I’m going to Oxford and I am BEYOND excited about it!
It won’t be my first trip to ‘the city of dreaming spires’ as poet Matthew Arnold described it. Around a dozen years ago I went with my husband for a mooch around. We stayed in Keble College in a undergraduate room just for the full authentic experience, and had breakfast served to us in a room that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Hogwarts.
For the whole of the time
we were there my heart was running wild in my chest. It’s one of those places, like Rome or New York that you’ve seen on the screen so many times you feel like you already know your way around. Four of my very, very favourite things to watch were filmed in the city – Another Country, Brideshead Revisited, Inspector Morse and more recently Lewis.
It’s interesting, perhaps, that three of these were programmes I watched when I was teetering on the cusp of adulthood. What they revealed was a world full of beauty and opportunity just waiting for me to discover for myself. Whilst I love the characters in all of them, what seemed to make an even greater impression on the young me was the environment that the characters found themselves in. How could you possibly fail to thrive in such hallowed halls? The Oxford section of Brideshead, for example, is a very small part of the whole, magnificent series, but whenever I think of Charles Ryder it is always in college with Sebastian and Aloysius.
these programmes are my comfort viewing. I can quote whole sections of each, having watched them all countless times, but I never grow tired of any of them.
When we were in Oxford, my husband and I joked about running into Inspector Lewis, like you do, and then just around the very next corner we came across the film crew. Sadly, we didn’t see Messrs Whately and Fox, but just being near where the programme was being created set me all a flutter. You can see how excited I was just from looking at me!
So, when it looked
like I was finally going to be released from a year of being pretty much trapped in Yorkshire, where did I find myself searching for hotels for my first post-pandemic writing trip but Oxford.
You may remember in a previous blog post, I discussed what it felt like for my creative well to run dry over lockdown. Where else to have it refilled than a city that just oozes history, literature, learning and intrigue?
Usually when I go on a research trip I have a story in mind and often I am already in the middle of writing it and so am looking for specific locations to include. But this time I have nothing like that in my head. I don’t even have the kernel of an idea of a book to set there.
I Just want to go!
In fact, I am being pulled so strongly to the place that it is beyond me to resist. I don’t know what I will find, whether it will be the start of a new project for me or just the first, long overdue step back to some sort of normality. All I do know is that my hotel is booked and I can’t wait!
My New Reading Room
In other news, the eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed a new tab on my website. This is my new Reading Room, but access is restricted, so if you want to be one of the privileged few to get in then you’ll need to sign up to my Newsletter. (Link to your right.)
Until next time . . .