More years ago than I really care to remember my year group at the girls’ grammar school I attended disappointed our headteacher. Every year for as long as anyone could remember the school had sent a group of girls, as many as 10 a year, to study at Oxford or Cambridge University. Not a bad record for a state school of around 600 girls! But then we were the post war baby boomer girls, encouraged to do anything that boys could do –and more – and we had a headmistress who was determined to make us realise our potential.
We, she insisted, were the lucky ones, bright enough to make it to the grammar school and we should make her proud. Those who left school at 16 were interviewed and made to feel that they had let themselves down, had let their parents down but most of all they had let HER down.
Be that as it may, my year refused for some reason to apply for the big two universities. We went off to university and good ones at that but not Oxford or Cambridge.
Well, this weekend it was to Oxford that my Phil and I went. An old friend was getting married. Long ago we had been to his first wedding and now we were off to his second. The wedding service was held in Saint Edmund Hall, the college where the bride had studied. She clearly would not have disappointed my headmistress. The wedding service was quietly, graciously happy, complete with a piper; we thought we were back in Galicia for a moment.
And then we moved to the reception held in a hotel which used to be Oxford prison, complete with the old cells, now presumably converted into nice comfortable bedrooms.
We had an excellent time, meeting up with old friends we had not seen for years and visiting the city itself. I can quite understand those who fall in love with studying in Oxford, a delightful place to get lost in a subject you love!
The city was full of bicycles, just as the guide books say, even in places with signs banning them.
We even impressed friends by using our Manchester bus passes on Oxford buses!
The only hiccough was the train back. Well, it was Sunday, wasn’t it? So they were working on the lines and we had to catch the diversion bus to Banbury before continuing by train. And then the train was somewhat overcrowded and some of the people crammed into our so-called quiet carriage did not seem aware that “quiet” meant not keeping up mobile phone conversations for over an hour!
This blog post was more or less written on that very train but didn’t get posted until today because of my busy life.
On our return on Sunday evening I simply had to bake a friendship cake. Now a friendship cake is rather like a chain letter or one of those things you used to do when you were a child where you had to send postcards to six people and would eventually receive loads of postcards back. A friendship cake is better however because you feed it for about 10 days then split it into four portions. Three portions are given away (to friends, of course) and the last one you mix with a lot of other ingredients and bake. Unlike chain letters and postcard rounds, instead of possible bad luck or a load of past cards you don’t want, with a friendship cake you end up with a good cake to eat at the end of the ten days. Mine was ready for baking on Sunday evening when we returned.
Then yesterday I had to meet up with the ladies who lunch and go and eat out in Manchester. In the evening an old friend came round and shared a bottle of wine and ate some of the aforementioned friendship cake.
And today I have had yet another trip to Manchester for an Italian class. On my return we had to help celebrate my granddaughter’s birthday, which we missed on Saturday because of the wedding. And finally my daughter and I went for our usual Tuesday swim, followed by a long phone call to offspring number one who is off to Indonesia for a month tomorrow.
So you see, my life has just been too busy to blog!!