Oxford is home to many traditions, and one of them is May Morning.
This is how you do it: get up at about 4am, try to put on your clothes the right way round and walk into the city centre. Don’t jump off Magdalen Bridge.
Stand in front of Magdalen Tower and admire the people who come from last night’s party and look more awake than you will feel for the whole day. Wait for crowds to assemble properly.
Wait patiently until 6am. Listen to Magdalen College Choir intoning the Hymnus Eucharisticus and madrigals, and the chiming of the tower bells. Applaud.
Follow the crowds on the High Street up to Radcliffe Camera. Leave a minute or two to ponder any signs you come across.
Divert your attention to May Morning get-ups ranging from leafy headgear to walking trees.
Upon arrival or along the way, take in any occurrences of Samba, pipers and Scottish dancers, rock music, English folk music or Morris dancing.
Finally, try to find a pub that’s only 105% full so you can have breakfast. Failing that, try and make your way home. Can’t guarantee that’s possible, though.
For the time being, we’re in Britain, and last week we had a lovely day out in Oxford. Of course, the colleges in all their non-Cantabrian modesty (
aka pomp) are always worth a visit, and this time we went to see Balliol (having been into Pembroke, Magdalen, and St Edmund’s before).
Pretty much all colleges sport some pretty or not so pretty gargoyles, and Balliol is no exception. They also seem to like rather long lunch breaks.
From the posh, we went to the more down-to-earth, but not less educational Pitt Rivers Museum. It must be one of the most crammed exhibitions, and I really like it. If you are in Oxford, don’t miss out on this one!
The English weather was merciful, so we could also stroll around Christchurch Meadow and along the river Isis (usually known as Thames). The cows were impressive, and to our surprise and delight we also saw the first hatchlings of the year.