Today I was asked by ITV New Anglia West to comment on the feelings of the local Russian-speaking community on the invasion of Ukraine. What didn’t get into the broadcast (copied above) was my last sentence, saying that my heart goes out to the people of Ukraine.
I popped into Ted Baker’s the other day – not to browse through their garments, of course, but simply to look at the interior, and was pleasantly surprised to see some familiar Cambridge characters on the wall. There was Isaac Newton’s rough-hewn image with a piercing gaze, a strikingly young and handsome Lord Rayleigh, and a heavily bearded old Darwin deeply engrossed in his thoughts. ‘What a great idea’, I noted, ‘male scientists as role models to inspire the customers to aim high’.
Then a grand staircase leading to the women’s department caught my attention – and I was almost flying up the stairs before I knew it, in the anticipation of a close encounter with Rosalind Franklin perhaps, or Dorothy Hodgkin, or Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Guess whom or what I saw there instead? Just a couple of dead birds on the wall…
Guiding larger groups is now possible on the streets of Cambridge. According to the new rules:
– Gatherings of up to 30 are allowed outdoors since 17th May 2021. Hence, our guided tours in Cambridge are returning to the usual group size of maximum 20 people.
– Indoor guiding (if and when it becomes possible) will still be in goups of maximum 6 people, plus the guide.
– Social distancing is still important, but it will now be people’s *personal responsibility*, i.e. it will be up to individuals to decide how far they wish to distance themselves from each other. (As a guide, I will need to make sure there is enough room for everyone to be comfortably positioned on the narrow streets of Cambridge!)
– Tracking and tracing will be carried out as before.
On Christmas eve, we ventured out into the freezing streets of Cambridge for a socially distanced walk, just before the new lockdown. It was invigoratingly crisp and merry; we talked about mistletoe and fir trees, camels and festive food, myths, fables and customs, and admired some of the homemade pre-Christmas decorations in Cambridge, such as St. John the Evangelist in a Father Christmas hat on the gate of the eponymous sixteenth-century college.
Excellent news from King’s College Chapel: guided tours are now being offered from Tuesday to Friday this week only (half-term) at the following times: 10:00 – 10.45am, 11:00 – 11.45am, 1:00 – 1.45pm, and 2:00 – 2.45pm. After this, public tours of the Chapel will be offered every Saturday from this coming weekend (31st October) until the end of term. To book: https://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/visit/your-visit
The “Haunted Cambridge” ghost tours by Cambridge tourist guides continue every Friday and Saturday night at 6:30pm, from the front of Great St Mary’s Church (opposite the Senate House). Booking is strongly recommended, as the groups need to be small to observe social distancing. In anticipation of Halloween, there will be two tours every night at the end of October – beginning of November. Visit https://Haunted-Cambridge.uk (click on Tours, to book a tour).
A beautiful, quiet morning in Cambridge yesterday, with ripe, autumnal colours of the veg stalls in the market, art school students cosily settled by Great St. Mary’s sketching crisp townscapes, and a few locals sailing past casually on their bikes. No tourists – just the freshness and immediacy of a weekday morning…
What the eye can’t see, a virtual tour of Cambridge can reveal! I show my original photos of the sights that are not easily accessible or are currently closed to the public, so that you can catch a glimpse of an inner court of a college, a staircase leading to students’ rooms, a historic lecture theatre, a scientific instrument from an exhibition that was used for a ground-breaking discovery, a graduation ceremony in June, and even the roof of King’s College Chapel.
Left: staircase leading to students’ accommodation in an early 16th century college. Top right: on the roof of King’s College Chapel. Bottom right: Maxwell’s original lecture theatre in the Old Cavendish Laboratory on Free School Lane.