Leaving The Bubble


In the lull following radiotherapy, I try to concentrate on more pleasant times and thoughts float to when I visited Oxford Polytechnic for an open day. I borrowed a car and set off in the cold, early morning February darkness.

My mind was focussed on changing my life. I had to move on from the bubble of the North East. Hours later, I drove into Oxford through St Giles on a blustery morning. The sun was shining and there were lots of girls cycling about. I liked this place. Unsuccessfully negotiating the traffic system (with a bit of advice from the police), I drove up Headington Hill to Oxford Polytechnic and parked. It was a day of meetings, discussions and a law tutorial in which I contributed enough for an encouraging chat with a tutor. The day was positive and I decided this place was for me, especially as I flipped through the prospectus to discover there were twice as many girls there as boys.

On the lonely, but cheerful journey North that afternoon, I reflected on my abortive studies at Newcastle University and looked at the Oxford Polytechnic prospectus on the passenger seat. I had scribbled a quote on the front cover: “If you start something in life, you’ve got to finish it.” I was convinced this was the right time, right place. I was ready to take a deep breath and step into the unknown.

Back home, I made preparations to leave the North. I had accepted the degree place so I needed somewhere to live. I checked out the halls of residence and picked Heyford Hill House. It was the furthest away from the campus but it was the only place you could stay in between terms. I needed to know that was available, in case going back North wasn’t an option.

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