Oxford characters

I was saddened to here of Zoe Peterssen's death this week. Here is a link to a story in the Oxford Mail about her.

Zoe was a former academic who gave it all in, as she told me, for nature. She was most often seen sitting on the benches on the long tree-lined approach to Christ Church, drawing trees and flowers on large pieces of paper. She also enjoyed the gardens of St. John's, especially in Spring, as the trees in new leaf there pleased her. I often spoke to Zoe on my wanderings around Oxford and was always heartened by her warmth and her gift of time. She would let me watch her draw, tell me something philosophical, before giving me one of the cards she had made, in return for very little payment. Whenever I was troubled, and taking a walk to think my trouble out, Zoe had an ability to appear at just the right time and place, much more than would be co-incidental; or perhaps I was subconsciously looking for her...

As the story and comments in the Oxford Mail show, Oxford is rich with characters. I don't mean that in a pejorative way, as I admired them all. There are individuals whom everyone who has ever lived in the city will recognise and have some nickname for or some story about. So say to someone who has lived in Oxford, 'Did you see the tree-drawing lady/'Ragdolly Anna'/one man band'/(if you go to any gig)'the dancey lady' among many others, will elicit instant recognition of who you're talking about. I think it's an unusual characteristic specific to the city. Oxford is just the right size and attracts the right sort of eccentrics and individuals. Here's to them.

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