Pink Punting

A pink weekend really. Today was Pink Punting, unrelated to yesterday’s Pink Festival. Simon, Peter, Michael and I met up with about 18 others to punt to Grantchester: brave considering the weather forecast (which as I write is delivering the forecast downpour).

Shared our punt with Steve and Adam, who were good fun. The river was quite fast flowing and amazingly clear (clearest that I’ve ever seen it), so with the strong current it took us a while to get to Grantchester. There were a few little showers that had us reaching for umbrellas.

Punting in the Rain, Steve and Adam

Graham, punting Michael, Pink Punting

River Cam, with picnic spot at the end

We had a lazy picnic under the tree in the photo above, and didn’t follow Richard’s example of a swim (that left his teeth chattering for a about 15 minutes).

Peter and Simon, Grantchester Meadow After lunch napping!

Michael, Grantchester Meadow

Headed back to Cambridge about 3, and Peter had a go at punting for the first time. He tried a precarious mid-river change with Adam, that reminded someone on a passing punt of a game of ‘Twister’. The river bottom was very sticky today: I lost the pole once, Steve managed to loose it three times! Michael excelled at reversing the punt to retrieve the pole.

Peter Punting

Peter Punting Twister on a punt

Pink Festival

Met Simon and Peter in front of the main stage at the Pink Festival in Cherry Hinton Hall. It’s the fifth year of the festival and the weather was great! I enjoyed Futureproof before Simon and Peter arrived (I had no idea that Futureproof were a TV sensation) and Adora was also good. We listened to The Debretts, Tamaki and KTP, who I enjoyed less. Enjoyed a beer in the sun and worried about burning (luckily avoided). Headed over to see Victoria & Jacob at the Alternative tent and enjoyed the mix of things they did with instruments from the Early Learning Centre and synthesizers. Might go to their next gig at the Portland Arms in October if I can.

Pink Festival Pink Festival

Victoria & Jacob

Met Graeme and Bruce from Ipswich when we headed back to the main tent. The music by then was pretty heavy going and the five of us left about half past six to head over to our house for a BBQ. I’d had a few beers by then, and the sun and then some wine added to me ‘good cheer’. BBQ’d a little mountain of food and it was lovely and warm enough to sit in the garden till after 9, when Graeme and Bruce had to get the last train back to Ipswich.

My Position

Here is a snapshot of my position:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=52.187258,0.164430
(click link to open in Google Maps)

Captured 30/08/2008 14:32 (sender’s local time); accurate within 17m
(56 ft).
Caution: Position and accuracy are estimated and are not always
reliable.

Sent from my iPhone using Breadcrumbs!

Annotated Alice

This is an interesting book: it contains the full text of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, with lots of marginal annotations. I didn’t learn as much as I thought I would: there were some really interesting insights into Victorian expressions and culture, some of Carroll’s maths, and quite a few speculations from readers of the earlier editions of the book about what things meant. Some of these were a bit tortuous and the author was happy to point this out!

“Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition” (L Carroll)

Friuli at the Free Press

Had an interesting meal at the Free Press, the first of their European Wednesday menus; a menu from Friuli. Steered clear of the barley and cabbage soup, and enjoyed the plates of antipasti and whitebait to start. Michael had a very flavourful goulash, and I had prawns wrapped in parma ham with a nut sauce on polenta: very yummy. Pudding were prune-filled dumplings (gnocchi di susine). There were eight things on the menu, which was ambitious for the kitchens to make as a one-off. Hopefully it was good fun for them too. The pub was full, so that aspect seemed to work well. The Friuli cuisine is quite rich!

Lunch at the Crown and Thistle

Lounged in bed till almost midday as it is a Bank Holiday and then took a train to Great Chesterford (on the Liverpool Street Line) to have lunch in the Crown and Thistle, which is a lovely pub with pargeting. We had a tasty Woodfords Wherry and then a great lunch, cooked to a high standard. After two pints of beer (and no breakfast!) it was a wandering route back to the train.

