This week I found some old photos that were taken during my student days, back when I was young and carefree (and had hair, no gut and had just discovered vodka). These pictures reminded me of my one time pride and joy, my coin operated pool table – the source of many happy nights and one or two arguments.
I’d always wanted a pool table since I first played the game at the age of 9. I thought I was brilliant at it (naturally) and wanted my own table. It wasn’t until I moved into student accommodation in Newport in my third year that I actually realised I could get one. We had a shared house with 5 bedrooms, and there were four of us… so the additional room was just redundant. I checked many pool table companies in the Yellow Pages (because Google wasn’t particularly big back then, it was 1997) only to find that pool tables cost over £500 each.
Now, I had a student grant (yes, back in the days when students got grants rather than loans) so I could have afforded that, but then I wouldn’t have been able to afford anything else (such as vodka and beer, you know, essentials). So I checked the free press, and found a pool table for sale in Pontypool for £150.
Being in with the guys at the university, we were able to ‘hire’ a college van for free to pick up the table, and bought it from a guy who was ‘forced’ to sell it by his wife – a concept to which I was alien, at the time!
As you can see from the photos, the pool table was a central part to our university days and was involved in most pre-night out drinking sessions, or warm-ups.
Eddie, one of our housemates, didn’t like the guttural element that the pool table attracted, with mates of mates often coming round to play on it, and it did result in people staying up to all ours playing when other, more academically interested, students wanted to sleep – but it was an excellent purchase, and one that I want to make again one day.
So what happened to the pool table? Well, when I left the house I didn’t want to sell it (much to my dad’s dismay) so needed to store it. I convinced my sister to let me store it in her garage, but she neglected to mention that her garage leaked… leaked like a bloody waterfall. The table was ruined, and ended up being collected for scrap.
I was heartbroken. So many great nights, so many memories (or rather photographs to tell of nights for which we should have memories) and the pool table ended up scrapped.
One day I’ll get one again.