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  • When my first daughter went to university I was anxious to tell her the best ways to cope with living in a shared house, that I had learned the hard way.

    Most important, do not put a garlic sausage in a shared fridge, see my story http://cowbird.com/author/diane-jardel/stories/#!/27919; if you are sharing a kitchen put your name on all your food containers, and most important of all phone me if you have any problems. Nothing will shock me. If you are low; let me know.

    My daughter did follow my advice and queued up once a week for the public phone, to tell me how she was coping.

    I advised my second daughter the same way and she also queued up twice a week to phone home.

    When it came to my son's turn to go to university I told him:

    "Remember, if you have a problem, just call me."

    "Mum," he said patiently, "why would I start talking on the phone, instead of solving my problem?"

    As it happened, thanks to the invention of the mobile/cell phone, he phoned me on his long walk from the chemistry labs to his halls (of residence) twice a week.
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