Friday, 8 February 2013

Bikes, viewings and coaches

I've been away for a few days, a visit to Cambridge, England.  

I lived there for 4 years as a student, not at THE Cambridge uni unfortunately, and then again for almost 2 years as an office temp.  Now I am heading there a final time, for a maximum of a year, whilst I work out my next move.  

Cambridge is a nice city, except that city seems the wrong word to describe it.  It is more like a biggish town.  It is beautiful in the spring and summer.  As you'd expect, it is swarming with cyclists, some on pretty Dutch bikes, some on proper road bikes, most on dodgy cheap bikes.  And then, there is that separate category, the tourist on a rental bike.  This usually takes the form of a gang of teenagers, on bikes rented from a place near the train station, that take up the whole road whilst chatting away in some other language.  As you can understand, they are not a motorist's best friend.

I arrived Sunday afternoon and spent my time a friend who was kind enough to let me stay.  We chatted, ate and watched "Pitch Perfect".  Have you seen it?  It is a really great film!  Well, it is if things like "Glee" make you happy.  It's a more grown up version, with a great sense of humour.  That does not mean that it is not still cheesy, feel good fun.  There's also a great scene where the main character performs a song whilst using cups as her background music, let's see if I can find a clip on youtube...

If you like that, you'll most probably enjoy the film.

What else?  I spent Monday afternoon with a good friend of mine, we wandered around town and then went to her new home for a catch up and lunch.  She had made the most amazing butternut squash soup, it had chilli and ginger in it.  I then headed to the house I used to live in, my old landlady was kind enough to offer me a place to stay for a few days.  I spent a lovely evening with her and her friends.  

The next day I scoured the internet for jobs and rooms to look at, before heading to the train station to meet my friend from the previous day.  Have you ever heard of "Strictly Come Dancing"?  I believe in America they call it "Dancing with the Stars".  Every year, after the live TV series has finished, the winners and an assortment of previous contestants embark on a live tour.  We headed to Wembley Arena to watch it, my friend had received tickets as a gift and I was lucky enough to be invited.  It was really great to see the dancers perform in "real life".  Watching the crowd as we headed to our seats, there were quite a few reluctant husbands in the audience.  It was a wonderful evening of disco balls, over the top reactions from the judges and sequins.  At one point one of the male contestants almost dropped his professional dance partner, the whole audience gasped and then let out a collective sigh as he managed to "rearrange" her at the last minute and save the dance.

That brings us to Wednesday.  A day filled with making arrangements and viewing rooms, none with any success.  A random day where I felt like a headless chicken most of the time.  I was reminded of how expensive it is to live in Cambridge, I may have to up my budget...  The places I saw varied from houses that were almost dorm like to lodging with an Italian family where I wouldn't be able to relax anywhere but my room.  No, no and no.  I will go back next week for round two.  Once I made it "home" I ended up curled up on the sofa, with my landlady and her friend, for the evening.

Yesterday, Thursday, was home time.  I was picked up by a friend and we went to Grantchester, near Cambridge, to walk a dog she is looking after for the week.  It was a beautiful morning, we were lucky.  Afterwards, we had time to drop the dog off and eat a biscuit (or three) before she took me to the coach stop to catch my coach.  It takes forever, but using the National Express coach to Victoria and then catching the train really keeps the cost of the trip down.  My mum was nice enough to pick me up from the station and I then crashed out on my bed with a cuppa and some crap TV.

The end.


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