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Here I Stand


At Oxford twenty years ago, one of my closest friends was Nicholas Mellor. Nick would go on to found Merlin, the British countpart to the French organization, Medicins Sans Frontieres, but at Oxford one Hillary term Nick devoted his medical attentions to a fruitcake. Each day at teatime, Nick would pull out the fruitcake, which he kept stowed away in a corner of his room, remove the fruitcake from its tin, and, using a syringe he’d swiped from the Oxford hospital, inject the fruitcake with brandy. At the end of the term, Nick invited me and a few others in for an especially festive teatime. We divvied up the fruitcake, by then drenched in brandy, and, with due ceremony and high hilarity, devoured it.

If Derb hadn’t broached the subject, I’d never have admitted this. But yes. I too am a fruitcake man.


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