Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Librarians Do It On Record

When I was in Oxford, I had the delightful experience of going on the tour bus. I've lived in Edinburgh for about 8 years now and have managed to successfully bypass most of the tourist attractions (with the exception of the Castle and the Zoo, obviously) including the tour buses. But this was incredibly fun. Oxford is a beautiful place with a fascinating history. I had no idea that a pub called the Eagle and Child was where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien would meet to exchange stories and new work over a beverage or two (I actually managed to visit and totally nerdsploded all over the place at being in the same building two of my literary heroes had once been in). If I squinted, I could almost see them sharing a quiet drink - discussing Frodo or perhaps Aslan and his sweet breath, debating about whether Caspian would be able to kick Aragorn's ass (not likely, let's be honest) or hooking up the White Witch with Gandalf (now there's a story of loss and redemption that I for one would love to read).

The Bodleian Library was one of the most impressive buildings on the tour. Under the law, it holds one copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland, ever. It even has an underground walkway and an electronic cart system (which made me imagine a kind of Indiana Jones style railway-through-mine-shafts). I could easily and quite happily live forever in such a place like some kind of feral otterbeast, scuttling through the dark, guarding the precious books. I could see myself as some sort of hideous library Gollum, crooning gently and lovingly at the stacks. Apprentice librarians might tell tales around a campfire, late at night, of a strange monster which makes little snuffling whiskery noises in the shadows before pouncing on students who venture too deep into the labyrinth. They say the only warning you get is a faint smell of fish before it drags you off to a horrible gnawy death....

Now, Edinburgh has its perks. It's a wonderful place to live with many exciting attractions and plenty of history, recent tram debacle aside. But Oxford was just so pretty. The museums, the streets, the university buildings - it was all so British, so aesthetically pleasing. I'm wandering dangerously into city fangirl territory now so I'll stop, but I really was impressed. If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it.

To finish this post, I'd like to show you this picture of me with a giant fork at Edinburgh's Taste Festival. If there was ever a reason to visit Scotland, then this is it.


  1. That picture makes me want to poke you in the chin :-)

  2. Karate chop to the throat! I'd see that coming. I'M A NINJA OTTER. SORT OF.