Sunday, March 20, 2005

A fine three-day weekend

When you’ve suffered through a five month British winter, even when you did get to go home for Christmas, even when you’ve promised your supervisor a frankly silly amount of work by Monday – nothing is going to keep you indoors when the mercury hits 17c and the sky is pristine blue, like the shrink wrapping just came off.

So, I cheerfully threw my Friday away and got myself out into the sun – snapping some photos included over here under “End of Lent Term”. By far the best moment came with bumping into another couple of sun-delirious Aussie international lawyers. One had just finished applying for research exchange programs to the States, the other had just finished a term’s teaching and had booked a week’s skiing in Austria.

We sat at the riverside near Magdelene college and watched a guy accidentally spear a bike on the bottom of the Cam with his punt pole and drag it up from the weedy depths.

I had Jasmine and Peter up for the weekend from London, and despite abandoning them for a few hours on Friday to go to a formal dinner at Downing, we had a fine old time in Cambrige.

Besides, they gave me a long awaited excuse to tackle a 1999 Royal Hungarian Tokaji I’d been saving for a special occasion (never has a dessert wine been so smooth and apricot-y). For double the fun, we even teamed up with some friends of my sister’s over from Oxford for some Saturday punting action.

I didn’t spear any bicycles, but got us without mishap through an hour of tourist-fuelled mayhem on the river. We were rammed once by an undergrad punting a whale of a barge of a punt, but everyone stayed in the punt, including, happily the guy attached to the punt pole – me.

As always, there was some poor Japanese dude, first time in a punt, at 90 degrees to the current and the traffic just prodding about helplessly with the punt pole while his girlfriend looked amused. I tell you, there's one every sunny summer weekend day.

We happy three also got through a hit-parade of Colleges, pubs and ducked through King’s Chapel and the Fitzwilliam Museum, and more or less rounded off the weekend in Cambridge with an outstanding pub lunch at the Free Press, one of the few non-smoking pubs in Cambridge.

Anywhere three people can have two courses and wine for £40 is great by me, especially when the lamb shank portions are so huge Jasmine had to declare defeat.

Very full of food and sleepy now, time for some West Wing DVDs and an early night.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a fabulous day for international law: I’m certainly well rested and gloriously fortified for it. If it's sunny again though, my productivity may be ruined. (My flatmates have been checking sites obsessively: is picking rain; is backing sun. Go figure.)

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