Sunday, 26 December 2010

And as the shadows lengthen over Cambridge...

It’s Boxing Day, and the family have just sat down to watch the new version of Upstairs Downstairs. My parents were both enormous fans of the original series and are hugely excited that

everything looks exactly the same; right down to the cupboards and wall friezes... or so they say.

We went to Cambridge today to do some shopping in the sales. The place was freezing cold and half empty, which was surprising, particularly when we saw the news reports from Birmingham and London, where the crowds are large and rowdy and women are apparently scrapping in the shop aisles over cheap bikinis.

John Lewis, which is Cambridge’s flagship department store, was closed, as were many of the smaller shops, but I did splash out on some patent leather shoes. I’ve always wanted a pair for posh events, and Fiona always told me she thought I ought to have some from one of the old Northamptonshire cobblers. A pair of Barkers jumped out at me. Barkers shoes were made in Earls Barton, which was just down the road from where I lived in Higham Ferrers. They were too expensive, but I had to buy them. They will henceforth be for special occasions only, and I will try very desperately not to wreck them, like all my other shoes!

On the way home, we walked past Edward’s old college, King’s, which looked stunning as a silhouette cutting into the electric blue early evening sky. Today is apparently the last day of proper winter weather, and we can expect the temperatures to rise towards the double figures later in the week, which I find, for same strange reason, slightly disappointing.

Edward and Sascha... More blue shadows in the snow

Wednesday 26th December 1660, and Pepys got drenched whilst passing underneath London Bridge. In those days, the narrow arches beneath London's only bridge, created dangerous rapids in the river. Taking a boat through it, could often mean risking life and limb, so much that boatmen would often deposit their passengers one side of the bridge to walk to the other whilst they got on with negotiating the fast-flowing water.

Gossip in the upper society echelons was all about the death of the Princess Royal. The blame had been put rather squarely on the shoulders of her doctors.

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