For any Kiwi who has spent time living in London, Julian Assange — the Australia-born Wikileaks founder who has been crashing at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012 — will cut a strikingly familiar figure.
Assange is the ultimate Aussie dosser.
Our trans-Tasman cousins are notorious for arriving at a London-based mate's house with little more than a sleeping bag, a rucksack and a well-thumbed Lonely Planet to their name.
"Sure thing, mate," the unwitting hosts say.
"Come in. You can crash for as long as you need."
Three weeks later, the Aussie dosser is ensconced on your sofa and passing their days watching TV and surfing the net. After two months, the flatmates can no longer remember who invited the dosser in there in the first place. Four months later — with dosser undies drying on the radiator — the hints are wearing thin. ("See anything good on gumtree.com today, mate? Any jobs? Perhaps a flat?")
The Ecuadorians dropped the ultimate hint when they cut off Assange's Wi-Fi last year.
Pity the poor Ecuadorian diplomat who rises from his desk mid-morning to make a cup of tea in the office kitchen only to find the Wikileaks founder — shirtless and wearing just a pair of daggy trackpants — standing at the fridge door and swigging straight from the milk bottle.
The acorn never falls far from the tree. His doss at the Ecuadorian embassy is just a couple of tube stops away from Earl's Court — once known as "Kangaroo Valley" due to Assange's XXXX-swilling predecessors who descended upon the neighbourhood in the 1960s and 1970s.
Managing dossers (and correct dosser behaviour) is an integral part of the classic OE experience. So it's important to get it right.
Following a change in the political winds in Ecuador's capital Quito, Assange — with whom the Swedish authorities would like a quiet word about alleged sex offences — might soon find himself no longer welcome as an embassy guest.
Never outstay your welcome.
Originally published 21 February 2017, fifty-six months into the Assange residency
House rules: Dossing dos and donts
Dossing in a London flat can be the start of a wonderful OE, opening the door to some of your greatest travel experiences. But it's worth observing a few common courtesies.
The classic dosser will be sleeping on a sofa. If this is you, clear your stuff away each morning. To keep the housemates on your side, go a little further and do a few of the housework chores that rarely get done properly. The flatties will appreciate you more if they come home to a sparkling clean toilet and gleaming windows.
Reach for your wallet
Keep the flat's supply of milk and bread freshly stocked. Best of all, surprise the housemates with the occasional lavish treat —a good bottle of wine or perhaps some nice chocolate.
No sex please, you're dossers
Don't go bringing prospective lovers home for a romantic interlude on the sofa. The people whose flat you're staying in are going to sit on that couch. (Though hat-tip to the dosser king, Julian Assange, who has apparently become romantically involved with Pamela Anderson while dossing at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.)
Don't get any dossers
It's bad enough that you're cribbing on someone else's sofa, resist the urge to bring home a dosser of your own.
Know when to walkaway
Assange is deep into his fourth London winter as a guest of the Ecuadorians. Decency suggests one week is the perfect length for a doss; a fortnight tops.
Pass it forward
When you do finally get a flat of your own, be generous with the hospitality.
Got a great dossing story from your London days? Send your tale to firstname.lastname@example.org
— Leila George