Up the Twisting Staircase

My university didn’t really do modern accommodation, or at least my college didn’t. Instead students were tucked away past twisting staircases in rooms with sloping ceilings, leaded roofs and windows with unevenly blown, half inch thick glass, mottled with imperfections.

The dining hall would make any Harry Potter fan weep with envy, and half the lawns were discreetly marked with those little signs telling you to stay off the grass. In my second year I could open my window at night and if I had dared I could have climbed out into Phillip Pullman’s novels and joined Lyra in her midnight scramble across Oxford’s spires.

It was an absorbing world, comforting and secluded, an education in itself.


In the following extract from Braving Madness, Edward is entering a tavern seeking that same sanctuary.

He was a fool; a fool to kiss her, a fool to look for pleasure in the wrong place. And thanks to his assistance, she’d probably catch pneumonia and die, and he’d be a fool without a bride.

Nearing in the inner door, candlelight glimmered through the dimpled glass panes, reflections distorted and twisted on the smooth surface. Inside was a haven from the cold, and, apart from the odd serving maid, a sanctuary from opinionated women. Men huddled over their brew after their days work, their low voices mixing with the soft clink of pewter and the rush of ale flowing from the barrels standing behind the bar.

About Jessica Baker

Mother, writer, DIYer View all posts by Jessica Baker

2 responses to “Up the Twisting Staircase

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