Touristy Oxford summer

2006-07-08

in Daily updates, Oxford

Bridge over the Oxford Canal

Summer Oxford Saturdays are utterly saturated by groups of visitors. Between Church Walk, Wadham, Sainsbury’s, and Church Walk I saw at least twenty such groups – many with matching backpacks, hats, or t-shirts. I suppose that is a mechanism to ensure that the various herds stay distinct, and don’t meld or dissolve during the course of their passage through historic Oxford.

The university must spin an enormous amount of money off the summer trade. Conferences, summer schools, concerts and all manner of means of drawing people here and extracting pounds and pence for the greater wealth and glory of the colleges. I know UBC does the same kind of thing, but I don’t think they will ever be able to manage quite the densities that exist here. That is befitting of an old and famous university located close to one of the world’s major metropolitan centres.

Annoying as it may sometimes be to have to push your way through massive crowds to buy groceries or use a library, it would be terrifically wasteful to leave all this capacity essentially idle over the summer. There are streets, beds, and classrooms to be filled – not to mention brain capacity on the part of scores and scores of tutors and grad students who are generally desperately trying to both complete and avoid their own research.

PS. Canadians would do well to read the special report on Afghanistan in this week’s Economist. With more than 2000 Canadians still serving there – either as part of Operation Enduring Freedom or NATO’s International Security Assistance Force – the situation there should be of considerable interest to us all.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Antonia July 10, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Canadian’s with subscriptions to the Economist, anyway.

Milan July 10, 2006 at 2:41 pm

Antonia,

If you want, I will email you the article. The same goes for anyone else interested in reading it.

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