Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cambridge Farewell - Seventh and last of post of my English trip

Woke up this morning at The Swan in Swinbrook, and friend Curzon kindly drove me into London. From there I caught a superfast train (45 minutes) to Cambridge. Hostess was being interviewed for a radio show, so I went for a wander into town...


Stopped at Fitzbillies' cafe in the town center (opposite Kings) and had some mushroom soup with soda bread, followed by cheese scone and cream...might as well stuff up on the English food as my trip is nearing its end!


Later enjoyed sitting in the garden where the flowers were in full spring bloom, and also feasting my eyes on the refreshing sight of hostess with her little grandsons. 


White lilacs in Cambridge

Clematis in Cambridge


Reading of course!

On Friday, the ritual walk to Grantchester, with tea at The Orchard, under the flowering apple trees. Very beautiful...









Later in the afternoon I met friend Elaine of Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover blog fame at what is becoming our usual appointed meeting place, The Gallerie restaurant on the bridge. A wonderful natter, and we also had a bookshop rove, hitting the triumverate of David's, Heffers, and The Haunted Bookshop!


At the Gallerie


At the Haunted Bookshop

That evening, an amazing pheasant dinner cooked by mine hostess's husband: an exercise in how delicious can pheasant be cooked with red wine and cabbage? Very!



Followed by an exquisitely beautiful, peaceful evening walk in the gardens at Newnham College...




Next day, another wander through Cambridge...with lunch at an excellent Sicilian cafe, Aromi. The thing on the right is filled with Chocolate. 


A man in the market walking a tightrope while playing a violin. 



And always, the beauty of the Backs, and the boats...though these extra-wide boats into which more tourists can be crammed, aren't all that beautiful...

Pinks...I think


Dinner at the Granta pub, fish and chips and a view...



The view

The pub as seen from the bridge opposite...


Next day, train back to London. St. Pancras Station in the sunshine...

On my last full day in London, I had a walk through Somerset House, and a divine meringue with summer berries at the coffee shop. Close readers might remember seeing one of these before, on my previous English trip, last October...





Then, a long-awaited visit with the beautiful style and fashion blogger, Miranda Mills of the popular blog Miranda's Notebook , and her delightful mother, Donna. We had long wanted to meet, and the accomplishment could only be celebrated by tea at Fortnum & Mason! We talked for  hours and felt like we'd known each other for ever...very similar book tastes will do that!

Later, a farewell dinner with friend Ron Dunning, who was kind enough to come join me at the Indian place again. Especially nice to see him for a second time, and to tell him all my adventures. And he gave me a most wonderful book: Two Early Panoramas of the Regent's Park by Geoffrey Tyack, put out by the London Topographical Society. Fantastic pictures! I am so indebted to Ron for the way he brings a new perspective on London background and history to my travels.



Next morning, didn't have to leave for the airport till noon, so there was plenty of time for a browse and some cake at the London Review of Books Tea Shop. Saw Cambridge hostess Janet Todd's brilliant book A Man of Genius on a prominent shelf...

(photo courtesy of Nancy Vermette)



...and then it was on to Heathrow, and the final fish & chips at the Bridge Bar. The eleven hour flight home was mercifully smooth, and at the end of it waited the best of all: Peter and Paul and the Cats!

But I must come back again to what is truly my second home, Britain; as C.S. Lewis said about the return of Aslan to Narnia, "And I say, the sooner, the better."


A few of the books I brought home...and a few of the trinkets.
I can only plead extremely limited suitcase space. It's hard to perform miracles of compression on china and books!




5 comments:

Miranda | Miranda's Notebook said...

It was so wonderful to meet you Diana! Mum and I had a marvellous time, and we can't wait for your next visit to London :) Miranda xxx

Diana Birchall said...

Thank you, Miranda, it WAS wonderful! And I'll be back sooner than you think!

Barbara said...

Elaine is also a Dove Grey Books member! It's lovely to see you both together in Cambridge. And you arranged to meet Miranda (of the Notebook)! I'm SO missing her posts - at least I haven't had notification of any recently. What a great trip you had, Diana. Hope you'll soon be planning the next one ... when will that be? Sounds like you have plans already. Barbara

Anonymous said...

Cambridge is indeed gorgeous, and so are your photos. And the London Review of Books shop is my favorite in London...and their cafe has wonderful food!

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