A donnish dive

Colin Dexter, the creator of E. Morse, the curmudgeonly Oxford detective, has died aged 86, having introduced us all to his favourite haunts in the city – like the Turf Tavern (above, if you can find it!). ‘Two pints of Flowers, please, landlord.’

It is doubly fascinating for me because ‘Lonsdale College’, frequently featured in the stories was in fact my alma mater in Radcliffe Square, its quadrangles, hall, chapel ‘n all; reviving treasured memories of student days in the ’60s. Oh yes, there’s the Sheldonian Theatre and now the Eagle and Child (which we all knew as the Bustard and Bastard); oh no, the Examination Schools!

Thank you, Colin – and requiescas in pace.


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

9 thoughts on “A donnish dive”

  1. I didn’t realize how many appearances he had made as an extra in the Morse episodes until I watched the Beeb piece on him last night. Something new to watch out for when watching the repeats.

  2. Sally Wainright, who writes Scott and Bailey, has talent, I think, with tales of Mancunian crime and nicely human cops.

  3. Loved the Morse stories.

    However, my memories of Oxford University are not happy… it’s the only time in my life I have ever had to deal with male chauvinism and academic ‘superiority’.

  4. Boa, yes, the culture in my day was the same, witness an all-male college without female dons; a small number of all-female colleges until things changed in the ’70s. I had the impression even from my scholarship interviews that my chosen college’s academics were less superior than many others. Certainly I came across intolerable attitudes elsewhere later on. Having said that I had a happy time, given the freedom to choose friends and admire the excellence of others’ brains!

  5. Janus- this was in the mid-80s. A project was established specifically for me – to use the data I collected for my PhD and my expertise on a large body of documents. Within a very short time, it became clear that the ‘advisers’ and ‘others’ (all male) had no intention of listening to what I knew (since they obviously knew better!) and expected me to follow their directives – which meant that that particular project was never completed – as I told them right from the word go it would never be…

    I took another 20 years, working on my own financed by Bearsy, to finish what I wanted to do with the data and publish.

    Then, and only then could what Oxford Uni wanted to be done be accomplished…

  6. I attended several scientific conferences at Oxford during the earlier part of my career. My colleagues and I soon discovered the joys of the Turf, having been directed there by one of them who was an ex-Oxford man. The only problem with this was that it is very difficult to comprehend the more esoteric properties of valence and conduction bands, energy levels etc. with a throbbing head on the next day!

  7. Never found this one, when my nephew was at Oxford I used to buy him lunch at the Randolph, more convenient for shopping and the bookshops of which there were none good in Henley. No doubt Henleyites were too busy being ‘hooray’ to read!

  8. It’s still worth a visit, the Turf. Unchanged, good pub grub.
    CO, in my day the Mitre was the place for quality lunch, now a chain pub, I think.

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