Quack! I Could Have Been a Don

Oxford, England

With David Backman

August 2002


Leaving Stratford-upon-Avon, Dave and NOT took the train to Oxford. Their hostess Deb took them on a tour of this fabled university. 

After climbing a steep stone spiral staircase, they were rewarded with an amazing few of one of the 23 colleges that make up Oxford. 


Having just finished reading The Professor and the Madman, NOT begged to see where the Oxford English Dictionary was created.

Deb brought them to the very house in which the first edition of the famous OED was put together, and pointed out the mailbox on the corner, installed to accommodate the words, definitions, and quotations sent from all over the world. 

NOT tried to mail himself to the editor-in-chief in that very mailbox, insistent that "notduck" had entered the common parlance, and cited the first use of his name in Zardoz Magazine as proof.


Back in the heart of town, they passed the "Eagle and Child" pub, known to the locals as the "Bird and Baby." This is where J.R.R. Tolkien read from chapters of "The Hobbit" before it was published, and C.S. Lewis did the same with "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." 

However, NOT's dramatic reading of the OED failed to win over the crowd.


Europe Travel

Photos courtesy of David Backman

Last Updated November 2002