Listen. I've realized that if I try to arrange the notes and photographs from the trip into a neat, coherent, chronological set of entries, I will never get around to showing you anything at all.
So I'm going to post things as and how they occur to me. If you find the scattershot approach disconcerting, please consider that at least you are not trapped in my living room watching me click through slides while Dolores rests her head on your shoulder.
My very first note from this trip–scribbled after a stroll up Regent Street on arrival day–was this:
As usual, the sight of the classic Englishman in full fig is making me want to pile my entire wardrobe into a little wooden boat, douse it with paraffin, set it on fire, push it out to sea, and start over again.
I know perfectly well that not every guy in England is fashion plate. But the tweedy peacocks of Central London reminded me of the joy I used to take in dressing myself, and while my closet hasn't been set on fire it has come under close scrutiny. Time will tell whether I improve myself in any significant way. It can be tough to do while living in a city where a nice, clean Ohio State sweatshirt is considered suitable for an evening wedding.
We took the train from King's Cross Station
to Cambridge. I had never been there before.
My friend Liz lives there, and was graduated from Clare College, so she knows her way around. She took us places we would never have known to go, and told us things the tour guides would not have known.
This is Liz.
She's a knitter (to put it mildly). The fantastic hat is by Woolly Wormhead and was finished while we were eating lunch.
Here are a few things we saw in Cambridge. (There will be more. These are the shots closest to hand.)
King's College Chapel and some of Clare College, from the river. (Click to embiggen.)
Had it been snowing, this would have been the cover of my favorite Christmas record, A Festival of Lessons and Carols. I would like to thank King's College, Cambridge, for looking exactly as it was supposed to look.
The Colleges of Cambridge put every other academic landscape I've ever seen (and I have seen far, far too many) in the shade. You can't move five feet without finding something like this polychrome archway in St John's College looming over you. (Again, click to embiggen.)
The Colleges, of course, are on the beaten path. Well off the beaten path was All Saints, a church only lately rescued from dereliction and neglect that was decorated by leading lights of the Arts and Crafts Movement. (There is a handy guide to the windows above the altar showing which designer–Burne-Jones or Morris–was responsible for which saints.)
There was a pottery sale going on in the church, and while Tom and Liz browsed I wandered freely and photographed things.
The walls–all painted and stenciled–were not to be believed, even those still awaiting conservation.
There was a time, you see, when artists didn't consider it a waste of time to apply their talents to the decoration of mundane things like walls. And there was a time, you see, when people hadn't been conditioned by the lazy brutality of Modernism to accept the ugly, inhuman, undecorated box as the only form of construction. (Dear Mies van der Rohe, I hate you and you can suck it.)
There's more. But it'll have to wait a little while. I'll aim for tomorrow.