House staff reveal the strangest things they’ve come across at RHS — Olivia King

Eating, sleeping and going about our daily business at RHS is something we rarely pay much attention to; it’s easy. However, it is not often enough that we stop to consider those who are left to deal with whatever mess we leave behind after eating, sleeping and going about our business. 

We all know that the cleaners and house staff do a brilliant job in making sure RHS functions, although few of us (apart from the culprits) know the half of what they actually have to deal with. 

This week, I’ve had both the horror and amusement of collating different house’s tales of the solved and unsolved mysteries, all of which have been stumbled upon and much to our gratitude, fixed by cleaners and house staff. These are the stories which both tickle and disturb those who discovered them, and for the sake of not haunting them any more than necessary, we’ll keep the guilty and traumatised anonymous.

Here are the 5 strangest things that they’ve come across…

5) Mobile phones and entire textbooks in the washing machine. In the school’s laundry system, it is not uncommon to find your average RHS merchandise in pockets or bundled up inside clothing; take an early mess card for example. However, the more obscure the object that finds its way into the washing machine, the more it puzzles the house staff as to how it got there and, most importantly, how it got there unnoticed. When a mobile phone and a hefty science textbook landed up in the next pile of washing, matron tells me she can wash anything but she can’t wash that.

4) Random triangular marks on the carpet. Although suggesting some sort of cultlike activity, it has been otherwise suggested that an iron may have been involved. However, this was still undoubtably disconcerting for whoever discovered a series of triangular patches on the upstairs carpet of a boarding house. Nobody admitted it, just causally wandering through the house, blissfully unaware of the headache and source of frustration they caused the cleaners and house staff.

3) Floating bread. Now, in my inquiry into the strangest things found at RHS, I have been given various pieces of information about a certain starchy carb, (bread), floating in various curious substances. One of which, I’ve been told, had bubbles; the other, being a translucent, apple juice coloured liquid. Only the cleaners assure me it wasn’t apple juice— I dread to think. So apparently, floating bread isn’t too much of rarity. The house staff wish it was.

2) Speaking of bread, butter is a common spread for toast, not the walls. However, I have been informed by my anonymous sources that one house in particular seems to provide a suitable environment to find butter clinging to clumps of brick. If cementing is an area you are interested in and plastering the walls is your forte, it seems to me that you may be using the wrong materials. So, if you’re reading this, please leave it to the professionals. 

1) What we’ve all been waiting for: What made it into first place? I can tell you, its a curious one. One which involves toilets, masking tape and cardboard. I have to admit, this one did genuinely make me laugh, but for all the wrong reasons. This, I’m told, happened in the school block so anybody could have committed this dreadful misjudgement of humour and, the culprit is still at large. The cleaners, to their dismay, discovered every toilet with a new creative addition. A thin piece of cardboard (with holes) had made its way onto the toilet seats, under the lid. It wasn’t until closer inspection that the cleaners realised that the holes in the cardboard each had its own numerical value, much like a dart board points system. What’s worse is that the culprit clearly meant for their invention to stay, judging by the excess of duct tape used to secure it to the seat— more duct tape, the cleaners said, than they’d ever seen before.

So, we’ve heard the stories from the house staff and cleaners themselves and although seemingly amusing, all of these incidents create additional work for the people who so often go unthanked. They really have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and we should all make a conscious effort to be more thankful for their huge contribution to school life. So before the half term, wish the cleaners and house staff a pleasant break, and try to limit the weird and wonderful discoveries they make just to the wonderful. And if you only take one thing from this article, remember this. Butter is neither a carb, nor an adhesive.

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