. Nice Floodlit picknicking/ drinking area behind Holland House C.
  4. The free squash courts (ask at microlab).
  5. The underground weapons lab.

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