Famous for being in the Inspector Morse shows, Oxford is actually quite nice in its own right and has several impressive park and ride schemes. The LTLP is giving an Important Talk there, and I decide to cadge along for the ride.
“Have you been to Oxford before?” asks the pleasant Oxfordian lady brightly, by way of introduction.
I pause. I do not particularly want to mention the debacle that followed the Oxford Union invitation and have already had several nightmares about people pointing me out in the street, waving their papers and crying ‘shame!’. I had previously assumed that nobody in Britain had waved their papers and cried ‘shame’ since about 1758, and thus my experience with the Oxford Union has always made me a bit wary of the city’s inhabitants.
“Not recently,” I evade.
In the event it is true that everybody in Oxford looks a bit peculiar. They look a bit peculiar because they are either a) from overseas and standing in the street and looking up; b) extremely clever, and let’s face it extremely clever people always look a bit peculiar; or c) extremely clever people who are also from overseas and standing in the street and looking up. My eyes scour the pavements of Catte Street, looking for signs of normality.
The city seems very pleasant in terms of architecture, as would any place you have to pass through Northampton to get to. I buy a nice pork and leek pie from a butcher in the covered market, and use the toilet twice in Debenhams. As I relax on the comfortable white seat, with the toilet paper positioned at the correct height on the wall beside me, I reflect that travel writing might just be my thing.