Thursday 17 November 2011

Ivory Towers, Misty Eyes

Last week I packed my bags for a tour of England.  First on the itinerary was a visit to Lady Traveller's Little Sister (LTLS) in Oxford where she is now in the process of becoming a Very Learned Lady and where, once upon a time, I was a student.  

LTLS made it clear that she would have limited patience for crying and/or nostalgia and/or yearning for my lost youth.  But it's hard: Oxford never seems to change very much and this, I suppose, is its charm but also its treachery.  Walking along Turl St I really wouldn't have been surprised to have bumped into my 20 year old self.  Instead, we saw these four dogs parked outside Exeter College.  LTLS surmised that the greyhound was the getaway driver.

It's all so goddamned beautiful, what with the golden stone, the golden leaves, the golden lights in the library...

 ... and a conveniently placed full moon illuminating the lady on top of the Sheldonian theatre.

The next day, I persuaded LTLS to put on her hat and embrace the time-travel feel of my visit.  She endured this (and my photography), but with a certain lack of enthusiasm.

Yay for the Pitt Rivers Museum, which - by not changing its displays for 150 years - finds itself bang in fashion.

One of my favourite things in the museum is the COLLECTION BOX featuring anthropologists who will perform a sacred rite if you give them money.  Pictured on right is LTLS who is almost an anthropologist.

Darn It & Stitch is new since my day: a very sweet haberdashery on Blue Boar St.

Another great new (well new to me) find was the Albion Beatnik bookshop on Walton St: new and secondhand books and tea.  Great selection of books including (frabjous day!) a copy of Uncommon Arrangements, a book about Bloomsbury marriages.  I gave my copy to the Salvos when I left Melbourne and regretted it ever since.

Finally, here's me, looking distinctly misty-eyed as I gaze at the window of my former kitchen in Jericho.

I haven't spent much time in Oxford since I graduated and so this was a somewhat bittersweet visit.  With Oxford, it's not so much a case of not being able to step in the same river twice.  More, the river is exactly the same, but it's full of other people who are entirely absorbed in the goings on of this one small city and all faintly pity you because you're not.  However, any nostalgia-induced blues I felt were satisfactorily countered by frequent stops for tea and cake.  And that's the other important thing to note about Oxford: there's always somewhere for tea and cake.

1 comment:

  1. LTLS is totally an anthropologist. Also, is someone enjoying the ye olde photoshoppe opportunities of her new computer a little too much?