Crown and Thistle

Orlando: a Biography

This book was great fun. Not as much fun as Jeanette Winterson’s Boating for Beginners (which has a similar tongue-in-cheek tone). In this occasion, I really do prefer the film to the book. The books is full of wit, and fun, but in the end I found all the references to Vita Sackville West became a bit tedious and and sycophantic (probably because I read all the numerous footnotes). But I still loved the free and wide-ranging story, with sex changes, and wonderful imagery and atmosphere. The book explains some of the strange scenes in the film, and the importance of them. The film is better still, though, with the wonderful Tilda Swinton.


“Orlando: a Biography (Oxford World’s Classics)” (Virginia Woolf)

In the Dungeon

We had an early start today to meet my sister, Christine, her husband, Adam, and Jessica and Lewis, our niece and nephew, for a trip to the London Dungeon. We had a very nice second breakfast while we were waiting for them to arrive in a cafe off Borough High Street called De Gustibus. Michael had an almond meringue which was very nice, chosen from a selection of about five meringue mountains. My fruit flan was very nice too. We started queuing about 10, and by the time the family arrived at 10.20 there was a massive queue behind us that looked like it would take hours to clear.

Warning, Christine! Devis in the London Dungeon

Grim Reaper in the London Dungeon

The London Dungeon trip started off quite poorly. We were hustled from place to place, photo taken in a pose with no explanation or thought to whether we wanted it. The first room, is then a tatty walk-though that takes far too long, but luckily is really a holding queue for the main attractions. These were scenes from London’s grizzly past: the plague, the great fire, Jack the Ripper, ghosts etc. Lots of actors taking us through this in, what must be, an exhausting and repetitive schedule. Some of the actors were great though and I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. The woman in the torture chamber was an especially good torturer and she scared me within seconds of entering the room. The woman in the Sweeney Todd scene was also great fun. There were three or four very good rides/experiences. One was a good water ride and Jessica liked the Sweeney Todd experience (all the lights went out). The whole trip lasted a couple of hours and culminated in a court scene where we tried, found guilt and sentenced to be hanged. The hanging took place in a fairground ride called Extremis: the photo’s speak for themselves:

Christine, Lewis and Adam, The Long DropAdam, Michael and Graham the Long Drop

So it was great trip. Jessica and Lewis were amusing too they ‘weren’t scared’ of anything, but crept closer and closer to holding mum and dad’s hands when things got a little bit scarier. We left on a bit of a high in perfect time for lunch, and headed back to Borough High Street to go the The George Inn, which we discovered on our beer tour a couple of years ago. We had a good lunch and nice Green King beer there, then headed over to the South Bank to have a walk. The Tate Modern was setting up for a new installation in the turbine room (but had impressive street art murals outside that I enjoyed), Wandered over to St Pauls cathedral. I’ve never been in and I’ve wanted to go for a long time to see John Donne’s grave. We had a lovely walk over the Millenium Bridge, but were a bit shocked to discover that it would have cost about £35 for us to enter St Pauls, so decided to move on to Hyde Park, by bus.

The weather was great and Hyde Park had a lively and friendly atmosphere and a Caribbean Festival (with Steel Band). Walked around, and had a good look at the Albert Memorial, which Jessica and Lewis had running races around to keep them occupied while we had a cup of tea. It takes about 50 seconds to run around the monument—not nearly long enough!

Albert Memorial

By now it was about 5pm, and we headed back to the Central Line, via the Peter Pan Statue, which Jessica liked. Finally, we had to say our goodbyes at Lancaster Gate tube: it’s amazing how quickly a day can go!

Jessica and Peter Pan Statue

Dinner with Nicola and Nina

Jan, Janet and I had a drink in the Brigstow Hotel bar, served by a rather frosty and fearsome barmaid. Nicola and Nina took us around the corner for a lovely meal at Loch Fynne, and we chatted so long that we didn’t have time for the tour of Bristol that we had been offered.

After Nicola and Nina went home, we had a short stroll to walk off dinner then dropped into the Llandoger Trow, close to the hotel. Lovely historic building from 1664 (hmm, isn’t that the brand of a cheeky French lager) with some impressive carvings apparently uncovered during a refurbishment. It certainly is an impressive building. Sadly the selection of beers was dissapointing and Bristol Is a long way to come for a pint of Green King IPA. Luckily it was a decent pint! Would love to see this place run as a good Free House.