Almost everywhere, so long as it has been a place of habitation for a reasonable length of time, comes to be the home of ghost stories. There are the headless men (or, in some cases, Nearly Headless); the ghostly riders forever astride a horse; the lovers lamenting the loss of their betrothed— or a thousand other variations. Oxford, as the students were thrilled to learn last night, is far from being an exception to this rule.
The morning was spent in a trip to the Oxford Union, the home of the University’s debates and talks, and in lessons: the essay questions for the week have now been handed out, and students are determined to do well. In the early afternoon, students had the chance to wander Oxford by themselves, especially enjoying the milkshakes and cookies Oxford has to offer. Back on the campus Steve, our Junior Dean, organised a game of non-contact rugby; as a sportsman in both rugby and football for Oxford University, Steve knows his stuff, and the games were a big success. Off the pitch, the sports session led to heated debates on the perennial comparison between Messi and Ronaldo, and it is fortunate that there will be more matches in which students can attempt to emulate their idols!
With the afternoon’s activities complete and supper enjoyed, many students took the chance to get a head start on their essays by spending the evening in the Homework Club; others, however, met outside Trinity College’s illustrious gates in the falling twilight.
As dusk settled and night descended, a walking tour perambulated through Oxford’s most other-worldly parts, the students rapt participants.
The spirit of academic, evidence-based scepticism, so important in their morning studies, was partially suspended as students enjoyed tales of gruesome murders and misdeeds in centuries past. From the aptly-named ‘Dead Man’s Walk’ running along the top of Christchurch Meadow –apparently, if unsupportedly, so named due to the route taken on funeral processions by medieval Jews— to the ghost of the beheaded Archbishop Laud still wandering the library of St John’s College, students were given a new view of Oxford. We can’t blame them if they had difficulty falling asleep!