We have a very posh school up the road from us, it’s not as posh as Harrow or Eton (though I may be wrong, the fees are just as eye-wateringly expensive) and has a rival local posh school at the other side of town – I learned this from reading David Mitchell’s memoir about his back and stuff. The rival is Abingdon School, the one I had my Sunday morning wander through is Radley College.
You can see one of the lovely buildings of Radley College peeking through the trees here. It lies beyond the farm with which we once swapped an entire rosemary bush for a Christmas turkey.
Once you’ve navigated the terrifying pavement-less road – including a corner which cars and the occasional cement mixer like to take at about 40mph meaning you have to leap into the adjacent field to avoid death – you reach the school gate. There you find a sign listing places the like of which never existed at my Northern Comprehensive School, though at least one of them was in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Feeling like a total mud spattered peasant (and possibly a trespasser, even though this is a Proper Footpath) I made my way up the drive to the gatehouse, which is rather splendid.
You can practically smell the money coming off these buildings, and, reassuringly, you can also smell chips – just like on any other campus I have ever been on. I assume these chips are for the boarders, and if I were paying the fees it takes to learn things here I would expect chips on a Sunday too.
Radley really does have some lovely buildings, the mansion (Grade II listed) was built in 1720 for Sir john Stonehouse, the school was founded 120 or so years later:
Even the Cricket pavilion is half timbered:
Carry on through the Gatehouse and out the other side, and you get to the school playing fields. These go on for acres and acres. And then there’s the Golf Course.
I know nothing of golf, it hasn’t really crossed my path, I really would rather have a nice walk than do golf, but will not post that Mark Twain quote here because if people want to do golf then why not let them? (unless they are Donald Trump, he can bugger off).
But – could one of them please tell me what a PAR AIDE is? a warming alcoholic golfing drink dispenser? a thing for cleaning your golf balls on?…I am mystified.
On the other side of the gate there’s a sign warning me to BEWARE When Crossing Golf Course. It doesn’t say what to BEWARE of so I assume it’s of flying golf balls, rather than that they may have released the hounds to deal with any who may Stray from the One True Proper Footpath.
There is a small lake (they have a boathouse on the Thames at Radley, in case you were worried they might not have anywhere to do proper rowing like in the University boat race) and it has ducks. They weren’t really interested in having a conversation with me as I had no crusts in my pockets despite being a peasant:
There are also lots of lovely trees. I have realised recently I have a huge addiction to taking pictures of trees, or maybe just a huge addiction to trees in general:
When you pop out at the top of the hill and into real life the noise of the road is a bit of a shock. If you’re not used to it the Spitfire on top of the car dealership can be a bit of a surprise too: