My last year as an undergraduate was also full of joy, but I was also fitting into the avuncular role that I have since fulfilled in my dealings with the young. The Delusionists for instance, a dining club started by a group of delightful lawyers in our second year, was passed on to me to run, and I filled it with my freshmen as I called them, those who had come up when I was JCR President.
My second year friends had been those with political interests, and I believe the senior lawyers did not want them in what was supposed to be purely a fun gathering, but they approved of my younger chums, and I think we did them proud in keeping the Delusionists going for several more years. The Dean had backed down when he decided to stop being the life and soul of the College, but I managed to persuade my Classics don, the brilliant Greek scholar Martin West, to join us, and he entered into the spirit of the thing with gusto.
Another don who proved socially dynamic, though I only met him the once, was A J Ayer, whose ‘Language, Truth and Logic’ was a bible for Oxford philosophy – and was the only book I had been enjoined to read before I went up to Oxford. I had found it incomprehensible, and several readings over the years left me still feeling I had not understood it thoroughly, but both the book and the man exemplified the sheer intellectual energy of Oxford in the period between the wars.
Chalet des Anglais
Pres de l’hotel au Prarion
9th August 1974
Thought I’d write before I left for France – letters will be appreciated at the address above until the 30th.
I’ve discovered another scholarship for English, though not as good, which I’ve applied for the Application Form for. My money for July arrived though not the fees yet. They really are mounting, due to the increase in Grants.
Gaji must be a favourite with the College Office, as they’ve given him a room that an Etonian had last year! Centrally heated, and quite nice though not enormous – if he has any inclination tell Anila to teach him bridge, it’s very useful. I’ll be back by October to meet him.
I have finished my 5 Vac. essays though there’s still quite a lot of reading to do when I get back if I’m to keep my scholarship. I had dinner with the new Senior Tutor last week and it seems dicey though I got the impression my tutors still approve of me – had to refuse George for dinner tonight as I’m going down to London this evening after an emergency Standing Committee, preparatory to driving down to France with two friends tomorrow. Continue reading