In my continuing quest to eliminate, or at least avoid, the need to shovel or walk in snow unless I've chosen to be (1) on or near enough to mountains and high enough that snow is to be expected (2) in winter on ice that badly needs a scraping, I've relocated to Oxford. (England.) It's also true that Oxford's decision to admit me as a candidate for an Mst in Legal Research had at least something to do with that decision. The residence requirement for first-year graduate students is: have one's residence within 25 miles of the city centre, absent appropriate permission or unless required by one's course.
I will, over the course of the next year plus, report irregularly on life, in Oxford or in the United Kingdom, usually as a mature (let us concede at least by age, so as to avoid argument at this stage) Canadian graduate student in Oxford's Faculty of Law. Or something at least marginally related to that.
I will make no attempt to keep my observations above or below the PG levels.
In that vein, my first report is on the quality of the toilet paper in the Examination Schools. Let's just say that it's a good thing that, based on Oxford's recent ranking as the overall best university in the known world, we know at least one quality that wasn't taken into account. It is, one might say, stern on the stern. My second is the reminder that in medieval cities it doesn't hurt, and is less likely to be part of the cause of hurt, if one is shorter than the current average. There are still many doors which make one (almost) feel tall.
My college? St. Hilda's: a 10 minute walk from where I live, unless I stop to eat at any one of the very eclectic, very good, choices on the way. Getting to the college the fastest way requires that I cross a ROUNDABOUT. Capitalization intended. I'll write about that bit of topography in due course. There are certain survival skills that one needs to acquire sooner rather than later.
Why Oxford? For now, other than that I didn't apply any where else AND Oxford accepted me? It's my belief that Oxford has better gargoyles and grotesques than does Cambridge. It's also closer to the Stratford: Stratford-upon-Avon. It has nothing to do with HarryPotterIsm.
Canadians looking to live in Oxford's weather can acclimatize by spending a fall/winter/spring in Vancouver. One difference is that Oxford doesn't have Vancouver's awnings. (Nor, so far at least, yawnings, but that's an issue for another day.)
The law faculty building and the law library? They're about 20 minutes at an amble from where I live, usually by a route that requires me walk along a long wall on a street called, rightly, Longwall. (The wall is on the right, too, as I walk to school from home.)
The Bodleian, itself? 10-15 away.
The first week of Michaemas term - "fresher" week a.k.a. orientation week a.k.a. "zeroeth" week starts tomorrow: Sunday, Oct 2. That's a small ha-ha to all of you who have been slaving away at your courses since early September; perhaps even late August.
And yes: I do consider it ironic, and humorous, that I gave up a life of regularly (enough) wearing one sort of medieval robe to switch to another which I'll have to wear even more often. On the other hand, the new version isn't yet as ostentatious as the old; nor did it cost as much. On the third hand - Larry Niven fans will get the reference - I'm required to wear a dark suit, white shirt, black shoes and (usually) a black tie when wearing that robe. It's like being in court again but wearing a version of one's lawyer's gown over one's suit.
In the UK, one drives on the left and, on escalators, walks on the left. That makes the UK more consistent than North America on that front.
Finally, for now, I have literally gone up to Oxford. Afula, Israel, where (I'm told) I made my first appearance on the planet is at 32.6105°N latitude; after that, I lived farther south for a few years. Toronto, where I lived for most of my life in the last millennium, is at 46.635°N. Vancouver, where I lived the past few years, is at 49.2827°N and Oxford is at 51.7520°N. I point that geographical tidbit out as a current rejoinder to those who have suggested that, all things considered, I might be (ultimately) destined to travel in the other direction. They weren't referring to Australia.
Cheers from near Cowley Road, a few minutes walk south south-east of the Magdalen - not entirely pronounced in any logical sense approaching how the name is spelled, beyond taking int account 4 of the 5 consonants - Bridge. But, then, anyone familiar with how I pronounce my surname may say that I ought not to be heard to complain. (Too loudly.)