This year seems to have more than any previous one I can recall a superabundance of European language students. Now I get the impression that individually these are probably perfectly pleasant teenagers ( Is that an oxymoron? Never mind) of the French, Italian or Spanish variety.
Collectively the effect is rather different. Frankly, it is frightful. It is like making one's way through an interactive film - something like "Oxford - Invasion of the Eurobrats"
Those of you who have experienced Oxford this year will appreciate the point, and those who have not will get it, if I compare the effect to the film "Gremlins"... (provided you have seen that film.)
Meanwhile change goes on in the city, and being change it is usually problematical, and often not for the better. Thus the former Border's bookshop, as well as another shop in the central area is being turned into Tesco supermarkets. Useful I agree, but is that how we want to see the future of central Oxford, dominated on its main streets by supermarkets?
As a further sign of change and decay in all I see (and I manage to see a lot of it) Gills, the ironmongers off the High, are closing at the end of August. This is a consequence of failing to negotiate a satisfactory new lease. Not only is it the loss of a traditional business, but the firm claims to have been here since 1530 - so it is older than many colleges, and indeed institutions such as the Bodleian (1602) and the Ashmolean (1683).