Saturday, July 25, 2015

Over Dessert

Behind her she heard laughter.

The nerve in her forehead was about to burst, and he had the audacity to laugh!

She turned fiercely only to be caught off guard with a kiss. "You look beautiful when you're mad. I can't even remember why we were arguing?" he tugged her closer.

"Huh, let me rewind and remind you!" she tickled his beard trying to wiggle out of his tight embrace, but the hold only got stronger. "You were late for my parent's wedding anniversary celebrations, then...."

"I'm guessing the list is long, want to shout over dessert?" he smiled slyly.


Linking this to Write Tribe’s 100 Words on Saturday prompt.

Most of my arguments with the husband go like this. Never a straight answer to my questions, always dodging them with either a laugh or ending them by offering me a chocolate. No wonder I often cave in! ;)

This reminds me of a poem by Nikki Giovanni that I came across Brain Pickings, 'Love Is'

Some people forget that love is 
tucking you in and kissing you 
“Good night” 
no matter how young or old you are 

Some people don’t remember that 
love is 
listening and laughing and asking 
questions no matter what your age 

Few recognize that love is 
commitment, responsibility 
no fun at all 

Love is 
You and me

Beautiful isn't it? Chicky had tagged me in a 3 Day Quote challenge and though not really a quote, I wanted to share this with you all!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cambridge - Of History, Myths & Legends

Walking down the narrow medieval paths of Cambridge where rich history calls out to you from every direction and old buildings peer down upon you as one goes punting down the river Cam calls for a perfect day!

Just about 45 miles north of London, Cambridge is less than an hour away from King's Cross Station and we hopped on the train last Saturday wondering and wandering into one of the most prestigious and renowned university; and what a perfect day it was!

The University of Cambridge which constitutes total 31 colleges was founded in 1209 and owes much of its existence to a few scholars from the Oxford University who after a dispute with the Oxford townsfolk found home in the promising town of Cambridge. And since then, the rivalry has been on!

Cambridge is best explored on foot and we did just that as we stepped out of the station and headed along with a mass of tourists towards the town's city center.

Our Lady & the English Martyrs Church dominates the Cambridge skyline and captivates you just as you have walked about 10 minutes into the city. I had to go in, not only do I love the tranquil a place of worship offers, I especially love the architectural finesse that churches have. Said to be one of the largest catholic churches in the United Kingdom, OLEM tends to lean towards the Gothic Revival/Victorain Gothic style of architecture.

The interiors are as pretty with beautiful stained glass windows. There was a wedding taking place in the premises so this was all I could capture.

The Church is so called because it not only houses the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary but the stained glass windows depict, amongst other things, scenes from the lives of English martyrs.

Before continuing toward the colleges we took a little detour and followed the music and cheers that seemed to be coming from Parker's piece. The Big Weekend Mela was in full swing with activities such as face painting, storytelling and fairground rides and we were grinning from ear to ear at the happy sights.

With the sun shining bright we continued down the road that led to Peterhouse. The oldest of the Cambridge colleges, Peterhouse founded in 1284, is also I think the prettiest. Don't you?

In Peterhouse, there is a staircase in which a monk is said to have hanged himself and the ghost allegedly still hangs around.

Just next door is the Fitzwilliam Museum and the white majestic building beckoned us in. Founded by Richard, Viscount Fitzwilliam, in 1816, who bequeathed to the University his collections of paintings and etchings, his library, and £100,000 stock, the museum which will celebrate the bicentenary of its foundation next year has an enormous collection of Antiquities, Applied Arts, Coins and Medals, Manuscripts and Printed Books, and Paintings, Drawings and Prints. We weren't able to see much, but I have promised my museum-crazy hubby that we will visit Cambridge again only to spend the entire day here.

There are four lion sculptures positioned at the entrance of this museum. According to local folklore, when the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs’ clock strikes midnight, the Fitzwilliam Lions rise and take a stroll towards the gutters that run along Trumpington Street for a drink. Various versions of this story exist, of course, and this also inspired a poem "The Listening Lions" by Michael Rosen.

The best part of our trip was yet to come. As we were walking on the King's Parade St towards the famous King's college we were pursued by one of the college students to try punting down the river and tired as we were from all that walk we gave in! Thinking back, it would have been a better judgement to stroll towards the punting area and choose a service where the queue was a lot less shorter! Sigh!

Punts are flat bottomed boats that are steered by a long pole and it is a great leisure activity which takes you along the 'Backs', i.e. the backs of the colleges across the river. You can see college students lazing on the backs, having fun, singing, drinking and picnicking. What fun!

Given that it was a busy day, the punters were really having it tough. But despite that, our punter was chatty and sassy! Each bridge we crossed, there was a story told!

Queens' college's Mathematical bridge which also goes by the name Newton bridge is famous not only for its design -  straight timbers structurally put to give an arched impression, but also due the myth associated with it. here goes, so and so told so and so that the bridge was built by none other than Sir Issac Newton without using any nuts or bolts. Some students later disassembled it and unable to put it together the way it was, resort to the use of nuts and bolts. Too far fetched a tale considering the bridge was actually built in 1749, twenty two years after Newton's death.  

Mathematical Bridge
King's was founded in 1441 by Henry VI and its bridge is famous for the inscription (just the first two lines and the last two lines) it bears of a famous poem by Xu Zhimo, an early 20th century Chinese poet, called "Taking Leave of Cambridge Again" (6 November 1928)

You can read the poem here, it is beautiful. I particularly loved this stanza:

"To seek a dream? Go punting with a long pole, 
Upstream to where green grass is greener, 
With the punt laden with starlight, 
And sing out loud in its radiance."

King's College Bridge
King's College Chapel as viewed from the Backs
King's College (front view)
Clare Bridge has another interesting story attached to its. Second oldest of the 31 colleges, it was funded by Lady Elizabeth De Clare in 1338 and thus its name. Clare bridge is the only bridge on the river that survived the wrath of the Civil War. Notice the missing section of the globe up there? it is said that the builder of the bridge, dissatisfied with the payment he received, deliberately pulled out one wedge from the globe in revenge. Too hard to believe? Our punter was quick to come up with another version of a story - that the bridge was left incomplete so as to avoid the bridge tax, unfinished equaled untaxed!

We also caught a glimpse of the famous Wren Library at Trinity College. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1695 it houses various special manuscripts and printed books including A.A. Milne's manuscripts of Winnie-the-Pooh and The house at Pooh Corner.

The St John's College with its Bridge of Sighs and the virginia creeper that covers its walls is a beautiful sight. It has received recent fame with the shooting of Stephen Hawking's 'Theory of Everything'

Named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Ahem...A story is never too far behind you in Cambridge! Notice how the clock tower misses the clock? It is said that St John's College and its neighbour and rival, Trinity College, were engaged in a race to see who builds the clock tower first. The winner would be permitted to adorn the chiming clock. St John's loss in this race cause the clock tower to remain naked. It also said that Trinity's clock chimes twice, once each for both the colleges.

This one hour punting is a must do if in Cambridge, and be sure to carry a snack. Next time I am there, I'll try punting by self and carry a picnic basket with all the wine and eats.

To end our day, we went to The Eagle pub for a quick drink. Another historic place, this is where Francis Crick and James D. Watson in 1953 first announced of their discovery of the secret of life, of how DNA carries genetic information. Imagine!

All this in a day! Now to plan another of my weekend wanderings!

“Just as a painter paints, 
and a ponderer ponders, 
a writer writes, 
and a wanderer wanders.”
  - Roman Payne

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