May 1st is coming to an end in England, and thus comes the close of Magdalen’s Big Day. May Day is quite a non-event throughout much of the country now (celebrated only through Maypole Dancing, which my First School still does with aplomb every year) but it’s the centre of the calendar for Magdalen College.
It all kicks off at 6.00am when the boys choir sing from the top of Magdalen tower, and the Dean of Divinity says some things in Latin, and then in English. Not sure whether or not they’re the same things…
This is the only time in the year when we’re allowed to stand on the Cloisters Lawn, seen in the first picture. I’m afraid most of the photographs in this entry were taken in Winter, so the beautiful weather we’re having won’t come across. The second photo is a Summer one, though – Addison’s Walk, where CS Lewis became a Christian, among other claims to fame. It’s a 20 minute stroll around the Water Meadow, site of the famous fritillarias. They’re all died down now, but will be back around the same time next year, I’m sure.
During the Winter the Water Meadow earns its name, and is flooded. Some of the most magical views in Magdalen are when this field turns itself into a lake. I’ve stolen the lake-photo from my friend Tom, but it’s stunning and I thought you’d like to share it. What’s amazing is that, even though that this is Magdalen tower you can see in the distance, this photo is taken within College grounds. We go a long way! And to get there, we go through this big gate. Indeed, Magdalen has something of a theme, when it comes to gates – all of them are metal, blue, and ornate. Nice touches.
Back to May Day. Well, I wasn’t in Magdalen for it this year, as I was helping the Christian Union with a a questionnaire/doughnut thing we were doing – but I did manage to hear the singing from the crowd on the High Street. The photo of the crowd is actually from last year, purloined from the Student Newspaper (I used to be a section editor, so hopefully they won’t sue me). It didn’t rain this year, so less eye-poking risk. I’m just the wrong height for other people’s umbrellas…
Having listened to the choir, and done some questionnaires, I must confess I headed back to my slumber. Four hours sleep does not a revision-ready head make. And how did I conduct this revision, you ask?
Well, we were allowed onto the lawns. May 1st is the turning point in the lawns’ calendar too, and we are now allowed on all of them except Cloisters and St John’s; can play Frisbee on St. Swithin’s; can play croquet on the second one from the left outside New Buildings…And we can also go punting now… but more of that another time, methinks. Would be too difficult to explain to the uninitiated, and too lengthy to defend the Oxford method, versus the Cambridge method. Instead, I’ll leave you with my favourite photo from the last year, taken on the day before snow descended onto Magdalen.