Saturday, December 18, 2010

Good morning sweetie! Thanks for getting me up early.

12/18/106:46 a.m. Yeah I know it's 1:46 am where most of you are but I'm awake and you should be too.  Thanks for the text message at 5 o'clock sweetie!
8:00 a.m. Is this what you think of as an English pub?  Aside from the concrete around it this is pretty typical.  It's the Red Lion next to the Holiday Inn Express that I was staying in.  "part" of the hotel is 800 years old, most of it is around 300.  The food's just mediocre but the beer is decent and the fire is warm.

Merry Christmas!

8:30 a.m.  It's -3C outside and I'm regretting not going to the Duxford Air Museum today. 
Great St. Mary's Cathedral.  Owned by the University of Cambridge, they hold graduations and shit here.  I bought our Christmas cards here, there's a video to follow.  Not as grand as you'd expect.

Queens' College Cathedral.  Queens' because everyone from Margaret of Anjou to Elizabeth the 2nd have been benefactors over the years.  All of the colleges are a part of Cambridge.  Interesting that no queens (or normal women) could graduate from Queens' college until the 1950's.  I'm guessing by the local "Panto" theater that a couple of queens have graduated since.

 This is probably your image of Cambridge and it would be absolutely correct.  Most of the town center looks just like this.  It would all look more interesting if they'd remove the plastic fucking signs. 
Yeah, I know that there's a Burger King there, i can see the line of fat idiots!  I don't need a sandwich board in addition to the giant lit marquee fucking up a historic building.

The famous Mathematical bridge over the river Cam.  Everything that you may have heard (or may look up) is bullshit.  It's a bridge, built by a carpenter (who better to build a bridge?).  Issac Newton was dead 22 years before it was built, it has (and always had) mechanical fasteners, no students have ever taken it apart... Although it has been rebuilt 3 times. 
The most interesting thing about this bridge?  It goes over the river Cam to the back door of the oldest part of Queens' college.   I walked on it, it's slippery when it snows....  Oh, maybe it's a "weather forecasting bridge".  I.e. predicting snow when white, rain when wet, summer when hot....

Inside of the Queens' College Cathedral.  Getting grander...

They love them some Jesus around here. (sorry Kim)

Now we're getting somewhere (and hypothermic), King's Cathedral!  Started by Henry the 5th, finished by Eddie the 6th (?).  It took 100 years during the War of the Roses, etc.

The grounds of Kings College.  At this point I'm really cold.  Our tour guide is all about the church and their choirs (yay!).

Inside of the Cathedral; Crest, Fleur dis Lis, dragon, greyhound and rose.  England claimed domain over France (Fleur dis Lis), Dragon representing Wales (house of Lancaster), Greyhound representing York (Elizabeth daughter of King Edward the 4th) and the rose representing the two houses together (red=Lancaster, white=York).  Thanks Wikipedia!

The Cathedral began as a relatively plain structure until the Tudor's got a hold (fuck I love that series).  Henry the 8th had this Romanesque wall and arch added to divide the religious and common areas.  I don't know what was happening here but between hypothermia and no flash allowed I couldn't get a solid picture of anything.  Might have been a resident spirit going "who the f**k does this bloke think he is?"

The carvings are full of little political and familial statements.  H & A, Henry and Ann (Boleyn).  Just like a tattoo it's not that easy to undo. 
Random factoid: thanks to convenient annulments and changes of law, Henry the 8th was technically only married twice.

Each of the stained glass windows is divided top and bottom between old testament and new testament.  The panes above and below draw parallels between stories from each.

The altar with a Reuben's "The Maji" below it.  Recently a smaller Reuben sold for 49 Million pounds!

The backside of Kings College and the Cathedral.

Most evil clock ever.  Period, done, finite.  It's dedication is "beware the time eater", to the idea the death is coming to everyone.  It's located at the corner of the library at Corpus Christi College.  It was dedicated by Stephen Hawking.  THIS IS EVIL!

7:33 p.m.  A local just stumbled into the bar screaming; "Martha, I want my fuckin' football and I want a fuckin" beer!".  Didn't get either quickly enough, so he threw the candles off of the table shattering them against the wall.  Tossed Martha 20 quid and told her to "pay what I owe (them) and get me a beer".  Four other guys jumped up, Martha left and the guy just sat down crying.  One (of four) sat down next to him and talked him off of the ledge.  "What's the problem mate?  You can't act like that.  You seem like you've got other troubles....".  I am in awe. 

Here's the bar.  There's the dude, right there, in the hat.

Not happy about having his picture taken, even from the back.
Merry Christmas Every One!

9:00 p.m. Epilogue: So impressed am I with our hero mediator that I offer to buy his next pint.
Friends gone, Harvey sits down at the table with me and a pint of Guinness.  Harvey's just 54 years old but looks much older.  Of Scottish decent he doesn't like the English; "they act like they know more than you".  For the next hour we discuss his life.  He has 3 children; an 11 year old daughter, a 13 year old son and a 21 year old daughter.  He lives in a flat nearby with an extra bedroom which he offers to me if I "get stuck up".  He tells me that he knows what John (the hot headed local) is going through because he lacks perspective. 
Harvey's an alcoholic, has had his pancreas and half of his intestines removed due to cancer.  He died last year but was revived after receiving last rights telling the (Catholic) priest that this Protestant "wants a cup of tea and a fag (cigarette)".  He knows what's ahead of him because his mother (also an alcoholic) died the same way.
"Harvey, you've never made a guy feel worse for buying you a pint". 
"No, mate you've got to realize what's important.  You can waste away in hospital or you can be sitting here with a fag and a pint".  (He means a cigarette)
I got up to settle my (our) tab and he was gone.


  1. It's amazing how traveling in Europe makes you realize how young our "colonies" really are.

    And what did you tell that guy in the hat when he seen you taking his picture?