Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Mingled Measure By The Mel

Time for a wander along our little river, the River Mel, this afternoon. Gardens come right down to the river on one bank and on the other is a footpath, a small wood with clearings which is a village nature reserve and a patchwork of other land uses. All in all it's a pleasantly varied little place as I hope you will see. 

Take care.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Number Of Unrelated Items

Life Cycle

If you take the cycle path from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge out towards Great Shelford you find yourself following this odd multi-coloured path. The colours seem to be randomly distributed and the whole thing goes on for quite a distance.

The Sustrans website explains:
This section of the National Cycle Network .... marks the 10,000th mile of the National Cycle Network, opened in September 2005 by Sir John Sulston. The work on this route celebrates the role of the nearby Sanger Institute in decoding the vital human gene BRCA2.
BRCA2 is just one of the 30,000 genes in the human genome and, plays an important role in our bodies; producing a protein that helps to repair human DNA. 
A series of stripes in four colours representing the 10,257 genetic letters, or bases, of the gene BRCA2 have been laid on the path using thermoplastic strips heat welded onto the tarmac. It is the sequence of the four bases colour coded - adenine (A) in green, cytosine (C) in blue, guanine (G) in yellow and thymine (T) in red - that contains the code for life. As visitors cycle or walk over these stripes they will be traversing a portion of their own genome.

And there's a sculpture at the end which represents the double helix.

Royal And Ancient ?

On Royston golf course there are many mounds and hollows to be negotiated. Most of the mounds are raised tees or greens but nearby is this mound (as well as several other similar ones) which is of an altogether more ancient origin. For it is a Bronze Age burial mound constructed for a tribal leader and situated on the skyline and commanding huge views over the flatlands of Cambridgeshire.

Colour In Church

In Bassingbourn church are these welcome splashes of colour - quilted banners hanging from the stone columns or, in the case of the larger one, decorating the pulpit.

Community Chest 

Tucked away in the corner of Abington Piggots church is this rather battered chest. All parishes used to have one to store important records. Generally there were several locks and all the keyholders would have to be present in order for documents to be deposited or taken out. Even so records in many parishes  are incomplete.


When I was young I remember being very taken with the word 'obelisk'. It was only ever used, as far as I could tell, to describe Cleopatra's Needle, the Egyptian obelisk on the banks of the Thames. It seemed a waste of such an excellent word! Little did I know that we had one in Cambridgeshire.

It is a memorial to Gregory Wale who departed this life in 1739. What heroic deeds did he accomplish to deserve such a monument? Well, apart from a leading role in local government, nothing very remarkable. And that's what I like about it. It was erected by a friend to mark the fact that Mr Wale was "a good subject, an agreeable companion, a faithful friend, an hospitable neighbour and in all parts of life a useful member of society": things which can not always be said of those who have achieved more fame.

Everything Under The Sun

A house displays a Fire Insurance plaque as householders would have had to do in the early days of insurance. If you didn't keep up to date with your payments they wouldn't put out the fire! 
I'm not sure if this is an original plaque or not - it's certainly been put up quite recently as can be seen from the modern screw-heads!

Take care.

Friday, 18 April 2014


Sometimes I'm engaged in taking one kind of photo when KERPOW! I'm ambushed by something quite different. Most recently I was taking photos of flowers in Christ's College gardens when I came upon a certain statue, then later I found a bas relief plaque. Here they are:

The one on the right is the image we normally have of Charles Darwin, familiar to British people at least as the man on the £10 note. But on the left is Darwin as a young man at Christ's College in 1831 when he was 22 and planning a field trip to Tenerife. He never made that journey as he had the opportunity to accompany Capt FitzRoy aboard The Beagle


On another occasion I was wandering along by the River Cam photographing the University rowing races when it suddenly became darker as rain clouds rolled in, followed by the inevitable downpour. I walked briskly towards the railway bridge which was the only cover from the elements when I noticed....

....I just love the stoicism with which horses face (or more often turn their backs on) inclement weather.


I thought I'd finished with photography for the afternoon and was thinking about doing my shopping when I saw...

... the look of determination on this woman as she swings her basket. I get the feeling that the market trader might have a hard time if the prices or quality aren't to her liking.


Making my way to the E-luminate light show I put my lens up against a shop window. 

It's known as "The Haunted Bookshop" and though I can't detect a ghostly presence it does look as though it might have been hit by a particularly untidy poltergeist!


Not the kind of image I was expecting when I ventured into a parish church but I rather like it:

....shadows as the sun strikes through the church window.


Sometimes I just get the feeling that somebody's watching me...

Take care.
And watch out for ambushes.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

In Christ's Garden

....the garden and courtyards of Christ's College in Cambridge that is.

Despite being more centrally placed in Cambridge than any other college Christ's is something of a secret, seldom overrun with tourists and hardly known to most residents of the city. 

Some of the buildings are old, dating back to the founding of the college, originally called God's House, in the fifteenth century. Others are more recent having been added as the college expanded but all seem to be "off the radar" to the guidebooks.

But it's the flowers which took my eye on this glorious spring afternoon.

And you can wander through at your leisure. Everything seems to be open to visitors including the Master's Garden which is very unusual for the Cambridge colleges.

The light was very bright and clear which made some photos difficult but allowed other opportunities which, I hope, I was able to utilise to good effect.

But there are flowers in the courts too

Just when you think you've got the measure of the place - pleasant, well-proportioned courtyards with fine floral displays - you round a corner to be confronted by....

Sir Denys Lansdun's controversial, concrete construction - New Court, otherwise known as "The Typewriter". Love it or hate it, but I think I may not round that particular corner next time I go for a wander in the gardens of Christ's College.

Take care.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Springtime In Britain

We've been enjoying some perfect spring weather in recent days. The walking boots and the bicycle have been taking turns to get some exercise, so these are photos from my recent pedals and toddles in the English countryside around my home.

A butterfly
woke up to find itself trapped in a church
where the windows would not open.
I have always been determined that such a fate 
should not befall me!


The colours of spring.
Blue - yellow - green.


In the hedgerows the blackthorn is flowering.
Blackthorn bears its blossoms early,
before bothering with essentials
such as leaves.
They can come later.


Down on the allotments
things are stirring.
Old chairs are being placed in the sunshine,
pipes are being filled with baccy.


Tulips are blooming,
hot on the heels of the daffodils this year.


Interesting shadows 
on the 
grain store.


Next year's grain
is on the way!


One man and his dog
in a colourful landscape.


On the meadows
a sweet little flower.
Shall we call it 
Meadow Sweet?


And that could be Honesty
- but it's always hard to be sure!

Take care.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Midnight, Gogs And Bunnies

Morris men and women
were out in force in Thriplow at the weekend.

Baldock Midnight Morris
formed when the town of Baldock was unable to find a Morris side to
dance at its historic Street Fair.
"Right then, we'll do it ourselves!"
Like many before and since they found that it's harder than it looks,
but since then things have snowballed and here they are dancing out
in Thriplow.

Gog Magog Molly Dancers
all have
a connection with the University in Cambridge,
as a result their dances are sophisticated, refined and intellectual.

Yeah, right!

Bunnies From Hell
 do these people come from?"
you may wonder.
And what kind of jobs do they have
when they're not dancing?

just for me,
the wonderful sound of 

just for you,
here's a video of the goings on...
and you'll see that one of the bunnies has a nice fluffy pink tail!

Take care.