Strawberry Fair is cancelled.

So Strawberry Fair is cancelled this year. Whatever the reasons given, it seems fairly obvious that both the council and the police have never been the greatest fans of what should be a celebrated event. Since coming to Cambridge 8 years ago I’ve always loved the Summer calendar of events that make Cambridge a great place to live and work. As a properly free festival that is always a pleasant day Strawberry Fair is something to be proud of. No event is ever trouble free but rather than cancel such an event surely public servants, the police, should work with the organisers to improve it, not produce sufficient difficulties to cause it to be impossible to happen. The video debacle that the police produced to try to ban it (released on Youtube) and now their appeal against the council’s recommendation that they have their license are significant obstacles for a paid commercial event to overcome, never mind a free one. People say that if you live around the common then you undergo plenty of ‘bother’. Strawberry Fair has gone on for forty years. Only people who have lived there longer than forty years have the right to complain!

For work related reasons I am missing the beer festival this year and now this has gone. So my summer in Cambridge will be ever so slightly worse off!

The Chop House

I’ve been quite a few times recently to The Chop House. I’ve always been pleased with the service and the food. It’s nowhere near a top notch restaurant, but the food is always enjoyable, and served with pleasure.

However, recently they surpassed themselves. I was there in a fairly large group (25+). Much (much) wine was drank as well as the full three courses (groan!). Due to ineptitude (and perhaps that excess of wine) both of us paid separately for each other. It was not until a few days later that we realised we’d paid double.

We guessed that by this point we’d had it, however, we rang them up, and sure enough they refunded one card, more or less at our word! Cracking service.

Spider haunt at the Chesterton cycle bridge

The new(ish) cycle bridge at Chesterton is well lit at night with many spotlights along its breadth. After a relatively pleasant evening spent at the Fort St George (all too rare since Greene King took over the place last year and converted it into a cheap rate All Bar One) I was cycling back and had a little trip across the bridge.

Looking at one of the beams in the middle of the bridge, there must have been close to a thousand spiders hanging there. The spotlights illuminate the webs in a very pleasant way.

Cambridge cycle bridge

(Unfortunately my new HTC Hero does not have a flash).

Although I’m sure that the main function of these lights is to make the bridge safe they have a side affect in that they have created an ideal site for webs. These lights draw in flies, moths and other flying insects, and many, many spiders have set up their fly catching homes here.

If you are ever passing after dark then go have a look. Perhaps not alone if it’s too late

Jesus Green lock in high water

The melting snow put a lot of water into the Cam today. I’ve never seen Jesus Lock so full. There was only a 0.5 metre difference between above and below the lock gates.


As a kayakist in my past, I used to pray (figuratively speaking) for days like this. Seeing a river in spate used to get me excited, and watching the normally placid Cam, look ever so slightly turbulent was very reminiscent of that.


Here’s looking downstream. Note the boats alongside the flooded banks.


paddling along the Great Ouse in Ely

I’ve just had a very pleasant afternoon on the river Great Ouse. I hired a canoe from Reeds Of Cambridge in the marina at Ely (£30 for the afternoon). Paddled from Ely to the confluence of the Cam and the Ouse (Pope’s Corner), and then a short way up the small river (the one that goes to St Ives). A yummy picnic was then had, although marred slightly by an aggressive ugly swan that wanted our food. Jabs with a paddle seemed to only make it more aggressive, which I understand perfectly, as if somebody jabs me with a paddle I’m not going to feel too happy with them. But letting the swan have the food was not an option. After all ham and brie in a baguette is worth fighting for! This was one swan that had never grown out of the ugly duckling stage. It was grey, with a more than normal spindly neck. I guess this was why it was pretty sore at the world. It really was one mean swan and even narrow boats coming down the river did not make it move until the boat shoved it physically out of the way. Once it realised that it would not get our food then it then moved downstream to harass some poor boaters who’d overestimated the amount of diesel in their tank, and were amusingly trying to pole a 40ft narrowboat along the river, with much less success than when doing the same to a punt. So after helping them get to the bank, the swanless picnic was then finished, and a leisurely tired paddle back to Ely.

The weather was smashing, although of course I forgot sun cream and am now burning a little. A pint at the Cutter pub rounded off the day. I’ve not been back here for quite a while, but when the weather is nice, the corner on the river here is a lovely place. The river was full of people making the most of the last gasps of summer. all in all a very pleasant afternoon.

I can recommend going to Reeds of Cambridge to hire your canoe. Much nicer than fighting amongst the tourists in the Backs in Cambridge!

Apple Store in Cambridge

Cambridge Grand Arcade | Confirmed Retailers

So in truth despite hating most malls, and preferring smaller, more interesting shops, I am quite pleased that Apple will have a store in the new Cambridge Mall.

Obviously the novelty will wear off pretty quickly.  I like visiting the store in Regent street, but I doubt this one is going to be anything like that. Plus there’s already a decent Apple outlet in Cambridge, Cancom.

At least there’ll be free wireless in the city centre 🙂

Trivial things that annoy me!

1-Going for lunch.
2-Asking for Chill with CHIPS, without RICE.
3-Recieving Chill with RICE.
4-Asking for CHIPS, being told they will come soon
5-Having to remind staff about the absent chips.
6-When meal is almost finished having another member of staff come to the table to say that the barman forgot to take money for the chips so if we want some (meal almost finished by this point!), we will have to pay £1.65.

Whatever happened to the Cutomer is always right etc….?

Last time I go to the WHITE HORSE in MILTON