Ian (ringbark) wrote,

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Keble gaudy 1978-1982

I set off from Bromborough on Friday, just before noon, and with no trouble at all got to Liverpool. I was expecting to catch a Virgin train just after one, but was just in time to catch a Central Train. The best change was at Wolverhampton, where a few minutes later I was on a train to Oxford. Uneventful, affording me the chance to watch a couple of multimedia presentations that have been on the list for a couple of weeks.
From Oxford Station, a short taxi ride to Keble, which didn't at first glance seem to have changed at all. A quick look round the lodge and Liddon Quad, and then on to the room I was allocated over by the chapel at L7. Another quick look around, and the discovery that there was no internet available. Soon after that, I wandered off to the chapel for the service for St Alban's Day. There weren't many there, and after the service the chaplain, the servers and a couple of others adjourned to the bar, as one does on such occasions.
As time passed, more old college members joined us, and the evening continued with an indoor barbecue, for the weather was poor, and much merry-making.
Breakfast on Saturday morning, and then three lectures in the new lecture theatre, which wasn't there in my day. Indeed, there is a whole new quad, the Newman quad, which was completely new to me, offering about 120 rooms, a theatre and a hospitality area. The other noticeable changes are the adding of ensuite facilities to most of the rooms, and locked security doors on each staircase.
Anyway, the themes of the lectures were: The boyhoods of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, Issues of Global Warming and atmospheric dust, The life and achievements of I K Brunel. All three were very interesting, and completely outside of my subject area.
We now break for lunch, and after lunch the weather did not seem kind enough for croquet, so instead I spent the first part of the afternoon talking to one of the alumni, before catching the end of the South Africa/New Zealand game, quite by chance, in the JCR. Then to afternoon tea and a lecture on the state of the College. Keble has recently bought the site of the old Acland Hospital, and is seeking £44m to redevelop it as they desire. So if you know any benefactor who might be able to be lead donor, with perhaps £25m to spare, perhaps you can point them this way. The suggestion is that such a benefactor will generally donate about 1%, so we're looking for individuals or corporations whose worth exceeds £2.5bn or $5bn.
Then Evensong, which was very beautiful and not at all to my churchmanship, followed by the photograph, followed by drinks and dinner. During the drinks before dinner, Kevin and Paul, two of my peers, chatted briefly, and pointed me in the direction of our old tutor John G, and we were very pleased to catch up with each other.
After dinner, Steve Kelly gave the Gaudy speech, and gave a great speech. One moment he happened to mention the sound of the spoons banging on the table, and we showed him what that haunting sound is like. Yes, it still sounds like it always did.
After dinner, the evening continued in the bar, and the bar didn't close till well after one o'clock. The organ scholar was a little the worse for wear, and I am sure that some people only came to communion at half past eight to see whether he would make it. (He did.) Rather to my surprise, the chaplain asked me to assist with the chalice, which I was happy to do.
But after breakfast on Sunday, it was all over. I shared a taxi back to station with someone going south, while I waiting for a northbound train. Virgin to Stafford, another to Crewe, an Arriva Wales to Chester and a Merseyrail to Bromborough.
Then off to church at home, and back to normal, back to reality.
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