Have I ever told you about my love/hate relationship with all things British? No? Well, to really get down to it, I’d have to tell you about my younger years when my
mother mum manically made us nothing but British food as a way to keep her meager amount of British-ness alive and kicking in our American life. This probably would have been more successful if she had actually been born and raised somewhere in or around the United Kingdom. But no, she was a second generation American, having distant relatives on the British side of the pond. It seems she could just never get over the fact that she wasn’t actually born and bred British like her distant cousins with their cool accents.
Over the years, the brother and I have come to refer to this ongoing condition as “
Mom’s Mum’s Madonna Complex”.
Now, I don’t mean to disregard the importance of the family tree, but I will tell you that making crappy English treats and meat pies out of memory from her younger years was, well, torture for us American kids. Although I still enjoy a good Yorkshire pudding every now and then, the endless soggy versions of various meat pies I had to eat throughout my childhood was pure rubbish, I say!
Does Post Traumatic Meat Pie Disorder exist?
Anyway, maybe this could or could not be a reason for my weariness for all things British. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the English country side, but for some reason every time I’m in London, I’m immediately hit with the urge to get out of the city. In fact, I have named this urge the London Grump.
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, a few weeks ago, I found myself in London with my Spanish family and it was the first time in years that I actually truly loved being in the city. In fact, the London Grump only made a few appearances during the weekend.
So even though I was loving London this time around, I really wanted to explore a place where I hadn’t been before so we took the train to Cambridge. Cambridge is just barely over an hour outside of London and it makes for a lovely day trip. Of course, it was pouring rain and freezing the whole time, but well, that’s part of the English charm, isn’t it?
Cambridge is probably where the word “quaint” originated. Well, that and “scholarly”, “regal”, “charming”, “elegant” and “sophisticated”. Every square inch of this town is teeming with history and you can almost breathe the centuries of genius wafting in the air. The history of Cambridge is just incredible. It’s the second oldest English-speaking university in the world, founded in 1231 by Henry III. The university has produced more than 80 Nobel Prize winners and some of the world’s great geniuses have passed through here like Francis Bacon, Charles Darwin and Issac Newton.
The main charm of Cambridge is, of course, the many incredible colleges like Claire’s College, King’s College and Trinity College, but all of the buildings are incredibly regal.
So yeah, I’m sorry I can’t tell you what all of these buildings are. You know, I have my memory issues. Part of it may actually be a feeble brain and horrific memory, but also, we were dodging downpours the entire time. This meant all of my attention was quickly spent on trying to find the nearest warm pub.
At one point though, it did stop raining for a whole five minutes and we managed to make it to the back area of the riverwalk. Despite dodging the many mud pits in the damp, freezing cold, the best part of Cambridge was escaping the crowds a bit as we strolled along the muddy banks of the River Cam.
So even though it was monkeys outside, Cambridge was absolutely the dog’s bollocks and it made me enjoy our London trip just a bit more. And even though I was quite knackered due to the cold and the wind and the rain, I was gobsmacked at its majestic atmosphere and profound history. It was brilliant, I say! In fact, I almost went arse over tit at its regal sophistication. Wicked!
Bob’s Your Uncle!