Monday, April 23, 2007

So Take The Photographs and Still Frames In Your Mind

So Take The Photographs and Still Frames In Your Mind

Some time after 3.00pm I'd rushed out of the WYP - on the back of a week of the Storytelling Festival that, with its 12 hour days, had almost killed me - and jumped on a train just as the doors were about to close. Four hours (and a detour to Manchester) later my train pulled into Oxford station. I rushed up to the New Theatre where the ushers did their very best to win an award in the DA FoH Awards by storing my reasonbly large overnight bag without questioning why I'd come to a McFly concert with it. And since this was a theatre and everything they served ice cream in between the support act and McFly. I consider this a rather wonderful idea and think more venues should adopt such a policy, however messy it might ultimately turn out to be.

After McFly there was a stop at Ali's Kebab Van (though it seemed to be minus Ali), from where I could see the house and the room where I started this blog. Only now, devoid of people living there, it was rather strange to look across at it. My house. My room.

The next day we awoke to discover that the sun had (unexpectedly) decided to put in a prolonged appearance. It was off down to Christ Church and to the Old Sheep Shop (where I'd, somehow, never taken Nik) where we searched for Alice presents for Dean. Then, with hardly concealed excitement, it was onwards to Blackwells where I spent an obscene amount of time in the second hand department (coming back with some Mansfield and an out of print book on Byron) and pondered on buying a first edition of the RSC's version of the complete works (I didn't, on grounds of how heavy it would be given my other purchases and the large Gatsby poster I'd picked up across the road).

Lunch was at the Eagle and Child (or the Bird and Baby for those in the know), under the ever watchful eyes of Tolkein and C S Lewis.

Then, legs aching and the heat starting to make me wonder if the hard backed Byron had really been a good idea, we made our way to the University Parks and my duck pond. And there we lay and I was utterly content just sitting. Maybe more content than I used to be when this was part of my revision ritual and I had at least to keep up some of the pretence that I was reading or making notes instead of listening to my music and people watching. Now I don't have to pretend.

It was laying here that it hit me that this is the part of Oxford I miss hopelessly. Oxford in the early summer. Oxford with its ducks and unknown areas. Oxford with its easy familiarity.

But soon I was back at the station and starting my four hour return journey, on a train where the only room was possibly a small gap to the right of the toilet near carriage D. And Oxford, my Oxford, is once again just a memory.

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