Tag Archives: Cambridge

What an English spring means

What an English spring means

The days are getting longer and lighter, which is lovely. The weather is still thoroughly English though.

Here’s Cambridge, on the bank holiday, at 18:51. Rowers turn in the sunshine and it’s all pretty idyllic.
Rowers on the Cam in bright sun

And then a few minutes later, at 19:20, the people we’re waiting for turn up and we can all go for a picnic a nice stroll a quick dash to a soggy dinner in the pub.
A narrowboat docks in pouring rain

Still a lovely weekend though, as I’m sure all present will agree.

Cambridge – a beautiful day

Cambridge – a beautiful day

We’re back in the UK for a few days. It’s a bit of a frantic trip, but I did have one moment of quiet. We were in Cambridge at the weekend (we’re now in Yorkshire) and I met a friend for lunch. As it was sunny, we took an improvised picnic onto Jesus Green.

A wide green grassy area with trees in the distance on a sunny day.

This is what I miss about Cambridge. Sitting on the common on a beautiful day when the whole city seems to have come out to play. You only get that in urban areas where people don’t have their own little patch of grass to sit on at home.

My friend and I are working on a shared knitting project – blanket squares – so it seems apt that we found this on the way home.

Close up shot of knitting wrapped around a lamp postA knitter or knitting group have been very busy dressing all the lamp posts in the avenue on Jesus Green. It looks amazing. It’s hard to photograph it well. I’m incredibly curious as to which knitting group did this – I knew people in several in the city, and I’d love to congratulate the folks behind it!

Commuting to Narnia

Commuting to Narnia

Two rows of big, old trees twine branches over a path scattered with fallen leaves.

Cambridge is pretty and it’s been pretty for a long time. It’s not a city which has to work at it any more. Walking around London, say, or Sheffield then bright, lovely spots interrupt a grey day or a dull, concrete vista like fireworks.

You don’t get that in Cambridge. The city has been carefully curated, to the point where it seems perverse to look for the beauty in a trashcan when the river or the colleges are right in front of you.

On the other hand, it’s great if you are a lazy photographer as you’ll find entrancing spots without having to wander. This avenue of trees is on Jesus Green, near the river, is one of my favourite spots – and it was part of my daily commute for several months.

I love cycling through this tunnel. I think it looks like a pathway to Narnia, perhaps because of the tall black lampposts which line the path, and I get such a thrill cycling through it on a bright, windy day.

As I was going to St Ives…

As I was going to St Ives…

A green field in Cambridgeshire with sheep grazing on it. The land is s flat that there's nothing to see in the distance and the picture is mostly blue sky

Proof that the sun does shine in this rainy country! There’s so much sky when the countryside is as flat as it is round here.

Went out to St Ives on the Guided Bus last weekend and the ride is gorgeous. The track runs along an old railway line, through some absolutely stunning countryside. As the busway is quite narrow, it’s easy to look out at the sheep in the fields and the birds on the lakes.

A return ticket only costs £4 (although return tickets are only valid on certain buses as there are two companies operating the same route) and there’s a cycle path, too, which we might have to try when the weather warms up again.

Home again

Home again

Two sunken and two floating punts nestle together in the sunshine on the brakish green waters of the River Cam.

The photo of punts in the sunshine on the River Cam is entirely gratuitous and I certainly didn’t take it today. That would mean leaving the house during daylight hours and being dressed and all kinds of other complications. 

Normal blog service will resume on Monday when – hopefully – I’ll take you on a tour of the East Coast*, from DC to NYC.

In the meantime, I’m going to concentrate on being awake during the day and sleeping at night. My parents have been insisting that these are important skills my whole life, so I figure it’s worth a shot. Unfortunately, jet lag is kicking my arse this time and I feel as eerily off-kilter as the riverbank in that photo. We had well and truly acclimatised to EST and coming back on a red eye (left at 21:00, arrived at 09:00 and only took five hours) meant we didn’t get much sleep. Two days later, I’m still not sure what time it is and am likely to wake up at four in the morning bright-eyed and with nothing to do but watch TV. Again.

Good thing we’ve got BBC iPlayer, that’s all I can say.

* This East Coast tour does not include any actual coast although there might be some photos of New York harbour.

Cambridge – still common

Cambridge – still common

A row of cottages with two cows grazing outside and a path in the foreground.

Cambridge is very green. The city centre is bounded by the river and broken up by wide open spaces which mostly only have trees round the edges. They’re well used. Picnickers, dog walkers, runners, cyclists, kids playing, teenagers drinking, people sleeping rough – every segment of Cambridge society seems to have an interest in these bits of open land.

But my favourite passers-by are the cows.

Picture is of two cows grazing on Midsummer Common in front of a row of charming cottages – one with roses at the door – which now cost something like half a mill each.