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Shifting under my feet

February 16, 2019

I popped into the local Oxfam shop and spotted in the ‘books for free’ box a history of my Oxford college, Wadham.

Feeling it would be impious of me not to give it a good home I took it and stuffed some change into the collecting tin to show my disapproval of the unappreciative folk of High Wycombe.

And when I got back home I started to read… And discovered right in the first pages of the first chapter that I had drifted into a parallel universe.

I might have drifted across the time lines some while back. It’s hard to tell.

The reason I knew was that this here book, published by the college itself, says that Nicholas and Dorothy Wadham were childless.

And I have it fixed in my memory that I learned when going up to the college that they had founded the place as a memorial to their son who had died in some obscure war on the continent.

I’ve known this for decades. I’ve never bothered to look it up. It wasn’t necessary to do so. But now Wikipedia says the same thing (though who knows? They might have just read this same source) and I am either a) Someone who has been Wrong for decades b) Someone who has recently gone Wrong and is overlaying one story (perhaps Sir Phillip Sydney?) on another or c) someone who slips across alternate histories without meaning to.

I think I’m going for the third explanation: it’s the most romantic.

If only this slip-sliding were under conscious control. I would be the functional equivalent of one of the Nine Princes In Amber. Only without the immortality and infinite coolness, obviously. I could at least find my way to the happier possibilities where Nigel Farage is calling for another referendum and President Hiilary Clinton is trying to persuade the Senate to go along with her health reform plans.

  1. Jon Hancock permalink

    Ken St Andre used to say that we slip between parallel worlds all the time and without noticing, which is why one minute you can’t find your keys anywhere and the next they’re back where you know you left them and where you definitely already looked.

    • I frequently get the same feeling. It couldn’t possibly be that I’m getting old, forgetful and vague could it? No! Inconceivable!

  2. Have you been going out in the fog again?

    Meanwhile I just have to put up with knowing that the ending of The Eagle of the Ninth was quite different in my original line: that the eagle was found, but the circumstances of its finding were evidence of the disgrace of the Ninth, and so it was hidden again.

    • Early last Thursday morning as a matter of fact. You can have all the mist and fog you want just now provided you’re willing to get up early enough to find it. I thought it quite appealing at the time, making the Rye look like an extension of Faery. I must firmly write this down as another good reason I don’t like to get out of bed too early.

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