Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Cambridge first stay

We had planned this stay some time ago, and it had been booked before Storm Abigail was forecastered.  However we still had a great time exploring...but with all the walking I now have a pain in the hip, which hopefully will be gone by tomorrow.

From our B & B, we chose to walk along the river into the City, and for our first lunch we went to the Pint Shop, which Vicki had recommended...and now I too recommend it. It is close by the information centre and without lots of the usual street facing adverts, billboards etc it is not easy to find.  The beer was well kept and absolutely delicious..I had a 'smoked' one which went well with my roasted Jerusalem Artichoke, frisee and smoked bacon salad, and then my Venison and Steak baked suet pudding and veg...best pudding I have ever had...pastry really thin and crispy and packed full of meat.

Of course I kept my eye out for angels

Mr S wanted to visit the Cambridge University Library where some of books from Moore's Collection of over 30000 books, donated by King George I to Cambridge University Library in 1715 were on show.  The Books and manuscripts on display kept us enthralled for ages.

 This is an illustration of Winter Cherry from a 1542 book: De historia stirpium by Leonhard Fuchs.

These were other little pretty  bits and pieces, but there was very much more, so much than at least one more visit would be needed....

To get to the library we had a walk across the Cam with wonderful views of the backs

There were punts, with large punts for groups of tourist, so had it been warmer and less windy, a nice punt along the river and under the various bridges would have been a nice way of spending some time, but I am sure that we shall return, so this is down on the list for next time.

We popped into various colleges, visited ancient quadrangles, with beautiful lawns, chapels where groups of students were practicing their music or singing, which gave an additional dimension

 and how about this, which is one of a pair of Pelican doorstops for the chapel at Corpus Christi College

..and as the light faded for a change the stained glass windows could be admired from the outside, and with wet pavements, and being to peep into splendid rooms, with books, chandeliers etc, it was worth being out still even though we had umbrellas and coats..

After the Library and a general walk around we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Fitzwilliam Museum.  There was so much to see there, and of course, like many a museum, so much more to see, and so many visits required to do it justice.  The building alone together with its grand entrance is worth seeing.  I loved these two pieces of ceramic which had belonged to William Morris.

After another walk along the Cam, across some fields and then into the City, we spent Saturday morning  in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.  Even since I was little, looking through some huge volumes of Peoples of the World which my parents had, I have been interested in this area.  

Now I love to see the objects we have in our Museums collected during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and also more recent ones.  I admire the standards of craft and art, and get so much pleasure and inspiration from them.  How about this for the most beautiful of carved items which was used to bail water out of a canoe...surely made as a ceremonial piece to pay homage to a great leader.

This is a beautiful and intricate Bead Apron still on the loom.  The Macusi women of Guyana, in South America wove  ceremonial Keweyu or beaded aprons which they wore on special occasions.  The threads were spun and in this instance glass beads were threaded onto the cotton then woven in.  One of my blogging friends has told me that similar bead weavings are made in Africa too. I shall look out for those maybe at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford where many more artifacts are on show, compared to the Museum in Cambridge.

Another bit of weaving from New Zealand....these small bags known as ketes are made from New Zealand flax: phormium tenax, which is a strap like plant, not at all like the flax used for weaving linen type cloth. 

there were beautifully carved spoons

and huge food bowls/platters

We then went forth and found somewhere nice for lunch and a rest, then popped into Pepys Library. I was amazed that the whole of Pepys's Library which he donated to his old College Magdalene was open to the public.  All of the 3000 or so books and papers are in the original bookcases designed by Pepys himself in 1666 and made by dockyard craftsmen.  The original glass and desks are reasons enough not to allow any bags, and also no photography is permitted.  

There were some interesting books and documents open and exhibited in cases...and one which particularly appealed to me was his entry in his diary about his going to an interesting lecture at the Royal Society which covered several ways of making bread, of which he says the best bread was to be found in France.  We also loved the drawings of the fleet which were on display including a detailed drawing of the Mary Rose.

To finish off the day we attended Evensong at Kings College Chapel.  It was a really touching occasion, and we followed the Service with printed service and books which were in front of us as we sat in the Choir, with very little light except for some candles and low level lighting.  There were special prayers said for those affected by the dreadful events in Paris, and also around the world.  After the service I walked to the altar to admire the beautiful embroidered altar cloth and the Rubens Painting the Adoration of the Magi.  We were then invited to stay to an organ recital by the Organist of the Chapel Royal Windsor.  There were only a handful of us listening, but it was truly amazing to be so close to the organ.

For Sunday I had planned nothing but a visit to the Botanical Gardens, so after a great breakfast, and packing up the car, we made our way to the southern side of the City.  Unfortunately there were strong gusts well above 20 mph, and they were not admitting anyone...I can quite understand this, as there were many large trees swaying around.  Now for sure, I know we shall be returning!

Just to finish off our time in Cambridge we drove onto Grantchester, sadly it was not quite time for tea, and the clock was not at ten to three...there were pretty thatched cottages

But with the strong winds continuing, we decided to get back in the car and make our way home.


  1. Oh I enjoyed your post Noelle. I grew up not far away from Cambridge and used to visit regularly. It must be a few years though since my last visit. I keep promising myself a visit to the Botanical Gardens sometime when I go down to see my mum. A shame that you could not make it this time but as you say you will be returning :)

    1. How fortunate you are Anna to know this wonderful City so well. Hubby and I are still talking about it, and will certainly return during the Summer. It would be fun to stay in one of the Colleges, so must work out if that is possible.

  2. Glad you are having a great time exploring .The William Morris platters are gorgeous . I once had a go at this Africaan beading and weaving when I was at College . Abigail and Barney didn't amount to anything much here in the end ..I wonder what the next storm name will be ? : )

    1. Hi Debs, I love to look at all the crafts, ancient and modern....sadly I had no craft or art education at school, so making up for it now! Your new blog is a treat. We had a tree come down on our road during Barney, but the authorities came and cleared it really quickly as it is on a bus route.