It sounds like the ultimate in British academia, but it’s actually a tiny village five miles from the sea in bucolic Dorset, an English county named after a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback. The village is called Oxbridge, and it’s so small it doesn’t have a pub, a Post Office or even a phone box, and you had to stand by a window on the top floor to get mobile access. All this is to explain why we’ve been offline for a week. OK, so you didn’t notice.
We were in this 17th century cottage – which is a bit of a misnomer because although it has a thatched roof, it’s not exactly a humble Hardy-esque hovel. It’s got an Aga kitchen, a walk-in fireplace on which you could spit-roast an ox and a lounge the size of a basketball court.
The surrounding countryside is fantastic for walking – subject to two major drawbacks: one, it rained all week; and two, after our English summer the surrounding fields were quagmires. We did venture out once but got lost, then spotted a carved wooden sign saying “Oxbridge 1m.”. We finally emerged at the other end two hours later, after I had slipped backwards into Wellie-deep, willie-deep mud and been dragged out by the DG at the other end of her umbrella. Our attempt to avoid the rest of the path led to our getting lost again in soggy fields of malevolent, face-slapping corn, to finish up at exactly the same mud-bath as before.
What? Of course we're going back next summer.