A student at Manchester University refused to succumb to extortionate rent prices, poor quality accommodation and increasing debt, instead managing to find his solution to saving money on housing - by living in a tent.
Evan Eames, a 24-year-old from Canada, braved the elements for 10 entire months camping in the back garden of Stockport resident Charley Mantack.
Having received a reply to his Gumtree advert, Eames pitched his tent on Holcombe Walk, Heaton Chapel. In return he offered tutoring and bragging rights, writing 'You would be able to tell your friends you have a Canadian physicist living in your backyard (come on, how cool is that?)' in his Reddit post.
Mantack, who had been looking for a housemate and decided Eames and his tent were as good as any, struck up quite a positive relationship with the student, affectionately nicknaming him her 'physics gnome'. Studying for his Masters in Astrophysics, he was able to tutor her in Maths and Physics for GCSEs she was taking at a local college and she told Manchester Evening News: "I loved telling people about it, I like weird out of the ordinary things like that."
In winter when snow began to pile up around the tent, his host offered her spare room repeatedly but Eames insisted on staying in his tent, pulling on two pairs of thermal trousers, a jumper, a 'onesie' and a jacket. He actually described the rain and the problem of keeping everything dry to be much harder to cope with than the snow and added that he preferred "not to impose" on Mantack considering he wasn't paying rent.
Inside the tent, he kept only a small selection of belongings, a headlamp, books, food and a toothbrush. He was lucky enough that the Alan Turing Building of Manchester University in which he conducted most of his research, contained a shower and a locker for his laptop. He compared good and bad days saying "sometimes I woke up to reeds blowing and birds singing which was really enjoyable" before mentioning a particularly bad day in February when strong winds and a blizzard forced him to re-pitch his tent late at night.
Looking back on the experience as a whole, Eames seemed ready to do it all over again, adding "it was a really fun experience, I'm super glad I did it". He explained that most people found his lifestyle odd, but his girlfriend who he met at Manchester actually came to stay in the tent with him frequently and he made a lifelong friend in Mantack. Eames has also gained minor fame on Reddit, with many users quizzing him on how he managed to cope with his unorthodox accommodation for an entire year.
Although to most people the option of camping for the best part of a year whilst attempting to study for a degree may seem a little adventurous, rising university fees and the recent cut of maintenance grants may see more students thinking outside the box. Eames himself is now off to Paris to begin a PhD so clearly the past year's accommodation neither put him off higher education nor hindered his grades.