Kathy Goudman, 65, lodge porter receptionist at Oriel, takes the rough with the smooth and doesn’t mind being a shoulder to cry on. | Interviewed by Giorgio Scherrer
“My mother was the Yorkshire girl, my dad the Londoner. He was too short for the army in World War II, so he was sent down the pit. In 1968 he wanted to get out and so we moved from Sheffield to Slough. I had finished High School in the North, but we went away before O-levels and I never did them. My father gave me the choice to go to work. And so I did.
I worked as a childminder for some time. One of the boys from back then actually tracked me down on Facebook recently. He wanted me to come to his wedding and now I’m his son’s godmother.
You see, I always liked to be the mummy. I have three daughters of my own, two here in England and one in Australia, and four grandchildren. And I like to give a mummy’s advice. I’m always here as a shoulder to cry on – I’d like to think that that’s how the students see me.
It’s been five years now that I’ve been working at Oriel, though I’ve lived in Oxford since 2001. My second husband, who’s from here, always says that some people think they’re better, just because they’re in Oxford – a bit posh, you know. But when people ask me if Oxford is a nice place to live, I say yes, it is, but no better than any other place because, in the end, there are good and bad things everywhere.
I don’t really have a favourite spot around college – in a way it is just a job here, you know. But I like the mix-up, the students and the atmosphere in the lodge. The people I work with are good fun. And I do like history, so I love the old buildings.
I also like city trips. And knitting. And I’m a real football fan, a Sheffield Wednesday supporter. I like most sports actually – apart from golf, tennis and cricket: they’re just boring!
And I like working. I get fed up with home. Working with this lot here keeps me sane – every day is different, we take the rough with the smooth and everybody’s what they are. And we’re the biggest mickey takers in the whole world, but in a good way.”