And it is almost Christmas!
Of course, our Fellows, students (and staff!) do not all rush off at the end of Week 8, but are still researching, giving presentations and thinking about what happens next in their lives. But whilst the work continues, there is an increasing number of mince pies, Christmas hats and general celebrations going on. So this final blog of 2019 is mainly about those occasions when we have gathered together to share good food, friendship and memories.
The Christmas trees are up and decorated and the kitchen team can occasionally be seen in non-traditional uniforms. The standard of jokes-in-crackers gets no better, but no-one seems to mind too much.
The Audrey Blackman Society met in mid-November to renew friendships and hear the College news. They enjoyed a fantastic talk by alumnus Ben Hebbert, Chairman of the British Violin Making Association, on the Messiah – the legendary violin which is displayed in the Ashmolean Museum.
Alumnus Doug Wigdor and others from his year groups were our guests at Founders Feast on 29 November.
My speech reviewing last year will appear, as always, in next year’s College Record, which we hope to produce in the early part of 2020.
We had the extraordinary privilege of enjoying a week of Doug Wigdor’s time as Professional in Residence, meeting students 1:1, holding breakfasts and lunch discussions and lecturing on the process of impeaching a US President and the #MeToo movement. He did a repeat performance of the latter for London-based alumni the night before flying home. And then some of you may have seen him on Channel 4 News talking about exactly the same issues.
The Carol Service was wonderful and the mulled wine and mince pies which followed were much appreciated, whether or not people were then going on to Christmas Hall. And whilst it is incredibly hard to single out one particular meal as being more wonderful than any other, the final Tasting Dinner of the year was quite extraordinary.
Winter Drinks in the Oxford and Cambridge Club brought together students, alumni, Fellows, Members of Common Room and their guests in gorgeous surroundings and was a lovely, festive occasion.
Normal, more serious, service will resume in the next blog, but for now, may I wish everyone a very happy Christmas holiday, however and wherever you mark the winter break, and good health and good fortune in 2020.