Tuesday, March 9, 2004

“I confess …” (an entry for )

I finally did it.

This is a vaguely embarrassing confession.

After five months living in Cambridge, I finally made it to Granchester.

Granchester. The village that’s a mere 40 minutes by foot up the Cam. Famous as a favoured hangout of Russel, Wittgenstein, Plath, those sorts of people.

Oh, and Lord Jeffrey Archer lives there. Apparently.

I woke late (without going into details, a committee, a new constitution, beer and a midnight full English breakfast with flatmates was involved) and decided to take the day off and cycle upstream. (Not literally, my cycling trousers are not entirely waterproof.)

Naturally, I got lost. The pedestrian tow-path runs into a fen nature reserve, barred to cyclists. It took a fair bit of map-jiggering to get back on track.

To get to Granchester involves passing through the English countryside. I mean, The English Countryside. You expect to see James Herriot elbow-deep in a calving cow or Constable at his easel at every turn.

A robin red-breast nearly flew into my face when I startled it from a tangle of bramble, green and yellow spring fields beside the ambling Cam, that kind of thing.

(Apparently in Granchester, they still call it The Granta.)

Anyway, it made my realise that Cambridge can get a bit claustrophobic in a way a big city doesn’t, just because it is so small. The open air did me a power of good, except on the way back when the wind was in my face not at my back, when it just sliced right through me.

Granchester’s a pretty village, where almost every building is named: “The Old Vicarage”, “The Old School”, “The Old Master’s House”, “Balls Park”, that kind of thing. It also had some good pub signs, and faded out into farms and horse-stables fairly quickly.

The main attraction is meant to be afternoon tea in The Orchard, which, frankly, has the sole attraction of being out-of-doors and leafy and green. (One could just as easily go to the Botanic Gardens). Still, all very pretty, a pleasant little two-hour trip and another New Thing.

There are some other recent New Things. I’m going to do a radio play read-through tonight, and I – well – sorry, Mum – shaved my head on Sunday night. But that’s another story.

So, I took a day off work. When I cleared my e-mail I found a very brief note from my supervisor. She thinks my dissertation is done except for the tidying and there’s no need to meet again unless I have questions.

Golly. It’s not due for another seven weeks …

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