An introverted friend, hearing the class was limited to 8-12 people, said, "Then there's no escape!" My extroverted sister, hearing the same thing, said, "Good, then you can really get to know people!"
They're both right, of course, and there's room to be alone as well as in company. One of the nice things about staying here is getting to talk to other people at meals. At breakfast yesterday I met a woman who divides her time between London and Oxford and whose next-door neighbor here for many years was Philip Pullman! In fact, she just had a coffee with his wife last week and learned that his new book, something about Jesus, is sure to provoke controversy. She knows where he lives now, but has vowed never to tell...
At dinner last night I sat next to a witty Englishman who lives in Australia but has come here for the last 19 years to take courses and spend a month back home. A mixture of Rumpole (physically) and every quick-witted Englishman you've ever met. He's on the parish churches course - I seem to be meeting them everywhere, while of the Dostoevskians there is no sign.
Off to breakfast on this rainy morning, then another seminar. Perhaps the rain will force me to stay inside and work instead of roaming around Oxford as I did yesterday afternoon. Details later.