Tuesday in Jowett Walk was a day of action-packed fun and adventure: plunging into the heart of Oxford, students dived into its traditions, plumbing punting and handling history with aplomb.
After a successful morning of lessons, students split up to take part in several activities and tours. One group went to the Ashmolean Museum: the enormous 17th-century building holds a stunning array of artefacts, cultural relics, and art from numerous periods. No visitor can help but find something impressive and beautiful within its halls, and our students in the Museum yesterday were no exception: from the Egypt exhibit, with its reconstruction of a Pharaoh’s original tomb, to the long galleries of Impressionist paintings, the day in the Ashmolean was one of both learning and enjoyment.
Others went punting, gliding serenely along the freely flowing surface of the River Cherwell. It was the perfect day for punting: the sun was out for much of the afternoon, there was a pleasant breeze riffling the water, and all was right. Encouraged by the weather, several students tried their own hand at punting, and pronounced it considerably harder than they had first believed, but a great deal of fun. The long poles –or ‘quants’, to give them their proper name— are not easily controlled, and the long, flat-bottomed punts were apparently not designed to outmanoeuvre anything more agile than a drunk cow.
Elsewhere, scattered across Oxford, the Scavenger Hunt was taking place. Clues were hidden across the width of the city’s centre, and students were given the task of finding them and progressing on to the next place. It was tricky, and the wide spread of the clues’ locations gave the students a slightly tiring tour of Oxford: but it was very rewarding to find the next clue and suddenly realise where to go. Perhaps, for instance, a clue might direct you to the Oxford Castle— where, in fact, the last group were exploring dungeons and roaming across moats, in an introduction to the history of Oxford’s battles and rather gruesome past goings-on.
In the evening, inspired by the art they’d seen, by the way light dappled down through trees, by buildings of which they’d caught a glimpse while scampering across Oxford, or by the armour of knights on display at the Castle, students created sculptures from wire in a workshop. For those still with the energy to run around after such a day, there was the opportunity to play sports on the pitches; and for those keen to crack on with their studies after a day of fun, there was the Homework Club.