There have been a few highlights in lockdown, not many and certainly not enough to justify the continued restrictions the government seems content to keep us living under, but sometimes we do need to look on the bright side. For me, contrary to all expectations, one such silver lining is that I have become much better friends with my housemates.

It’s not like we were strangers before lockdown. Our house doesn’t have a high turnover of occupants – half of us have lived here over 3 years – and we were always happy to have a natter while waiting for the kettle to boil but we didn’t socialise much, almost never outside of the house, and our friendship groups don’t overlap. Unlike most renters I know – who live with partners, colleagues, or university friends – we are a SpareRoom house, randomly thrown together by the internet and London’s sky-high housing costs.

Then lockdown came. How were we not going to kill each other? Six people, in one house, no visitors, no respite, no toilet roll. Housemate A saw the lockdown coming and moved in with his boyfriend but who coped better? the relatively new couple forced by circumstances to take the leap into co-habiting or the five of us left behind?

Three of the five were furloughed immediately, leaving the still working two housemates to bond over the shared kitchen table. Nothing like uncomfortable chairs, never-ending Zoom meetings, and a lack of plug sockets to charge laptops to turn a friendly relationship into a proper friendship.

Lockdown has taken it to the next level. It started with the Saturday night joint viewing of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. We were all going to watch it anyway so why not watch together? Then someone caves and orders a takeaway and well, go on then, it’s supporting local businesses after all. Fast forward twelve weeks and Jadia Essence Hall scooped the crown, but All Stars Season 5 has filled the gap. Some of us have noticed the impact on our wallets (and waistlines) so bid a sad farewell to the takeaway but the tradition still stands. When Saturday night rolls around, you know where to find us.

And it just spiralled from there. The boardgame purchases were made, very handy for me as I relied on the combined height of Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity, and the Downton Abbey version of Cluedo to get my laptop in the best angle for any meeting that needed me to ditch the loungewear in favour of proper attire and turn my camera on.

We had afternoon tea to celebrate the Queen’s birthday – complete with homemade scones to the Buckingham Palace recipe – we’ve invested in household appliances like a jet washer and tidied up the garden, and we’ve spent far too much money on a joint household Patch Plants order. The shared bathroom now looks like a rainforest.

We even risked a trip to IKEA! The blue and yellow Swedish icon has dented many a seemingly rock-solid marriage, but we had a great time. One bag of meatballs and a hundred tealights later, we’re not only still friends but we have any number of boxes of flatpack furniture to build over the weekend.

It hasn’t been plain sailing, we’ve had the occasional tussle over the volume of the TV and whether or not it was ok to monopolise the living room for an hour for a work call but by and large we’ve survived and even thrived with only each other for company. We all know a lot more about each other than we did before by virtue of working in the same room and endlessly walking into the background of video calls with parents, friends, and sometimes colleagues.

There are multiple ways to experience every event and just as some people living alone will have loved the solitude or felt the isolation, many of those sharing their homes will have had a frustrating and difficult time of it. All our major towns and cities need to examine their house building and cut red tape across the planning system because a situation where there are more renters than homeowners isn’t good for anyone. Choice in the housing market is essential and the availability of homes for single people, especially in London, is abysmal and just because I’ve enjoyed living with these guys for the next few months doesn’t mean I want to do it forever.

But, looking back over my time in lockdown, it would have been a hell of a lot harder without them so for that I am grateful.