Enemy territory

Being in Oxford during term-time feels like being in enemy territory. Especially when I got off the train last night wearing my bright red Scottish Rival-University sweatshirt. Yeah, there I go being conspicuous.

I was supposed to be in London this weekend, but a quick turn of events required a desperate plea sent to my friends in Oxford, and I am now enjoying the comforts of staying with their lovely family. I hope to do some wandering tomorrow, read, and hang out with Bronnie as her time allows. Then she and I will be going to London for British Library training, and then it’s back north for me.

What I really miss about Oxford are its parks: University Parks and Christ Church Meadow. We don’t really have an equivalent. The Cathedral is lovely, and I enjoy wandering in the cemetery, but I miss trees. I haven’t yet gone down Lade Braes, so maybe I’m just ignorant. I have been intimidated by how far a walk it seems to get there, and whether my knees will thank me for it later.

Scotland seems more austere than southern England: all stone and the shocking contrast of green, with the furrowed brow of Presbyterianism scowling down at you from the peaked rooftops. Our town is smaller than Oxford, we make do with less. But the austerity develops a steelness of character—unless that is simply the result of a Texan-transplant in Scotland, one rebellious spirit compounded with another. Our motto is, of course, Aien aristeuein—‘Ever to be the best’.