A spring stroll through Addison's Walk and the Fellows' Garden at Magdalen ... the fritillaries are starting to appear! ... to have a look at the lovely Mosque built in their back garden. It is still unfinished, so, lamentably, not yet is the Cry of the Muezzin heard over the water meadows of the Cherwell. Then along Mesopotamia to the forelorn, desecrated, site of Parsons' Pleasure ... memories, here, of Warden Bowra and those far-off days when undergraduates made endless jokes about Wadhamy (nowadays, of course, the Statutes have been amended so that women undergraduates can commit Wadhamy too).
The site of the Pleasure offers not even an echo of the way it was in the golden heyday of S Stephen's House, when Canon Couratin, so the megale paradosis claims, used to interview prospective seminarians there (not that I have ever met a man who actually was so interviewed). You can't imagine Canon Ward, can you, doing his interviews in that sort of way; though, mind you, if he did, I'm sure he would be wearing the most amazingly dapper sun hat. But now the fences and the divesting cubicles have been flattened and the Curators of the University Parks, a degenerate body of men, have added insult to injury by putting up notices saying NO SWIMMING AND NO DIVING.
So, round the Duck Pond (where we used in the summer to make our morning meditations between Mattins and Mass) and out to Bevington Road, past the house once occupied by Pam's two tutors, the terrifyingly erudite Margaret Hubbard and the somewhat ambiguous Iris Murdoch (Pam and I first met on the stairs there while waiting for a Homer Seminar). St Anne's, once the repository of Oxford's most brilliant and beautiful women undergraduates, is now polluted by hoards of adolescent youths who, in their horrible male way, have renamed it Stans.
Ubi illa vetusta Oxonia? Non sumus quales eramus, as Fr Zed would undoubtedly say.