A gargoyle, a club, and a library

Posted on September 30, 2005 by Holly Hayes
Part of: Graduate School in Oxford

Most of today was spent at home, which was nice. I read, David looked for jobs, we answered e-mails, and generally took it easy. I just got an information booklet on my program, and it looks really fun and really intimidating all at the same time!

Recently I picked up a book from Borders (yep, they have that here) called "The Cheeky Guide to Oxford." It's lots of fun. One of the things David learned today is that there is a gargoyle on Brasenose College that is actually a caricature of a much-hated building foreman. He is depicted "going to the loo" as they might say here. So naturally, we had to go find the gargoyle in question. It's nice to be on vacation and have goals such as this.

We found the gargoyle without too much trouble, then wandered around the surrounding area for a bit. We saw a couple colleges we hadn't seen before - Oriel and Corpus Christi - and some very charming medieval back streets. We also happened by the oldest pub in Oxford, "The Bear," which dates from 1272. We peeked in, and could tell it's old by how very tiny it is in there!

We also came across the University Club, and we wandered in to check it out. It's a beautiful modern building, and it has a bar/restaurant with good prices, a gym and very nice shower rooms. The gym is much nicer than the very crappy Wolfson one (a nice chef who happened to be wandering through let me in so I could see it) so I asked at Reception how much it costs to join the gym.

The girls who manned (womanned?) the desk were exceedingly snobby, but I did learn from them that I can sign up online to join "the Club," then I can come back to pay for gym membership (45 pounds a year, not too bad). After I got home, I read that the University Club is only for graduate students, staff and alumni. Phew! I qualify.

On the way home we stopped at Sainsbury's for some sausage for our pasta dinner (pasta without meat is not an option for David), then were lucky enough to hop right on a waiting city bus right outside the store. Our dinner was really excellent - penne pasta with red sauce and really good Toulouse sausage that had the most tasty seasonings, plus ciabatta bread that was to die for. We were very proud of ourselves.

In my mailbox today was some info on various entertainments that Wolfson offers, including a free DVD rental library! Wahoo! We don't have a TV, but we can watch DVDs on David's laptop computer. So after dinner, we picked up a couple movies, then went to check out the Wolfson library. This was pretty exciting because until late today all the card readers for the common areas around Wolfson were broken, so we haven't had access to the library, the laundromat, or the computer room until tonight. So when we saw that little light turn green after sliding our cards through, it was really an event.

There are libraries everywhere you turn at Oxford. Not only is there the famous Bodleian for the entire university, there is also a library for each department (such as the wonderful Theology one I've mentioned), and a library for each college. I didn't expect much of Wolfson's library, but I was actually very impressed! It's quite large, even has lots of books that pertain to my studies - tons of Classics - and has a very pleasant atmosphere. They even have internet connections for laptops. It will be a nice, handy place to get out of the apartment and study my ancient texts while David works on his laptop nearby.