I am looking forward to a day-off from formal guiding when I take some visitors from the USA on a day-trip around some of my old haunts in Cambridge. A great perk is that I have recently discovered that my newly acquired CamCard gives me free access to all sorts of places.
Our first stop will be for coffee at my old college Newnham (still one of only 3 of the 31 colleges that does not admit men), followed by a visit to Sir Christopher Wren (architect of St Paul’s Cathedral)’s glorious Wren Library in Trinity College.
Apparently my family has some (obscure) ancestral link with Trinity man Sir Isaac Newton - there is certainly a facial resemblance between the statue in Trinity College Chapel and my father. The mathematical genes definitely skipped a generation with me, fortunately reappearing in my son, so all has not been lost on that front!
Then, depending on the weather, a stroll along The Backs or a ‘scenic drive’ past some Cambridge ‘TVP’s’ (Blue Badge Guiding habits die hard!) to Kings Parade for lunch and memories of the filming of David Puttnam’s multi-Academy Award winning Chariots of Fire which starred several friends among the extras.
During filming, in my capacity as ‘assistant hanger-on’ to a friend who was helping with locations and extras, I was able to watch from behind camera and dine (and then swim in a local hotel’s pool!) with some of the (gorgeous in the eyes of a 21 year old) cast and crew…I still have the film crew/stars ‘team photo’ taken outside the Senate House in which I perch precariously on a bench high up in the back row.
We are then planning to visit Kings College Chapel – surely one of the most breathtaking interiors in the world – where, in my student days I was lucky enough to win a balloted ticket for a Christmas choral service with the world famous Kings College choir.
Hopefully we will also have time (and enough daylight!) to drive back via the moving American War Cemetery at Madingley just a few days before Remembrance Day.
It will be a nostalgic trip – let’s hope the sun shines so we see Cambridge at its best – although a bone-chilling penetrating easterly wind was all part of the experience of life in Cambridge…