I had no difficulty getting up – I kept waking at regular half-hourly intervals. After washing and refolding my bed clothes I went down to the Great Hall for breakfast, which started at eight.
I still felt uneasy among all those older people; self-conscious and ill-at-ease; and I was very wary of what I did as I ate my meal, desperately hoping not to show myself up to be ignorant. For the first ‘course’ we had Rice Crispies (yes, Rice Crispies!), then Bacon and egg and toast. I couldn’t say it was a filling meal: I was too bogged down with observing etiquette (or trying to observe it) to eat heartily.
We finished breakfast at quarter-past, so we all had an hour to waste/spend until the tours of the various colleges and lab’s began. I read Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals” on my bed in 19-11 until the appointed hour, when I made my way down to the Porter’s Lodge. I really did feel stifled appearance-wise because most of the others there were dressed really informally (one lad had a mucky old combat jacket and ancient, patched up jeans on) whereas I felt like I was going to a wedding (or a funeral!).
Both Science and Art-interested students set off together. We all trooped out into Turl Street and along to the Bodleian Libraries. We didn’t actually go inside but stayed outside in the courtyard. Here we all split up – we (the Arts inclined) followed Mr Young (a typical 1920s Oxford-don) around the various colleges – Christchurch, etc, the Deer Park, the Cathedral; and it ended up being really quite interesting, Oxford reminding me of a cross between Canterbury and York.
We got back to Jesus at eleven dead up. I wouldn’t have minded going round Oxford, looking at all the book shops if I had been on my own or with a friend (a close friend), but since I was with Vicky M., I didn’t want to impose my will on her, so we stayed in our rooms until twelve. I read my Durrell book. It is superb; really evocative of colourful heat-haze days on Corfu doing dreamy things in warm, sweet-scented olive groves.
At midday, round to staircase XVII I went; up all the flights of stairs to room number 12. I managed to get V. M. to come out only after several knocks (“I thought you were knocking on somebody else’s door – I didn’t know it was you”), and after giving in our keys at the Lodge, we said Goodbye to Jesus College (perhaps for ever) and went straight to the station.
We got there at 1230 (our train left platform 2 at 1300), so we sat in silence until it arrived.
The journey was quite boring (they always are) and we arrived in Whincliffe at 5.10 approx. The Easterby train was already in (an Inter-City 125) and it left at twenty past. It felt good to be going home and in no time at all we arrived in Holdsworth Station, Oxford all just a memory, as if we had never been.
I got home at about 6.30 I would say. Andrew, Mum and Dad had just had their teas and after answering the obligatory questions about the trip (and the inevitable jibes and comments about ‘romance in the air’ and so on), I had mine.
I watched television all evening (Dad and Andrew went to N.B’s) and after supper, we all came up at 12.00 p.m.
I don’t feel I’ve particularly enjoyed this visit – I haven’t loathed it either. It’s hard really to describe your feelings about such an event. I suppose I found it much as expected.