The College Gaudy – which comes round once a decade or so – always brings back happy memories. I have no excuse for non-attendance, living only 40 miles away.
Oxford looks at its best in the September sunshine, particularly away from the crowds: University College’s lawns are like bowling greens and the front quad’s window boxes filled with late Summer colour. As an undergraduate, I had opened my first bank account with Barclays, at the branch just up the High from the college gate: Mr. Jenkinson was the manager – I briefly fancied his daughter, a nurse. I went into the bank building again yesterday afternoon, but this time for lunch with four others in my year: it’s now a restaurant.
At dinner in Hall, we numbered about 75, but prior to that we had been entertained to tea in the Master’s Lodgings, a lecture on the intellectual underpinning of Thatcherism, and evensong in Chapel. Before breakfast today I walked in Christ Church Meadow, down the Cherwell path to the Isis and back up the tree-lined avenue. Someone was busy at their laptop, sitting on a bench in front of the Meadow Building.
Seeing how I and so many of my contemporaries had prospered made me ask, was the currently proposed level of tuition fees so terribly unjust?