Cambridge

February 14, 2009

Cambridge

From the bridge at The Mill Pond overlooking Laundress Green and Scudamore’s Punting Company Ltd Granta Place Mill Lane Cambridge CB2 1RS UK at end of term is perhaps the best time to see Cambridge. Students converge there to picnic and drink by the riverside in twilight nocturnal outdoor parties. Commoners Friesian cows graze among them. Skinny youths lark about in the waterfall. A Spitfire may fly over from Duxford. Students climb buildings. Cambridge in the Fens, being delimited, its deliniation, the flanking colleges to the River, the clarity and simplicity of
how the river flows through Granchester Meadows make Cambridge abstract and implausible: Almost as if it were planned not on earth but by god. Its un-nerving
to leave from the city to landscape quickly without transition: From the unconcealed
obvious format of the city. On the seaward side the river flows towards Ely passing
empty white tents where students have celebrated end of term.
The city is ‘town and gown’. It is certainly ‘sniffy’, and it takes longer to get served in a PH than anywhere else in England. Everywhere residencies are tight, the city itself unable and forbidden to expand. More artistic people studied here than anywhere else. The view from the river to King’s college is the single best view anywhere. The most interesting encounter for me was with a boxer Richard Burton look-alike on a re-union visit. Hamlet performed outdoors at Girton College. Some colleges are out-of town slightly. Visit Newnam College Sylvia Plath’s college by twilight in summer. You may see a blonde American student leaving via the college portal.

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