It's been the end of term in Oxford; went to the Sheldonian on Thursday to hear Jimmy Carter speak (best line of the night: he said he had once spoken to John Paul II about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The late Pope said there were only two possible solutions: the realistic and the miraculous. The realistic was divine intervention from above; the miraculous would be the Israelis and Palestinians coming to an agreement themselves).
Friday it was Midsummer dinner and yesterday I went to St Hilda's for a garden party to mark Lady English's retirement. It was strange to be there....to see all these women of a certain age, veteran fighters for women's education and rights, with the grey helmets of hair and sensible suits; some with hats and determinedly cheerful faces... and to realise that St Hilda's won't be the same again from 2008. I had accepted that the college has to go mixed, but there was a sadness there in that a vital institution in the fight to get women treated seriously in the university is leaving and when the next principal retires the atmosphere in the farewell party will be very different.
(Before I sound too po-faced on the subject I am well aware that in my time there the college inhabitants were known - still are - as Hildabeasts - and the college itself referred to as the Virgin Megastore. What would Miss Beale and Miss Buss have said).
I'm sitting here in Oxford on Sunday morning trying to rewrite part of my novel and uneasily aware that I've got to work out what I am doing next. I need to find a writing fellowship in order to put off real life further.
PS R4 is obsessed with Glastonbury - I love it when R4 tries to get down with da kids; poor Carolyn Quinn etc. To combat this, I just have to add Adrian Monck's story from Glasto past and to say that I can't wait for Giles Wembley Hogg's take on Tuesday...