“Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman’s day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days – such as that day – when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour.”
I finally got around to reading Brideshead Revisited, many years after having seen the latest movie adaptation from 2008 with Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode. Coincidentally, I recently also managed to visit Oxford at last and stroll around the city in the footsteps of Charles and Sebastian.
While my attire for the day was probably not up to par with that of the characters, I did at least wear a university-worthy outfit with a brown herringbone jacket, grey wool trousers and a pair of cognac Oxfords.
It’s quite an experience to walk around the city and simply take in the atmosphere of such a well-renowned academic environment and unlike Harvard, I got the sense that tradition is still a important factor in the way that things are run here. While I have no desire or intention to return to the world of academia anytime soon, I wouldn’t have minded a chance to roam the campuses here with a stack of books under my arm, a date waiting to go punting on the river, an air of endless potential ahead of me and this song playing in the background.