WHY wasn’t the college flag flying above Balliol College on Tuesday morning?
Its quartet of quizzing stars had beaten the much-fancied Wolfson College from “the other place” by a clear 50 points to win television’s University Challenge championship for 2016-17. “Modesty?” suggested bus driver Ken.
“I reckon that would be a first,” argued Philip, self-confessed “red brick” graduate from the 1970s, and now a teacher enjoying the Easter break. He joined us at our outdoor table in Broad Street.
“Boris Johnson would probably take it as an insult to his alma mater.”
For once I demanded the floor. Balliol had played a blinder. For weeks during the earlier rounds, Canadian captain Eric Monkman had become something of a cult figure, tipped to lead Wolfson to victory. But Balliol’s captain Joey Goldman kept a cool head while Monkman cost his team valuable points with rushed – and incorrect – answers to starter questions.
“We should be delighted Oxford has beaten you-know-who,” I declared
“That still doesn’t explain the missing flag,” said Ken.
* WHAT a pity Cressida Dick’s first appearance as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police should have been at the funeral of Pc Keith Palmer. But Oxford can take pride in the fact that the first woman to hold that position is city born and bred.
Dragon School, Oxford High School and the aforementioned Balliol College – all on her impressive CD. We wish her luck as she fights the Government’s police cuts.
* COULD you direct us to the Malmaison Hotel?” asked the tall American with his elegant wife clinging to his arm when our paths crossed in Radcliffe Square. “We’re at the Randolph [name dropping eh?] but we want to see where my father-in-law stayed a few years ago.”
For international harmony I resisting asking if that visit was during or after its days as a gruesome jail.
* FINALLY, Good Fridays have never been my favourite days. Today is no exception.
The time has come to say farewell to Cabbages & Kings, my weekly look at the less serious things in life. It has had a good run. When it started more than 15 years ago, the Queen wasn’t old enough to qualify for a free TV licence.
A big thank you to readers who have shared both my physical and mental wanderings. Thank you too for your stories, your likes, dislikes and your friendship – something I will always treasure.
I apologise for leaving you at a time when the world is overburdened with fear and massive problems. It would be easy to look on the gloomy side. But optimists and doubters alike should try to smile and always remember: It’s a wonderful life – so enjoy it!