Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hertford College Gaudy

Oxford, England. Friday 21-September-12.

Every 10 years or so my old Alma Mater, Hertford College, Oxford holds a Gaudy (reunion dinner) for graduates from my year and the two following years (71, 72, 73). I missed those circa 1982 and 1992 because I did not know they held such events but went to the one in 2002.

I did hesitate as it fell between my actual 60th birthday on the Thursday and flying out to Italy on the Saturday but then thought, "what the heck!" Who knows how many more I can make and who am I to refuse free food and booze. Black tie so I took my DJ in to work, changed and headed off to the train from Paddington in full get up.

At the Oxford station taxi rank another man in black tie approached me asking if I was heading for the Hertford Gaudy; I was so we shared a taxi.  En route he whipped his bow tie out of a pocket and tied a perfect bow first time - bastard! I do it once a year and take 15 minutes of re-tries to tie a lop-sided windmill :-( Turns out he was in the diplomatic service and clearly had many opportunities to practice his bow-tie tying skills.

Hertford College hall by markmclellan
Hertford College Hall

The meal was fine and I met up with a number of physicists from my year but no other chemists (nor the biochemists) - poor show! They kindly sat me next to my old tutor, Keith McLaughlan. I forbore to tell him how my years at Oxford had not been the happiest of my life (traditional British understatement).

Hertford college - my tutor Keith McLaughlan

The speeches from high table by a contemporary described a fun packed and blissful college experience. Personally I would make a wax doll of those years and stick pins in it. Fortunately life got better after that.

The speeches rambled on so I missed my chosen train and ended up tip-toeing in at one in the morning. I fell into a sound sleep so awoke refreshed and ready for the trip to Italy for the next 60th birthday party...

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