This place has turned up a number of times over the years, but it’s appeared twice in as many weeks. It’s never quite the same each time, but there are common features which the various dreams share. This morning’s visit was especially odd, so I decided to make a note of it.
I’ve never been to Oxford, so I’ve no idea what it’s like (apart from what I’ve seen on TV programmes like Inspector Morse, of course.) However, in my dreams I’m fairly convinced that I’m in Oxford. It’s quite late in the day, and in a narrow lane I’ve managed to find a really cool bookshop, which occupies the buildings on both sides. There’s also a walkway at first-floor level, lined with books on both sides. I’ve never managed to find the book I’m looking for, but it doesn’t matter because there are so many rarities and unusual titles on the shelves.
At the end of the lane is the entrance to a college. Unlike real Oxford colleges, the doors are open and I can stroll straight in. There’s a huge library with pointed Gothic stained-glass windows, immense marble pillars, and impressive archways leading from one section to the next. There are usually hundreds of students drifting around, and I often find myself just wandering through the stacks, amazed by the wealth of material on offer.
On both of my latest visits, I’ve left the library and found myself in a nearby church. This isn’t Gothic in style, but instead is distinctly Byzantine, with rounded arches and numerous tightly-packed pillars. This morning, I was exploring its nooks and crannies when I bumped into Father Robert Davies, the Vicar of Aberdare. He was with a group of students, and they seemed to be on some sort of pilgrimage to a shrine in a far corner of the building.
POSSIBLE EXTERNAL INFLUENCES
Last night I watched X-Men: First Class, part of which is set at Oxford University.
I’ve also been sorting out my postcard collection this weekend, and found an old card of Westminster Cathedral, which I assume Dad must have brought back from London on one of his visits.
Last Thursday I was walking to town and I bumped into Fr Robert outside St John’s Church. The Anglo-Catholic tradition (also known as the Oxford Movement) has always been strong in Aberdare, and Fr Robert is especially High Church.