Wednesday 6 June 2007

Stuck-in-a-Book's Oxford

A few of my regular readers (don't I sound like a gossip columnist?) have mentioned that they enjoy the glimpses of Oxford filtring through my general book-chat. They increased, of course, during my exam time - but perhaps you wouldn't mind a longer glimpse (can one have a long glimpse?) into Oxford through the eyes of Stuck-in-a-Book. With that in mind, I took myself and my camera out yesterday, and made a photo tour. Things of interest to me, which wouldn't necessarily be found in guide books. Hope you enjoy, because the Photo Tour is going to last for a few posts. Above is a map, with numbers indicating where the photos are taken, and dots for the path trodden. Nothing I and Microsoft Paint can't achieve, when we put our minds to it.

#1 Magdalen
You've seen Magdalen before, so this is just to show that we're leaving, and the door through which I go almost every day, often many times. Strange little porch to the auditorium, flanked by blue metal gates - one needs my keys; the other my 'bod card'. Magdalen feels a little like a fortress sometimes, but at least it's a beautiful one.

#2 Waterfield's
The nearest secondhand bookshop to Magdalen - very close, as you can see on the map - and a source of delight to me because of this. The stock doesn't change much, but it's always nice to have a quick browse in there, and the books chosen for the window are always done so thoughtfully. They even had a Persephone book in the window a while ago, when it was Bloomsbury themed. Guess which one? Oxford had seven secondhand bookshops when I arrived, and is now at six (two closed; one opened) - you can tell why I like this city.

#3 Exam Schools
This is the exit out of which I came for all my exams, excepting the final one. The actual door is just to the right of the green and white tent (no idea why that was there - they're not short on room inside the building), but for our final exam, we go out the back. Dozens of ushers stand around lunging at those with red carnations. My friend Lorna still managed to walk out the wrong door... we were waiting with flowers and balloons, and she came from the wrong direction. Oh dear.

#4 NatWest

Definitely not one for the guide books. Just to show how far I have to walk whenever I want to take out money... it's a long journey, especially when you just want £10 to put on your laundry card...

#5 GnD's

Look carefully for this one. Since I stole the map from their website, the GnD's restaurants are highlighted by stars, and rightly so. These are good old fashioned ice cream parlours, and the first point of call for first years trying to work out why they ever left their comfortable, familiar homes. Note that it is called 'George & Danver' - this will become important later. They have tubs of wonderful ice cream, pricey but exquisite, flavours varying from chocolate, vanilla etc. to 'Oxford Blue' (blueberry) and a weekly 'petition flavour', voted for my customers. Things like chocolate and chilli, or cornflakes. Anything goes. GnD's is renowned for being open til midnight (about the only eaterie that is) and is between the two most popular student churches - thus is generally filled with people either pre- or post- Bible study/church/cell groups.

#6 Famous Birth Place
Last one for today, and discovered when I was wandering through pretty little streets one afternoon. Accidentally discovered the birth place of Dorothy L. Sayers, and a lovely birth place it is too. More next time...


  1. Thank you for the tour. Its many many years since I visited G&Ds - but the memory lingers. Keep up the good work

  2. Lovely tour! And it was sunny...

  3. I am loving this tour! I'm already looking forward to the next installment.

  4. Loved the tour, Simon! Am positively green with envy, too... Oh, to walk in your shoes. Sigh.


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