The short tale of Catz in Mansfield

Members of the Catz MCR community know that signing up for (exchange) events is not easy: at least five minutes before the sign up opens, you have to access your emails, find the electronic form that the social secretaries sent, fill in your details and wait, stretching your fingers above the ‘submit’ button; wait, until the (digital) clock ticks midday. Then, you have to click the ‘submit’ button as quickly as you can, approximating -if possible- the speed of light. You have to click, and hope that your internet connection doesn’t let you down.

In short, this is what happened for the exchange dinner in Mansfield College: the sign-up was full in the first two…milliseconds. It’d better be worth it, we must have all thought.


It was a(nother) wet Wednesday. Rain had decided to make an extended visit, in order to remind us that we live in the UK and should not be fooled by two days of beautiful sunshine. Mansfield had asked us to wear formal clothes and gowns. (Gowns?!) I retrieved my gown from the bottom of my wardrobe (where it resided after Matriculation), mounted by bike and arrived to Mansfield – soaked, but excited. Slowly, Catz members assembled and managed to reach the small but cosy Mansfield MCR, while staring at the beautiful Victorian buildings surrounding the quad.

After a glass of wine at the MCR, we were guided to the dining hall which, in the case of Mansfield, is also… the (old) chapel. The chapel/dining hall is not often used for religious purposes anymore, but the space still carries a ‘sacred’ aura…

…into which Catz members immersed, after a substantial amount of wine, good food and pleasant company.

With every moment being captured by avid photographers and the wine flowing, we somehow found ourselves in the Mansfield library. The library is not a chapel – but is definitely one of the most beautiful I have been to in Oxford. We quickly browsed through the books and efficiently disturbed Mansfield students, before being politely asked to leave.

Soon after, most of us left – happy to know that our quick sign-up skills were put into good use. The night ended how it had begun – with us staring at the buildings around the Mansfield quad, and raindrops flooding the streets of Oxford.

…Or not? Something had changed! Brave beyond words MCR member Jelle managed to find the Mansfield sword, sneak it out of Mansfield and bring it to Catz!…

Members of Mansfield College are visiting us today (Friday). Will they retrieve the sword? Stay tuned, and come to the MCR for port, cheese and chocolates after the Guest Dinner! 😉