Cambridge, U.K. Archives

August 2, 2009

The Other Place


Well, that's how they referred to Cambridge when I was at Oxford. After sleeping in past 11 a.m., I headed over to King's Cross on the Tube and took the train north to Cambridge and I have settled in at Clare College. My rooms are on the fourth floor of Memorial Court--the worst part of that was carrying the bags up three flights of stairs upon arrival, but no worries. I walk through the college's gardens and cross its bridge (pictured above) on my way to the Great Hall for morning and evening meals each day. I am heading out now to explore the town (sorry, I can't call this a city as they do!).

August 3, 2009

Small World


This expression of gratitude is etched into the entrance to Old Court on the "backs" side, recognizing Paul Mellon, who lived here for two years. Mellon was also Choate's greatest benefactor, having endowed the Humanties Building, the Arts Center, and the Science Center, among other major gifts.

My Daily Routine At Cambridge

Here's my routine for the first week of classes in Cambridge's Shakespeare summer school program:

7:45 a.m. - breakfast served in Great Hall, Clare College
9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. - "What Happens In Hamlet"
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - plenary lecture (different topic each day)
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - "Political Shakespeare"
6:30 p.m. - dinner served in Great Hall, Clare College
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - plenary lecture (different topic each day)

Even with some generous breaks built in, this is a fairly ambitious schedule. The courses change for week two (I will be taking classes focusing on King Lear and Macbeth). The "Political Shakespeare" class is centered on Richard II and The Tempest.

August 4, 2009

I Guess They Don't Use Viagra Here

Seen on the street on my way to lunch today:

A Typical Cambridge Vista


I snapped the photo above with my iPhone while walking from dinner to my evening lecture. You can see cows in the field in the foreground. You probably can't make out the River Cam, which divides this field from the tightly cropped lawn in front of King's College Chapel, probably the University's most famous landmark. (Clare College is right next to King's.)

August 5, 2009

I Need My Airport Express


If I had a bit more foresight (and a lot more light) when I finished packing last Friday, I'd have thrown my Airport Express into the bag. That way I could have used my Ethernet connection in my rooms at Clare to set up a local wireless network for both the MacBook Air and my iPhone. Now I have to go into town to the Apple Store once a day to use its free wireless network to sync my iPhone.

August 6, 2009

800th Anniversary


They ferried students and faculty out to the University-owned Madingley Hall--a lovely old manor estate--for a garden party (mostly indoors due to the pouring rain) celebrating 800 years since the University of Cambridge was founded in 1209. Pretty cool to be here for the occasion!

August 5, 2009

Refighting The Battle Of Agincourt


I joined the Medieval Studies program this afternoon for a practical demonstration about the Battle of Agincourt in 1415--a memorable part of Shakespeare's Henry V with the St. Crispin's Day speech--led by a military historian and a master armourer (pictures with a bow and arrow above). This was a fascinating presentation that included a hands-on exploration of the armor and weapons of the time as well as a fascinating overview of the context for the battle as well as the strategy and tactics of the English and the French. I visited Agincourt (in France, it's Azincourt) in 1990 and have a much better sense now of what happened in this momentous showdown.

August 7, 2009

Working For The Weekend

After a full week of classes and lectures (at least four sessions a day, plus seated meals) the weekend has arrived and I am looking forward to a couple of entirely unscheduled days!

Thanks to one of our number who is a member, we got to spend some time this evening at the Cambridge Union Society, the oldest student debating society in the world--a very prestigious organization. The Society has its own building (and bar).

August 8, 2009

Here Comes The Sun


August 8 is an auspicious day. In addition to being my birthday, it's also the day the famous photo that graced the cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road album was shot. Today is the 40th anniversary of the event and apparently it's a big deal over here in England, with swarms of tourists expected to descend on the site.

Happily, today is a beautiful summer Saturday here. I am about to head into London for the day.

August 9, 2009

Making The Rounds On The Internet

Thought for the day:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

And then I log on to the internet -- which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration -- and post on and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

August 10, 2009

A Surprising Trend

Here's the latest Gallup polling on party identification in America:

August 14, 2009

Showdown In Montreal


The top eight men's tennis players in the world have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Master's Series event in Montreal this week. Should be some interesting matches the next few days. The event's major storyline is Rafa Nadal's return to the tour after his first-ever loss at Roland Garros and a missed Wimbledon. Also how new father Roger Federer performs will be fascinating to watch. And the rest of the cast potentially has its share of spoilers: Murray, Djokovic, Roddick, and Del Potro among them.

August 13, 2009

I Did Something Very English Tonight . . .


. . . I watched an episode of Dr. Who, something I can't recall ever doing before. It's sort of silly/camp, but I can see how some people get sucked into all of this.

August 12, 2009

Tempest In The Gardens


Since I'm immersed in studying Shakespeare for a couple weeks here in Cambridge, I decided to take in one of the al fresco productions of the Bard's work that is being staged each night on all sides of me. I've been hearing the dialogue from The Tempest come wafting through the window into my top-floor rooms in Clare College in the evening hours ever since I arrived a week and a half ago, so I bought a ticket in adjacent Trinity College Gardens to see the production.

It was a ten-actor affair and staged pretty effectively, given the spare resources--both human and otherwise. A mostly creditable, lean show.

August 10, 2009

New Courses This Week

Two new courses started for me today in week two of the program: "Shakespeare's Stagecraft in Macbeth" and "King Lear: Sources, Texts, and Significance."

August 11, 2009

The Other Cambridge


I have enrolled in a Harvard class this fall, though will be taking it mostly via the Internet. It's a course with Shakespeare scholar Marjorie Garber. Apparently the only time I have to physically appear in Massachusetts is for the final exam (if there is one).

Defying Gravity


iTunes Store has offered the first three hours of the ABC series "Defying Gravity" the past two weeks, so--since I am lacking in American television programs at the moment--I watched them over the past few days. The premise is that forty or so years from now, eight astronauts take off on a six-year tour of the solar system. But there is a hidden agenda known only to a couple administrators and the commanding officer and coming from a mysterious presence known as "Beta" that apparently has the ability to communicate as well as alter the biology of those on board the ship.

August 13, 2009

Cheaper On The Kindle


I canceled my order for the forthcoming Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol, and pre-ordered it on the Kindle for only $9.99. It will download to my device as soon as it's released!

August 14, 2009

Closing Dinner In Clare College


Most aspects of university life are at Cambridge centered around one's college. I sleep and eat in Clare College--the second oldest in the University. Breakfast is informal and served downstairs, cafeteria style, in The Buttery. Dinner, on the other hand, is a formal affair, served by the wait staff in the Great Hall. Tonight we have a fancier-than-usual dinner to mark the end of the program.

August 15, 2009

So Long, Cambridge


About to depart from Clare College. I've enjoyed my fortnight in this medieval town and my time studying Shakespeare in the university.

I have rented a car and am off to Stratford-upon-Avon and then to London tonight.

About Cambridge, U.K.

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to As Far As You Know in the Cambridge, U.K. category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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