Ahhh! The British (English) city of Oxford. City of Spires. Home to many a famous writer and academic, and of course the world renowned 'University of Oxford'. A city that has a rather personal connection for me too as it happens. You see, my father was born in Oxford, and my nan spent many years of her life as a patient at the santorium where she lived in as part of the treatment at the time for tuberculosis. It was also where I was based for my work with the Royal Navy, and in my earlier career as a Neuropsychologist I was very involved with neuroscience research at the hospital and the university, spending long summers involved in different projects, including research on phantom limb pain, and on autism.
Oxford was the place where my nan would take me for treats when I stayed with her, and we would often catch the bus there and nip into one of the department stores for a cup of coffee, something my nan found quite exciting since most people just drank tea at home and coffee shops were a relatively new thing. It's hard to imagine an Oxford pre Starbucks or Costa Coffee, or McDonalds!
For me, Oxford was always really exciting, but it must have held different memories for my nan, as she would only really visit for hospital appointments or spend her hours desperate to get back home to her family whilst residing at the sanitorium. For me it is a place filled with memories of dining in my Royal Navy Uniform at fancy balls and drinking a little too much port as part of the maritime traditions! Lots of late nights polishing boots or doing drill practice, or working on improving my knots.
Funny how a single place can mean so many things to different people, and I suppose that is what I love about cozy mysteries that are set in Oxford. Each author draws on the thing that most inspired them about the city, experiences they had there, or people that they met. That's the beauty of books, and there is definitely no shortage of wonderful places to read a good book in Oxford. And plenty of lovely bookshops to visit too. I don't think I ever came back from Oxford without at least one, brand new, sweet smelling, and shiny covered paperback!
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