Intended primary for my Creative Inquiry on Woolf and Place (2012-2013)
and my capstone seminar on Virginia Woolf (Fall 2010),
this blog also contains an account of our Woolf trip in May 2012
as well as posts about flowers and gardens in the life and work of Virginia Woolf.

*Photo of Monk's House Garden taken from door of Woolf's bedroom*

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 10-- Cambridge

Ah, last night in my lovely attic London room – made delightful by what looks to be an entire evening of coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show on a satellite channel I managed to locate.  We got back from Cambridge about an hour ago, and I’ve already managed to pack everything but electronics and other sundries, aided by  having sent two small but expensive boxes home this morning as we passed through King’s Cross. The station has been totally renovated, transformed from a dirty, confusing, broken-down mess (with frighteningly old and fire-prone wooden escalators) to a clean efficient, generous space, crisscrossed with a tracery of white girders that let in lots of bright, diffused light.   They’ve kept bits and pieces of the original brick work, including the old platform 9 and ¾’s, now complete with half a baggage trolley stuck in it, providing a useful photo op.

New King's Cross

Our Cambridge trip was okay, but not wonderful.   Started off with a delay on the line, which allowed for a coffee stop which should have picked the girls up, but once we got on the train, they all plugged into i-Phones and fell asleep.  The May is fully out now and long hedges of it flash by on the train broken by the occasional stand of river birches -- a nice alternation of design elements.

Once we got to the station, I provided a bit of excitement, having left my wallet—with ALL the credit cards, my ID, and the train tickets for St. Ives – on my seat in the train.  However, some lovely person turned it into the lost property office before I’d had more than about 5 minutes of utter panic.  I’ve now secreted credit cards in several different places, so if I lose my mind again, we won’t be totally destitute.   I have to say our interactions with Brits have been uniformly lovely.  They seem geared up to be extra helpful—though I cannot imagine how weary of tourists they will be once the Olympics are in full spate.

Because it is exam season, we were restricted as to what we could see of Cambridge.  All of the girls were feeling as if they were sickening for something and all were annoyed by the continued cold.  We boarded the Big Bus—again the ticket agent gave us a huge discount: both student and group rate—which not only provides an informative tour of the town, but also takes care of all transport needs, including the mile or so walk from the train station.

Mathematical Bridge across the Cam
Midway through the tour we got off to find Newnham College, the “Fernham” of A Room of One’s Own and also the location where Woolf delivered the lecture version that preceded the book.  Crossing the river Cam on Silver St. I spied a pub, The Anchor, and proposed we first have lunch.  The pub proved to be warm, the food good, and the local apple cider invigorating.

Newnham College, Hall where Woolf delivered lectures which became A Room of One's Own
From there we walked up Silver St to Newman college. After walking halfway round, I began to fear that, like Woolf, we had missed the turning, but we were assisted by two Newnham girls -- anthropology majors -- who let  us into a dorm then took us through to the main quad and directed us to the tall towered entrance I remembered.  Indeed, we had missed the turning and needlessly circumnavigated half the grounds.  But, technically the college was not really open, so our detour gained us entrée.  The grounds were lovely: billowing beds of purple allium and yellow wall flowers.

Rolling the backs at King's

From Newnham we made our way across the Backs--another long way round as several of the entrances were closed to visitors.  However, managed to get in to see Kings College Chapel, which was wildly impressive. Especially the ceiling.  After a brief stop to buy sweat shirts—the girls have given up all hope that it will ever get warm here-- we walked back up Trinity St. to re- catch the Big Bus on its route and finish our tour of Cambridge at the bus station..

King's College Chapel Roof

On the way we were able to duck into Trinity, and visit the great court and the chapel , so full of plaques and statues. Found some old friends on the wall: A.E. Houseman, Frazer of the Golden Bough, Cornford the great ritualist.  The porters were particularly pleasant---not at all foreboding.

Trinity Great Court

Porters at Trinity

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