Term finished two weeks ago, and the few students remaining in college are adrift in a sea of conference guests. Every morning Main Court plays host to a parade of delegates in serried ranks, each with a suit bag slung over one arm and a little suitcase trailing forlornly behind. Lost souls, they drift without apparent aim from one court to the next, peering quizzically at helpful signs placed out the night before. ‘Dining Hall’. ‘College Bar’. ‘J Staircase – up stairs’. ‘Flowerbed’. ‘Brick Wall – bash head here’. Inevitably the tiny wheels on their luggage cope poorly with cobbles, and every ten yards or so Mr Delegate’s case makes a break for freedom, taking Mrs Delegate along for the ride. Between them they regain mastery of their baggage, and ponder whether the concrete travesty of 60s architecture before them is the block known as ‘Gostlin’. More sharp eyed than her male companion, Mrs Delegate spies a door marked ‘Lift’ and they trundle off once more.
On a remote and otherwise deserted corridor is room E31, in which stands a butt-naked Fyse. Recently emerged from the shower, he is digging through drawers in search of some vaguely clean underwear. Just as he is excavating a pile of odd socks there comes the unmistakable sound of someone trying to open his door. He grabs for the closest object to hide his modesty, which turns out to be a box of ‘Crunchy Nut Cornflakes’, and dives toward the door to hold it shut. “Er, can I help you?” Silence. Fyse scrambles into his bathrobe and opens the door with great trepidation.
It is Mrs Delegate. “Ah, good morning. My apologies, I am new here. I think I am lost.”
“Oh. Er, where are you trying to get to?” stammers Fyse, clutching his robe tightly to avoid accidental exposure. It turns out Mrs Delegate is young, Scandinavian and rather attractive.
“Room G31. I am guessing I have taken a wrong turning!”, laughs Mrs Delegate with mellifluous tones and radiant eyes. “Perhaps you could be so kind as to direct me?” Fyse finds himself hoping Mrs Delegate is in fact Miss Delegate.
“Yeah, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong block. You need to go back down into the courtyard and take the lift in the opposite corner.”
“I see. Thank you, that is most helpful.”
“No problem.” says Fyse, attempting an air of heroic altruism.
Miss Delegate pauses, adopting ‘come hither’ eyes. “You look so manly yet sensitive in that scanty robe, and I require a shower after my hot and sweaty journey.” she purrs. “Perhaps you would care to soap my back?” (I confess I may have imagined that bit.)
“Goodbye!” sings Miss Delegate as she disappears down the corridor. Fyse watches her round the corner before turning back into his room, still a little shell-shocked. Returning his bathrobe to its hook, he resumes searching for the errant underwear. But not before pausing to firmly lock the door…