You’ve probably not heard of it, but there’s a small university town – about an hour’s train ride from London – which is, on balance, an agreeable sort of place. The buildings are moderately pretty, the river a diverting backdrop for a mid-afternoon stroll, the students uncouth but tolerable in fair weather. I speak, of course, of Oxford, where I spent last weekend recuperating with Sophie ‘I collect universities like stamps’ Rodger. We ate, we drank, we made ourselves sad watching videos of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown with angry incomprehension, we made ourselves happier again with ice cream. (I don’t mean to suggest any real connection between this unfunny bigot and Oxford, other than I happened to be there shortly after learning of this existence.)
As it happens, the last time I’d stepped off that train onto that platform was seven years ago, which caused a mini-flood of memories. Although this was swiftly overtaken by plain envy that Oxford train station is much better than Cambridge’s, and doesn’t require you to trek halfway to London to get to it. Sigh.