Oxford had proved a joy for me at Corpus, my second College too. And it continued thus over the summer, which I spent there until well into August. I did have three breaks over the summer, going to Germany and to France and to Sicily, but they were only for a week or two at most. Again it was a summer of much sunshine, and I spent much of it reading in the Fellows Garden. Many friends were still around in July and there was no pressure to work for exams were over, so I was delighted when people dropped in. The Corpus Middle Common Room had a wine cupboard from which one could help oneself, and my bill mounted, but with my Studentship renewed I did not worry at all.

The incident I remember most vividly is Alistair Harrison marching in one morning, announcing triumphantly that ‘The Mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small’. As a solid supporter of Vivien Dinham who had lost the Oxford Presidency to Benazir Bhutto the previous Michaelmas, this was how he thought of the coup in Pakistan. I should note that his anger against Benazir was fuelled about the fact that, having been furious when Vivien defeated her for the position of Treasurer that she had been expected to win, the conspiracy to strip Vivien of the Presidency she went on to win the following year was hatched in her rooms, the three defeated candidates getting together to set up a prejudiced tribunal.

I think Vivien remains the only person elected President of the Union who never served in the position. And she too suffered, collapsing into lethargy. It is easy to say it was her own fault not to pull herself together, and it was perhaps unfortunate that she had enough money to survive. But the manner in which she was treated was appalling and, though Benazir was not primarily responsible, I can understand Alistair’s fury in those days of undergraduate passions.

In August I moved from Corpus to spend a week in the flat David Burgess and his wife Kate had near the vast residential complex the College had built in Staverton Road, to which my contemporaries had moved in our third year. David had agreed, after Tony Firth left, to run a Reading Party at the Chalet, though his was a more sybaritic affair than Tony’s, with excellent food. He asked Ian Kramer, who had a wonderful time, and actually did some walking.

I was no longer at Univ, but I suspect that was not the only reason I was not asked, for this was very much an undergraduate party on which David set his mark, though sadly he did not repeat the exercise for at the end of this academic year he too left us. Instead I had a delightful time in his flat, where he had told me I could have guests too. I recall someone staying over, though who it was I cannot remember, and Kate told me later that their neighbours, the Staceys, said I seemed to have had a very jolly time indeed.  

The pictures are of Corpus Garden and of Alistair when he saw me while I was there last month, and of Kate Burgess. But before that last is the 1975 Oxford Union Standing Committee picture, when Vivien was Treasurer, seated second from right, while Benazir, a member only of the Committee, stands behind Ted Heath.