‘Do you have a wedding, Jesus?’

They hadn’t bothered ‘putting the kettle on’, and they didn’t put their friendliest bowler-hatted man on the gate, they opened early but nothing happened. They tell you off for sitting in the wrong place, because ‘it looks bad for the tourists’ (on open day?), and still leave their rubbish sacks out. And no rooms available to look at, but they ‘are really nice’.

Good to know.

Christ Church, Oxford

I had shared a room with Daughter and allowed her to let Stephen Fry and Harry Potter share as well. Ron Weasley was shouting down the phone as I fell asleep, and when I woke up Fred and George were giving Harry the Marauder’s map. So I daresay it was fitting that Christ Church told people about Harry almost on arrival. We were allowed a peep in through the doors to the hall. And one of the porters told me to keep turning left, which could be taken as a political instruction if you like.

Philip Pullman’s Exeter gave me tea. That’s enough to get my vote. Generally quite lovely, we thought. Could have sworn the choir sang Silent Night, but maybe not. Nice with some distant hymn singing, however.

Knowing I’d need rest from colleges at some point, I had fished for people to eat lunch with, and the lovely Katherine Langrish and Joanna Kenrick both gave up their days and came into Oxford to eat Lebanese with us. Very nice to see them, and great food.

Katherine Langrish and Joanna Kenrick

The Jesus quote above is from Katherine, who had a sad tale about college porters and a lost wedding. In between the chicken liver (yes, I know, but better than the brains of lambs) and all the veggie stuff, there was time for gossip and some discussion about writing and how hard it can be to get past page three. (No, not that kind of page three.) And also how to get any writing done while dealing with toddlers, or any other family members who may have needs that come before literature.

Joanna is doing her best to avoid pink, which can be hard with a series called Sweethearts, and Katherine may have to think up a whole new world, which I gather is not as easy as it sounds.

To anyone who feels the report above is shorter than they wanted, I have to say that Joanna and Katherine spoke ‘off the record’ a fair bit. They said… And then they mentioned… There is also a photo I’m not using. But other than that there were no secrets.

It was a very hot day, and a hot bookwitch is not a pretty sight. Nor is a cool one, come to think of it. At the physics department I saw ‘the coldest thing I’ll ever see’, if I’m to believe the man playing with dry ice and colder stuff, and going on about Kelvin this and Kelvin that.

Coldest ever or not, we were still melting as we shuffled to our bus and our hosts and a great dinner in an Oxfordshire garden, to the peals of bell ringing. There must have been a murder somewhere.

(Photos by Helen Giles)

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4 responses to “‘Do you have a wedding, Jesus?’

  1. adele geras

    Lovely picture, Bookwitch and Kath and Jo look cool as cucumbers! Is that Lebanese restaurant up on the first floor, just near Waterstone’s?? If so, it was once the Kemp cafe where I spent most of my mornings between 63 and 66, having coffee and cinnamon toast…there’s nowhere like Oxford for bringing on nostalgia. Hope Daughter decides to go there….

  2. It’s not, Adèle. This one is in Jericho. Very nice, and I keep wanting to go there.

    It has to be Oxford that decides who they want, unfortunately.

  3. It was just as lovely to meet you (and daughter)! To whom thanks for a photo that for once doesn’t look as though it should have the caption “WANTED” beneath it…

  4. Those sunglasses would have completed the ‘rich and famous’ look, you know. And you are wanted but only in the nice sense.

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