Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Bride Wore Black

I was perusing the Sunday papers yesterday in a cafe-bar after Mass when my eye was caught, nay, held, by a listing on the front of the Sunday Times Magazine of an article  by their journalist Tanya Gold about her recent wedding and labelled The Bride Wore Black. Now Tanya, whom I have met on a few occasions, married an old Oxford friend of mine, Andrew Watts, last month. What could this be ?

I turned in haste to the article by Tanya, and, yes, it was indeed an account of their meeting, courtship and engagement and wedding. I had indeed been invited to the ceremony, but being unable to attend, had sent my good wishes. Tanya's article was, well, more than posting some photos on Facebook, and indeed more than the glossy coverage of celebrity(?) weddings in Hello and suchlike magazines. No, this was a very revealing and searching tale, starting with her own drinking problem as a younger woman and her getting to know Andrew when they met up in London - she was interviewing him in his role as a stand-up comedian. It is an entertaining and skillfully written piece, and very revelatory - you might well call it courageous - or tempting fate.

Now I have known Andrew for almost twenty years since he came up to Oxford as an undergraduate Classicist at Merton and I as a graduate historian at Oriel. Though contact has been intermittent in recent years I can say from her article that Tanya knows and (probably) understands her husband very well indeed. He is quite a character, to put it mildly.

If you have a copy of the magazine handy, or subscribe (The Times and the Sunday Times charge for access to their website, but the beginning can be seen here ) you may find the article "I've gone and done it this time", er, interesting...

1 comment:

Andrew Watts said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the article, John - and sorry that you couldn't make it to our wedding. I think you would have found the liturgy very interesting... assembled, as it was, from a mixture of the Sephardic and Ashkenazi ritual, with a smattering of the Book of Common Prayer. (It worked surprisingly well, although the rabbi vetoed all the stuff about marriage as a remedy against sin &c. as being utterly contradictory to the Jewish understanding of marriage.) Please send me your address - andrew_watts@postmaster.co.uk - and I'll send you the last bit of wedding cake.