There was once a leak from Hebdomadal Council. The Assessor told her husband, who told my wife, who told me that Monday afternoon had been spent discussing what Lucas would say if various courses of action were adopted, leading to the conclusion that it would be best to do nothing. I was flattered, but a bit surprised. The tide of philosophical scepticism had ebbed, and it was generally allowed that a reasonable way of discovering what someone would say was to ask him. Dick Southwood did: he would quiz me in Common Room – sometimes ending "Thank you for letting me bounce these ideas off you" – and had reliable information about how one member of Congregation would react to various proposals. And not only me: he was a listening Vice-Chancellor, who used to bike from Wellington Square to Merton for lunch, greeting many as he passed them, and ready to stop if occasion warranted it. Of course, there are many other leaks. I remember once attending a meeting in the Town Hall to argue for cycle tracks, and someone coming up to me, and saying, "You’re having a tussle with Council, aren’t you? I think you ought to see the minutes of their latest meeting"; the next day there was a copy in my pigeon hole, giving me just the ammunition I needed. What members of Congregation tend the forget is the existence – the other side of the green baize door, so to speak – of a corps of bedells.
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