I missed the opportunity to get outside for November 5th. A dry, crisp, cold autumn evening warmed by mulled wine and sparklers. Luckily in Oxford, Light Night gives us a second bite of the toffee covered cherry. A parade through the streets of the city centre, lined with market stalls selling Christmas presents, mince pies, wurst, wine, cider, and even a bus selling beer and champagne. I also missed the opportunity to board the latter, unfortunately.
After a week of work, one glass of wine, and a crush with the ever so polite Oxford crowd, we moved swiftly to The Eagle and Child, just off St Giles - a wide boulevard in Oxford, flanked by St John's College on one side, the Ashmolean on the other, and capped by the Martyrs Monument.
The Eagle and Child is a pub which can never fail. Owned by the University and run by Nicholsons, it's long narrow, windowless, wood-paneled interior is a haunt of students and academics, and nectar for tourists due to it's literary history. Warmed by an artificial log-burner, we shared a small table with a couple who'd finished their Christmas shopping early. A table in exchange for two chips is a grand deal and essential as the management won't allow a food order without one (that doesn't extend to crisps - luckily, as the kitchen shuts down at 9.00pm).