“Christ, there’s about half a dozen buttons. Which one is it?”

“Er, number 12. 12A”

“I have ‘Smith’ or ‘Vickers’, and assorted illegibles. I’ll phone them, say we’re outside.”

Fyse stands on the edge of the pavement, hands in pockets, scrutinizing his surroundings with pursed lips. “Ooh, look guys. There’s a Tesco’s right opposite, and regard that delightful little coffee shop! I love this place already.”

“Yes, well. Let’s see inside first, shall we?”

Fyse spins to look once again at the building with the poorly labeled buzzers. An off-white front door is set back a little from the pavement, allowing room on one side for another entry, propped open and emitting tantalising smells. In the basement is an Indian restaurant, and a large gilt sign clearly delineates the route to food from that of the accommodation above. It is to these flats that Fyse and friends are heading, beginning with this single step the thousand mile journey of sorting housing for next year. With collective hysteria very similar to that of a financial crash, the student rental market has gone crazy this year. A critical mass of jittery undergrads was reached and suddenly everyone is steaming round the agencies six months early, desperate not to miss the boat and end up lumbered with a dingy cupboard in the middle of nowhere.

The door opens and another group stream out, profusely thanking the landlord as they go. So, rivals for the house’s affection, thinks Fyse. The plot thickens. He snaps from reverie into action.

“Yeah, like I was saying guys, right opposite a supermarket? I bet that’ll be NOISY. Lorries at all hours, no doubt.” The rivals begin to walk away down the street. “And look at that DREARY LITTLE CAFE, a real ‘greasy spoon’ dive. Seriously guys, is it even worth looking at this DUMP? Guys?”

Fyse turns round just in time to slip through the door behind his friends, who appear eager already to disown him.