In which we discover more of the wonders of Christchurch College
Papa Bouilloire Chapter the Seventh
Following our triumph at the dinner, The Don kindly insisted that he escort us home, which at the time I thought most kind of him, but now, upon reflection, wonder if he may have been concerned that we might have punished the port too severely and risked staggering inadvertently into a dung heap or other typical 21st century road hazard.
Before we departed Christchurch itself, The Don took us to see the College kitchen which was an immense vaulted room built in Cardinal Wolsey’s time and was particularly remarkable as the walls were hung with huge turtle shells, the remnants of past feasts. Although the equipment was now perfectly modern and sanitary I could not help but wonder what it would be like to work daily in this massive and austere room with these macabre trophies reminding one daily of generations past who had eaten their way through entire species of animals. Perhaps turtle soup really was that delicious but as I have never tasted it I could not say.
The Don then showed us to a discrete door just to the left of where the daily flood of tourists pour through the main portal to gawk at the main attractions. Manipulating an ancient latch he led us into his wonderful apartments, the very epitome of what an Oxford Don’s rooms should be. A number of fine, book-lined rooms looking out onto the grounds through ancient windows which simply reeked of learning and the peculiarly satisfying odour of old books met our eyes and made me instantly regret that I had not been spent most of my university days neglecting my studies and attending endless “theme” parties dressed as a pantomime gypsy.
There is nothing like the scent of an old book.
“Must is a must”, I have always said, and although I am sure that science might now prove the smell is caused by one inhaling some sort of deadly mould spores thriving in their millions on the decaying fibres of the pages, I care not, and snuff them up with impunity.
Although perfect in all matters relating to convention, The Don was not unadventurous and had discovered while exploring in the spacious kitchen situated in his basement a number of secret doors which revealed strange unknown passageways and chambers under the college with bricked in doorways and a small brown frog. The Don could not tell where the bricked in doors led but I know if I had been him I would have been down there with a chisel quick smart! If he had not been such a splendid chap I would have been eaten up with envy.
“Oh why did not my kitchen have secret chambers and a small brown frog!!!?”
Life can be so cruel sometimes.
All of Papa Bouilloire’s adventures can be found below for those whose constitutions are sufficiently strong to cope with tales filled with thrills and adventure.