Oxford – 23rd August 2019

Out and about by 10.30am being Tommy the Tourist. We were not sure the best way to see the city and learn about the history. It was either a Hop On Hop Off bus or a guided foot tour. The bus option was crossed off fairly quickly as we could see that the roads in inner Oxford City didn’t make themselves amendable to their size.


Whilst walking towards the Tourist Information Centre we came across groups of people who were queuing for the guided foot tour. On questioning we discovered the different types of guided tours included the Free Paid (?????) tour or the Free Free (tip sternly suggested twice) tour. We opted for the Free Free tour as Toque couldn’t go on the other one.


Our guide Freddy who lived in Oxford for 15 years and was now a student at Durham Uni in Newcastle gave us a reasonable overview of the different colleges.


There are 39 colleges altogether and you cannot attend Oxford University unless you are affiliated to one of them. This means you do not have to live in residence. As you can imagine, there is a pecking order as to which college is the most elitist. The Brits are good at this.

We were told that there are mutings that the fees are going to triple so you can imagine the cats are massacring the pigeons. It was very sad to hear that some of the colleges did not become co-ed until the 1970’s. Women only colleges were first recorded in 1879. The following paragraph is a sad indictment as to how poorly women have been treated by privileged white males.

It is not possible to answer precisely the question ‘who was the first woman graduate?’ Before October 1920, women were not allowed to matriculate (ie be admitted to become members of the University) or to graduate. From the late 1870s, women had attended lectures, taken examinations, and had gained honours in those examinations. They were, however, unable to receive the degree to which, had they been men, their examinations would have entitled them. Hmmm, don’t get Di started.


Fraser climbed up one of the spires of St Mary’s Church to get these panoramic shots.


What becomes very obvious is that it is all set up on quadrangles. The stone is limestone and is very similar to Bath.

Last night we visited the most infamous pub in Oxford, so this afternoon we visited the oldest pub in Oxford, The Bear. It had all these ties that the publican had been collecting since the 1970’s which took away from the charm of the pub as the glass cases they were in looked tacky. Di went upstairs to the ladies and even she had to bend over as the roof was so short.

It took us a while to find where you could hire the punts from. They were up on the Creswell River which empties into the Thames. Fraser was quite keen to give it a go but at £30 for a half hour it quickly dissipated his desire and Di felt there was better ways to make a romantic gesture.


By now and according to Di’s Fitbit, we had done 19,000 steps in temperatures in the high 20’s. Toque had had enough and was ensconced in our arms. Of course the pathetic look was in full bloom making us look like abusive parents. She scored many a pat and new admirers. So that is the end of our Oxford tour. We spent the remainder of the late afternoon and early evening with our feet up and listening to the second day of the third Ashes match.


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