And now returning to Oxford for another look back…
World War I
The 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I, which was acknowledged heavily. In our college common room is engraved the names of those in just our small college who were killed in World War I. World War II is over another mantle in the common room. It is a sobering reminder anytime I’m in there, but particularly so on this anniversary year. Our college is one of the smaller ones and their sacrifice was so great. Multiply that by all the colleges that comprise Oxford University and the loss must have been devastating. Seeing the names reminds me of the beginning of Chariots of Fire, which takes place just after the war:
“…name after name which I cannot read. And which we, who are older than you, cannot hear without emotion. Names which will be only names to you, the new college, but to us summon up face after face full of honesty and goodness, zeal and vigor.” -Chariots of Fire
I took a long walk one of the days I was feeling well, planning my next writing project, and upon getting lost stumbled upon this.
This is the imp who lives in our college.
This is the front gate of the college, which are normally only closed at night, which were closed and locked (we could enter with a key) during a busy Saturday, due to conflicting protests and counter-protests to do with the Middle East. Everything was very peaceful and didn’t come near our college, but the precaution was sobering reminder of the state of the rest of the world and how many scared and hurting people are on both sides.
Punting Trip! There were four or five boats in our little flotilla.
Then a storm blew in.
Sunset view from a riverside pub, the first stop on our end-of-term pub crawl
Then there was graduation, so well attended that some of us watched it live streamed from the pub.
After saying tearful good-byes at breakfast, I took a walk around the city the morning we checked out to say good-bye to the city itself. I had been in bad shape the night. The illness I battled earlier in the summer had come back much stronger, and particularly bad in a respiratory sense. I spent a frightened night trying to pack and also breathe and terrified I was going to end up in the hospital and missing my flight. I am truly indebted to the amazing friends who helped me out that morning, making a scary thing much less scary. I just remember feeling so thankful as I took this walk. Sad to leave, but thankful for a magical summer with amazing friends.
My final view of London from the hotel:
My final view of the “pleasant pastures green”