Monday, November 11, 2013

Ghosts and Ghoulies in Oxford

PUNKS AND GOTHS continues...

Billeted for the next two weeks in our red brick, dark eerie house we set about exploring our new environs.

In the sitting room occult books were scattered about. In our meanderings we discovered stuffed birds, beloved of Victorian wives, perched on branches brittle with age in dust-covered antique glass domes. In the low light their eyes glinted as they stared sightlessly into space. Soft- bodied puppets perched on chests and others dangled grotesquely - like the recently hanged - from hooks in the ceiling. Glassy-eyed, they seemed to watch our every move.

Later that evening we found that our temporary home-away-from home came with a giant spider squatting possessively on the bath plug. We tried to capture it by putting a glass over its corpulent shape but it was too big, so we ended up trapping it, with much fuss, in a pudding basin from the kitchen.

Nicky and I shared a big feather bed that night. Its quilt, probably once quite beautiful but threadbare now, looked as if the cat had used it to sharpen its claws. Melissa and Gillian, not usually agreeable to sharing a room but on this occasion pleased for the company, bedded down in the room next door.

At midnight we were woken by heavy plodding footsteps overhead, the kind you hear in the movies prior to an axe murder! Muffled voices drifted down from the upper floor. I’d heard about ghosts in England’s ancient old buildings. Were there ghosts too in this spooky place?

Deciding to investigate, with torch in hand and Nicky close behind I crept along the passage; our shadows, like ghosts, floated across the walls. Upon reaching the foot of a stairway I looked up to see a strip of buttery light gleaming from beneath a door above. There were definitely inhabitants up there, ghostly or otherwise. I called in a shaky falsetto, “Is anybody there?”

The door at the top of the stairs creaked open.

An apparition appeared, a young woman with her head engulfed in fat pink rollers. She was clutching a torch that underlit her face. Holding the door ajar, her oversized nightdress trailed in a froth of fabric about her feet. Could this ghost be wearing Dutch clogs beneath that nightdress I wondered? It had sounded like it from our bedroom beneath. Her pink rollers wobbled as she spoke. “Sorry if we woke you. We’re students and we rent the upstairs rooms.”
More to follow tomorrow...
Photo copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Monday, November 11th 2013.


At November 11, 2013 at 3:23 PM , Blogger Nicola Gordon said...

Looking forward to more of your memoirs, and more stories of your encounters with Oxford inhabitants!


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