After a week of crime scene investigation, discussing hard and complex topics, visiting the scientific strongholds of London, and touring the sights in Oxford, students kicked back and relaxed at their well-deserved mid-session party. Once students had donned their finery and bid goodbye to their own grand house, they boarded the coach in search of another―and another they did find, on drawing up to the imposing 18th-century façade of Kingston Bagpuize House.
The town of Kingston Bagpuize was renamed for the nobleman Ralph de Bachepuz from the commune of Bacquepuis in Normandy, soon after the conquest of England in 1066. The House was built many centuries later, and in the 20th century was home to the son of John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir and writer of The Thirty-Nine Steps.
So, students were in good historical company―and within a strong literary setting too, which was very fitting for the theme of the event, inspired by Oxford academic CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Students feasted on gourmet popcorn and turkish delight; then, the braver ones amongst them took their chances in the gladiator ring, or having their palms read by the mysterious Madame Kundalini.
Then it was time to hit the dancefloor, amongst snowy firs and frozen fountains, as the noble Aslan looked on. The place lit up with disco lights and students’ energy, as they threw some shapes and moved to the music. Whilst they did not quite tread until dawn, students kept dancing well into the evening, and continued to do so up the steps of the coach and across the lawns to their bedrooms in the Manor cottages―remembering all the while: “Once a King [or Queen] in Narnia, always a King [or Queen] in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice.”