We took Morrison out for his first trip of the year to Cambridge, arriving on Tuesday 25th May at the Cambridge Camping and Caravan Club’s campsite. On route, we stopped at Saint Neots for lunch and parked in the riverside car park. The payment system was a new one for me, you could pay by card. No problem, you also had to sign out of the car park using the same card, otherwise, you would be charged for the whole day.
The Cambridge Camping and Caravan Club obviously had had some issues with the persistent rain of the previous weeks. Sections of the field were roped off. Thankfully our stay was relatively dry and we were parked in a dry patch. We soon set up and caught the bus into Cambridge. It was remarkable how quiet Cambridge was with the lack of tourists. King’s Parade was totally closed to traffic and all the restaurants had placed tables on the street. We stopped for a glass of wine outside the Cambridge Wine Merchants, where you could choose a glass from their menu or any bottle of wine from their shop. We had a walk around, tea at Michaelhouse Cafe and some more walking. I had booked the Loch Fyne Restaurant, believing it would be crowded, it was still the first week restaurants could serve indoors. No, it was remarkably empty and many of the menu items were off or had substitutions. No lime or lime juice for a cocktail, no mangetout peas. All rather odd.
Wednesday we met up with the UK Chapter of the Sadgits, being us two, Norman, Valerie, Simon, Richard and Andrea. We met up with some of them at the Michaelhouse Café, where we got talking to an elderly couple enjoying tea. It seems he was up at Emmanuel in 1957 when they met. We visited Kettle’s Yard where N&V and us two had the first tour. We had the museum to ourselves. Such a treat. The others had later “tours”. Somehow we ended up having a liquid late lunch at The Punter where we stayed for rather a long time. Nice pub. How come we didn’t know it? Valerie and Norman had to leave early to catch a train home, while the rest of us were going on to the Cambridge Chop House for supper. Early for the Chop House, we split into three groups, Simon and I going for a fast-paced walk along the River Cam past Jesus Green, Midsummer Common, and part of Stourbridge Common; while Richard had to collect his new Mac and Rosemary & Andrea presumably dawdled in various shops. We all met up at the Chop House for a pleasant, meaty meal. We could have dined outside, but rain was in the offing.
Thursday was the Fitzwilliam Museum in the morning to see the exhibition on Touch, and a wander around the exhibits. R did not warm to the exhibition, but was revived by a visit to a favourite painting. Afterwards, we stopped at the Cambridge Wine Merchants (again), where after a glass of different wine each, we opted for a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet followed by a constitutional walk to Jesus Green to locate the restaurant for tomorrow’s supper. Today we ate supper at the Tapas Bar, Tabanco. We had our best meal of the week here. Served by a very attentive waitress who always kept a watch on the tables, and was with you in an instant when you required her. So we were able to call for the bill, pay and promptly catch the bus home. It was a lovely evening back at the campsite with a pretty setting sun.
Friday and the campsite was looking deserted as more people were leaving. Today we were visiting the Cambridge Zoology museum. We had been before at closing time and had been impressed in the 30 minutes we were there. This time we had a few hours looking around, not so impressed. R was unhappy with the labelling and visitors did not obey the one-way system, which I must say was difficult to follow. There were also uncontrolled children on site.
Afterwards, we made the required stop at Michaelhouse Café, think we must have visited there at least once every day. Next, we walked along the River Cam towards the Fen Causeway, watching the inexperienced men trying to punt. So funny to watch, I would, of course, never be like that. Time to spare before supper, we walked up Castle Street to Castle Mound where I took a photo of Cambridge. It had now had started to rain, so we hurried to the River Bar Steakhouse & Grill. A steak place, pretty expensive, and I do prefer the steaks I cook to most restaurant ones. Asked for a rare steak and I got what I call a medium, or even medium-well-done. To me rare means some raw meat in the centre. A steak with little or no blood oozing out of it is not rare. R had “disappointing” salmon.
Back to the campsite, the rain had stopped. The campsite was now full, with lots of kids. It was the start of half term. Thankfully it all went quiet as night drew in.
Driving home the next day, stopped at the St Neots Tesco to fill up with diesel. The price of hydrocarbon fuels has shot up as we come out of the lockdowns. This was the first time I hit the £99 limit for paying at the pump. So not quite a full tank.