Sunday, 5 August 2012

Cambridge joy

We’ve been in Cambridge all day, celebrating my birthday in an unofficial sort of way. We arrived in a rain storm, and the forecast was fairly dire for the rest of the day, so we sat under a tree, in a miserable heap, trying to eat a picnic whilst the rain lashed down around us. I guess it was a fairly miserable moment for us all. The tree kept us relatively dry, and there were tiny slithers of blue in the sky, but periodically an enormous drip of water would land on my head and a sense of sadness would engulf me once again. All hopes of punting out into the countryside around Grantchester vanished. The idea of being stranded on a punt which was slowly filling with water made me shudder.

We decided instead to wait for the rain to clear and hope for enough of a window in the weather for a quick punt along “The Backs.”Oddly, just as I was about to throw in the towel and suggest we just went to the pub, the sun popped out, and suddenly there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

My companions for the day were Ian, Jem, Nathan, Sam and James from the choir, Brother Edward and Sam’s Matt. It was a very gay day, and as a result, we all felt incredibly relieved to be joined by the feminine energy of James’ friend Gill, and, of course my brilliant parents.

We hired two punts and, whilst drifting along The Backs, Brother Edward (a Cambridge graduate) offered us all fake information about the colleges we were passing “this college was built by students from an Ikea flat pack in the mid 1990s,” he said, and as we passed a 1960s block of flats, he told us we were passing a "fine example of Norman architecture." Heaven knows what the American tourists must have made of it all.
We kept expecting the rain, but it never came, so after returning the punts, we went to Jesus Green, and sat on a bench playing a most ridiculous game involving cards and spoons. I don’t often laugh so much that I can’t breathe, but there was something really wonderful about the company, and something very amusing about the game.

We took silly photographs outside King’s College, as the clouds turned from white to black and an eerie wind started to whistle through the Cambridge lanes.
The rain came in bucket loads, just before we reached the train station on the journey home, but as we charged though the countryside towards London, the evening sun started dancing across the fields and glinting in our faces through the train window. More photographs. More laughter. Pains in my arms from the punting... but all worth it. A wonderful day.

Just how cool is it that the Royal Mail are painting their post boxes gold near to the homes of the Olympic athletes who have won their events?
August 5th, 1662, and Pepys finally made it back home from his boat journey from Rochester at 3am. His long suffering, deeply faithful servant, Jane, waited up for him, and he slept until 9am, relieved that tiling had finally started on his newly extended house. Very soon it would be able to start raining again without Pepys going into apoplexy.

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