And he’s back! In more ways than one. Not just a triumphant homecoming to the blog this weekend, but also to Cambridge. Like the proverbial canine (26:11) I have returned to the site where I have previously thrown-up pearls of language – though to the uninitiated they may look more like diced carrot in a sea of something even less appetising.
This is my first visit to Cambridge in more than 10 months: my longest separation from the city in over a decade. The locals do not seem to have been looking after it quite as well as I might have hoped. The area around the station is even more of a mess than when last I left and is girt by an even denser forest of new blocks of flats (or, this being Cambridge, apartments). Far worse than this, however, Fitzbillies has stopped offering dinner! It’s all very well opening a new branch, but where is a chap supposed to dine of an evening? What about his much need glass of Sipian? I was forced to dine at my current local – The Punter – which did offer a decent meal and two very acceptable pints of Punter Blonde, but it wasn’t the same. At my age, I don’t handle change well – which is, of course, why I shall be voting to stay in the EU: it is way too late for me to learn to handle a new take on European realpolitik.
My “digs” in Cambridge are at Westminster College – and very fine they are too. I think one of the advantages of living in a tiny garret is that wherever else I lay my hat seems suprisingly roomy: though I did narrowly avoid staying in a space ominously referred to as “the Hobbit room”, a description which I believe refers to the ceiling height, rather than a requirement for furry feet. Westminster is a theological college – a natural fit for me with my O-level in Religious Studies and my natural tendency towards sainthood. A notice I spotted on my way down to breakfast was kind enough to provide this post’s title. I think it may refer to an ecclesiastical position – not something I’m planning on taking up in the near term – but as I increasingly find myself the oldest person in the room, I feel it has broader application to my life. Well, either that or it is a more upmarket way of saying “grab a granny”.
As I arrived at the college to check-in, I had to walk the wrong way down the receiving line for a wedding. I was at serious risk of being showered with confetti – luckily, my choice of a bright red shirt reduced the risk of me being mistaken for the bride. I think red weddings remain confined to the work of George RR Martin when he has lost his grip on a large number of characters and needs to reassert control. Oddly, throughout my whole visit to Cambridge I seem to be being pursued by brides. Lunching with a friend yesterday, I found myself directly opposite the main registry office with a procession of nuptials being celebrated in insufficiently warm clothing. I also passed a hen party whilst walking the streets of the city: not a partciularly common site in broad daylight.
Despite the ready availability of potential brides, in deference to my accomodation, I remain steadfast in my commitment to chastity. The expansion of poverty I leave up to the government (who seem to be doing a sterling job in this area) and I fear I shall never really come fully to grips with obedience: though again the government’s drunken lurching towards a police-state for all but the über-rich may assist here. Have I divined the government’s hidden plan? A move to mass monasticism. We are all gradually forced into poverty and obedience while ever rising house prices, to provide investment opportunities to the global criminal elite, mean that the prospect of a monk’s cell comes to looks like luxuriously spacious living.
Still, enough with the lodging-inspired attempts at satire. The more important lesson of the weekend is that I have moved beyond Cambridge. I shall always be fond of it and have firends here but home and my life are now very firmly based on Southampton