Friday, 5 September 2008

Cambridge!

cloudy, rainy, cool - temps 18

Phew, we're here. Plane easy, though the woman in front of me put her seat all the way back the whole time so I couldn't even open a book. Listened to music instead, and dozed. Honestly, the airlines shouldn't make seats that go that far into someone else's precious and miniscule territory. Not the passenger's fault - if you're allowed to do it, why not? Though I never do since I know how it makes me feel...couldn't very well do that to someone else. If nothing else I'd lose the moral high-ground, which is even more precious that airplane space.

But flight was easy and uneventful. BA lounge wonderful. Through passport control quickly and baggage arrived lickity-split. Michael bought his giant Toblerone bar at Duty Free. Since we don't smoke or drink that's his equivilant of a stogie and cognac. And, he admitted, the only real reason to fly anymore.

We found the bus terminal at Heathrow, hopped on the bus to Cambridge...2 hours later they let us off on the side of the road - and the heaven's opened. Within a minute we were all soaked. But the lovely bus driver, seeing our confusion, got out, got soaked himself, and pointed us in the right direction.

We went in the wrong direction.

We were looking for Adam & Eve Lane. Can you believe it? What a great name! Two weeks ago, at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island we were invited to a cocktail party and among the guests was a wonderful Anglican (Episcopalian) Bishop. We got to talking and quoted poetry to and at each other. Auden, at 10 paces. He won when he quoted four marvelous lines from In the Time Being - a wonderful, but for me impenetrable poem. Anyway - I was telling him about our upcoming travels to Cambridge, where Michael was an alumnus at Christ's College - and he said he'd also graduated from Cambridge...Jesus College. He laughed and said one of his prize possessions was the photograph of a street sign. Jesus College is on Jesus Lane, in Cambridge - which is one way. So the sign shows the name - Jesus Lane, and an arrow pointing in one direction.

Wonderful.

We finally found the flat - lovely, small, modern, nicely designed apartment. Unpacked, dried off, then Michael made reservations (as promised) for Afternoon Tea. But decided on the University Arms Hotel - an easy walk from the flat. off we went and subsided, exhausted, into huge leather chairs in front of stained glass windows showing the ancient colleges coats of arms. We wolfed down sandwiches, scones and clotted cream and cream cakes. And Darjeeling tea.

Bliss.

Then the sun came out and we made our way through the cobbled streets to Marks and Spencers (the only reason I travel - to visit M&S) and get some food for the apartment.

And now we're back! tired, damp, and so enjoying ourselves. Need to make a hair appointment for tomorrow. I saw my reflection in a shop window and I scared even myself. I look like the scarecrow in Oz.

If I only had a brain. Actually, what I really long for is a bed.

Nighty night. Speak to you tomorrow. Michael's big day at Christ's College and the founding meeting for their medical society. I'm sure I'll be called upon to advise, which is why I need a haircut.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been to an Adam and Eve Mews in London, which I remember as being quite charming. But I also remember the shock of discovering, on one of my first trips to London, that Shepherdess Walk wasn't nearly as picturesque as it sounded.

Kay said...

Love the story about the lady on the plane. Yes, I know that you can put the seat back, but I have never done it. I hate it so badly when the person in front of me does it. Moral high ground indeed.

Have a great trip.

Elizabeth said...

I so love to hear all about your travels. My great-grandfather went to St. John's College Cambridge before coming out to Canada as an Anglican clergyman. Typical story of a younger son who didn't inherit so went into the Church and on to the colonies. He married the daughter of a cabinet minister under Sir John A., so ended up impovished but well connected, as they say. We still have 2 wall plaques featuring the college's coat of arms that belonged to him. The backs read "A.W. Crisp & Co., 16 King's Parade". I wonder if the company is still there. Have fun and make sure to tell us all about it. Love your sense of humour.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Anon,

I only just learned there is an Adam and Eve mews in London. Too bad about Shepherdess Walk. We're having a great time wandering the back streets of Cambridge. So far nothing has disappointed - though today we ended up meandering through the garbage bins, having taken a wrong turn somewhere. The adventure of travel.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Kay,

I actually wrote a scene in book 5 (The Brutal Telling) with Gamache crammed into the middle seat on an interminable flight, and the person in front putting their seat down. And the people on either side claiming the arm rests. And a child screaming.

It was very theraputic. The only thing more theraputic would have been had he pulled out a gun and shot them. sadly, the Chief Inspector is far more civilized than I. Still, he didn't much enjoy the experience.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Not for the first time I have the feeling I'm half a step behind you in my journies. A comforting and fun feeling, actually. Love the story of the great grandfather. St John's College is one of the handful of Cambridge colleges on 'the Backs'. Which means it backs onto the river Cam. As you know, those are wonderful, scenic college - much sought after. What a time he must have had.

And I understand what you descvribe for his later life. My mother describes her own experience (and therefore ours) as living in genteel poverty.

Thanks for keeping in touch.