Wednesday, December 10, 2003

More Harry Potter by the moment

The first of Cambridge’s misty December days today, a light continuous fog that conducts bone-eating chill through your clothes.

Somehow, I am still getting no work done. Shortly, this will become a real problem.

Anyway, getting a little sight-seeing in. The weekend was rest mostly, except for a disappointing effort to catch my first evensong service at King’s College Chapel – only to find evensong was done for the term, recommencing 13 January. Still, interesting to take a look about: the Chapel in its heraldry is virtually a document of the Tudor/Plantagenet power struggle. It was begun by Henry VI (of the red Tudor roses), the continued by the “interloping” Edward IV and Richard III (the white Plantagenet roses), and after Bosworth Field was finished under the stewardship of Henry VII (who had the sense to marry a Plantagenet and change the crest to a red and white rose) and VIII. Greyhounds, red dragons and portcullises belonging to heraldry of various family branches finish off the decorations.

You can buy a little plush Henry VIII at the gift shop and a complete set of wives (heads all firmly attached, alas), but I settled for a batch of postcards.

However, I have saved my tacky-souvenir money for a college scarf: the black and white of Trinity Hall on one side, the two-tone blue of Cambridge on the other, appropriate embroidered crests on each side. A scandalous expense, but cozy warm good-quality wool and a decent (just above knee) length.

It’s the scarves that add a real Potter-esque quality to Cambridge life, I saw an under-grad borderline goth-rock girl the other day (all black and denim and tall Docs) sporting a cheerful green Caius scarf. (“Yup, I’m a rebellious individual – and a staunch Cambridge college gal.”). Their other amusing power is door-opening: University members get in to a number of places (like King’s Chapel) free – which is fair enough. But if wearing a college scarf you are never “carded”. Not a bad investment for the average tourist at £15 - £25.

Have to admit, am becoming ludicrously attached to mine as one of those visible badges of identity. All this from a man who never owned a football scarf in Melbourne …

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