The second part of our weekend was to return to Cambridge. I think I mentioned in part one that the last time we were both there was back at the end of June 2009 the day before My fellow pilot Feroz and I set off on our round the world flight. I had flown the Bonanza into Cambridge airport and Sue had driven over so we had a couple of days together in Cambridge before I met up with Feroz and we flew to Austria for the start of the trip.
Sunday 21st April
Another sunny cloudless sky greeted us as the filter coffee machine was hissing into life. We didn’t have a planned departure time for Cambridge as it was only about 22 miles away and should only take 35 to 40 minutes to drive there.
We left Ashridge Farm about 10:20 and followed the sat nav. I’d set in the Arcade multistory car park on Corn Exchange St as our destination… only to fall foul of Silver Street again!. Last time we were there it took us forever to navigate round Silver Street which is closed to cars entering the centre via a couple of stout bollards that appear out of the road surface. I stupidly thought that since our last visit in 2009 the TomTom would have updated it’s map to reflect the fact you can’t drive east along Silver Street, but no, here we are four years later making the same ‘U’ turn and following the ring road clockwise trying to find a route into the centre…. while the sat nav politely kept telling us to ‘make a U turn when possible” to lead us back to Silver Street. We passed signs for a couple of other car parks, but no, it was a man thing… I was going to park in the Arcade car park one way or another!
We parked up and wandered down through the shopping mall onto St Andrews St and turning north we walked along past St Andrew The Great Church onto Sidney St, along Bridge St and past Round Church. As it was approaching lunchtime, we were heading towards Las Iguanas just across the river from Magdalene College where we had lunch on our last trip.
We managed to get a table outside in the sun where we could watch the stout hearted punters take on the challenge of propelling themselves up the river with long sticks. We chose from the menu and Sue went inside to order. A few minutes later she came back. “You are not going to believe this” she said…. “You can’t order fajitas as they are not allowed to serve them outside or in the bar area due to health and safety“. Even the person that took Sue’s order thought it was stupid.
Now is it just me or what?. But does that just sound like a load of tosh. Rather than go and argue the point, I chose something else…. which just happened to come on a couple of long pointy sticks that were particularly sharp and pointy at one end. One of these could have someones eye out… a clear case for Health and Safety to get involved I recon. I did wonder if King Harold was having lunch at Las Iguanas when he had his mishap?. Shame really …. we had been to Las Iguanas in The Trafford Centre a few times before and really enjoyed it, however I don’t think the Las Iguanas chain are deserving of our custom again.
We did a bit of window shopping… seeing things that we would like, but not really needing (although I do admit Sue is in need of a new handbag for work… as long as it is one that doesn’t rattle like a bag of chains when we are in the car). There is a market right in the centre that had an eclectic mix of stalls from photographs to fresh fish, knitted things to noodles and all sorts in between. We found ourselves walking past Pembroke College and heading down Mill Lane in the direction of the river once again. We found a bit of wall to sit on overlooking the Mill Pond and sat watching the punters hiring boats and making their first attempts at passing under the bridge. I really didn’t think it was possible to punt a boat sideways through the arch of the bridge but one young chap managed. I think I was secretly waiting for someone to fall in… as I suspect were the other fifty or sixty people that were sat watching…. Most with mobile phones at the ready to record the action. Thankfully Sue had been on a Punt the last time we were here. After I’d set off, Sue and Raye, my fellow pilots wife had a trip out on a chauffeured punt. I was quite relieved actually as I’m built more for ships ballast than streamlined punting. If the breeze got up I’m as streamlined as a mainsail and we could have done a bit of waterskiing!
We walked down the small alley behind The Anchor onto Silver Street where we stood and watched the punters negotiate the low arch of The Mathematical Bridge. The wind had picked up a little and there was a chill to it. We set off back to find the car park and head back to Ashridge Farm.
It was a little chilly to sit out by the time we arrived back, so I donned my apron of disguise and became my alter ego “One Hairy Caravanner” and cooked up a quick tuna pasta. Everything was squared away just in time to watch “Endeavour”, which has the makings of a cracking good series.
Monday 22nd April
The rehearsed ritual of packing up swung into action. I rustled up some cheese and salami sandwiches while Sue made a flask of coffee for the return trip. By 9:50 we were cleaned, packed, loaded and hitched ready for the off. It had been a brilliant weekend, the weather had be fantastic, the outings had been equally fantastic, the site is fantastic and it wasn’t raining when we packed up… what more can you ask for!
We pulled through the barrier and Sue handed the electronic tag back to the wardens. Dead on 10:00 we set off back home. The traffic on the way back was just as light as it was on the way down. 196 miles and 3 hours 50 minutes later we pulled into the storage compound to drop the caravan off.
As this post is a bit light on photos, I’ll leave you with a few of my shots of Ashridge Farm site….