Don't We Scrub Up Well - Last Minute Trip To The Wadham College Gaudy Reunion - Oxford University

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Tuesday 22 March 2016

Don't We Scrub Up Well - Last Minute Trip To The Wadham College Gaudy Reunion - Oxford University

Sitting in Spain planning our long journey home and aiming to reach the UK by Friday, we got alerted by an old friend that our college at Oxford was having a reunion that spanned our year groups the very next day! As it happened we'd missed the registration deadline as our plans had been so uncertain, so we were very grateful to the college that with just a few days until the event they squeezed us onto the list so that we could go along. Landing in the early hours of Friday after our drive through the night, we did our best to catch up on as much sleep as possible while hastily arranging some formal clothes to borrow (surprisingly we haven't needed black tie outfits on the road!) but were very excited at the prospect of seeing some old friends and revisiting our old college.

After arriving in the late afternoon, we first picked up our outfits which had been left for us by our amazing friend Phil, who fortunately is about the same shape as Dan.  Phil also studied at Wadham with us but was playing in a concert that evening so although it was a big shame not to see him, it was lucky for Dan and it was amusing to everyone else that Phil was there in some small way! Before getting changed we spent some time happily wondering around the Oxford and the college buildings, even visiting our old rooms.

Around Wadham College......

Later we got dressed up and wandered down to the reception where we immediately started bumping into people we hadn't seen in over ten years. It was lovely to catch up and see everyone looking so well. Everywhere we looked were familiar faces chatting, smiling and laughing together. It was a great atmosphere. Then at dinner we especially enjoyed listening to an old friend giving the speech for the evening and sharing some old stories even we remembered. We even got a mention as one of the couples who were still together having met at Wadham.

As the first in our families to go to university at all and getting a place to study at Oxford we both felt very privileged to be able to attend an event like this. Sitting in the hall for dinner, with the candles burning and the historic ambience, it really hit home how fortunate we felt to have had the opportunity to study here. When we were here as students we didn't really appreciate it fully.  As the current Warden, Ken Macdonald QC, said in his speech, Wadham is such an inclusive college with more than a 70% intake from state schools (unlike some other colleges) but every year is one of the best performing in Oxford.

It was a really wonderful night. Also, as we've posted about recently, one of our main commitments this year based on what we've learnt so far is to our own self-care and to stick to our routines as much as we can. So not only were we really touched the the college fitted us in at the last minute, but also that they were happy for us to attend the dinner without eating (although it looked very impressive) as it didn't start until several hours after our usual mealtime (made even later by our switch to UK from European time) which would have particularly affected Dan's incontinence management.

It was also really touching to hear from so many old friends that they'd been following our travels and reading some of our more personal posts, especially Dan's recent post one sharing for the first time his experience of bowel incontinence and the fact that he'd hidden it for so long.  We really were moved by the kind words people said to us about this.

Although it was sorely tempting to stay and party into the early hours like in our student days, we did still stick to our plan of catching the (still very late for us) 2315 bus home so we weren't in bed 'too late'.  Especially after our all night drive back to Britain the day before, we certain felt we'd made the right decision the next morning.  Although in the last decade we've not really kept in touch with the college as much as we could have done, after this brilliant evening we will definitely be looking out for future events - apparently it's only 5 years until the next 1998-2001 reunion.

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