The Roma lifestyle (though without a caravan or Channel 4 film crew in sight) that dominated May has now come to an end and I am able to spend a little more time at home. Whilst my peripatetic life was great fun, it does play havoc with provisioning and the laundry and left quite a backlog of radio to listen to and BBC4 documentaries to watch. It did also leave me waking in the morning and finding that my first coherent thought was “where am I?”.
Back in South Cambs, and with winter finally in abeyance, I am reminded how much fun it is to be at home. A couple of weeks back, in that time I fondly like to remember as Summer 2013, the sun shone and it was even warm (well, as long as you could find some protection from the north wind). By luck or skill, this coincided with not one, but both Harrises visiting Cambridge: as an event, very much on a par with a State visit, though – perhaps surprisingly – not accompanied by quite the same frenzy of attention from our sadly diminished Fourth Estate.
The plan was to have a pub crawl, though given damage to Harris’ foot (Harris, was fine) a suitably short route was needed. Despite the constraints, Cambridge can offer a very fine collection of hostelries located in pretty Victorian back streets. The Free Press and Elm Tree offered some very fine pints, enjoyed amid the sunny peace and quiet of a Cambridge afternoon. We ended the afternoon at the more touristy (and famous) Eagle in the city centre. I’m afraid that despite the venue, and the inspiration previously consumed, no major breakthroughs in genetics or biochemistry were forthcoming. Harris did expound a number of theories to make hat-wearing more compatible with the positioning of the human ear and these may later be recognised as scientifically significant (though perhaps not up there with the double-helix).
As befitting men of our advanced years, there was no descent into public drunkenness and festivities were done by late afternoon with no-one breaching their RDA of ethanol. The Harrises purchased the elements of a picnic to be consumed on the train home while I headed to the Indigo Café to enjoy its excellent bagels, cake and hot chocolate. It really is a wonderful institution and I’d missed its victuals and friendly staff while I’d been gallavanting around these Isles.
It’s not just cafes and beer: on my first night back, Cambridge offered me an excellent concert by the Britten Sinfonia. The return home has also allowed cooking, singing lessons, cycling , gym-going and sleeping in my own bed to resume. So after a month of enforced dissipation (well, perhaps I may have contributed a little) I am now returning to that most desirable condition of “mens sana in corpore sano“. All-in-all, Cambridge and environs conspire to remind of the splendid place I live – or maybe just to highlight that I’m not cut-out to be an international playboy, but do make a half-decent, if somewhat prosaic, homebody.