Sunday, 24 November 2013

A Cambridge Compendium

Cambridge To The Core

Sitting on the corner, opposite St Giles' Church in Cambridge, is this strange obelisk.... 


...Whatever can it be? It seems to have some strange carvings on it...



How very odd! Luckily there's an explanatory sign on the wall nearby. It states that it's a work of art by sculptor, Michael Fairfax, which represents the layers of Cambridge's past. On this site an archaeological dig revealed remnants of a Roman street, a first millennium burial site, Saxon and Medieval buildings, a Medieval coin hoard and a nineteenth-century pub. These are all represented at different levels on the column. The sculpture is like a core taken through the various layers.


Walking On Sunshine







Little brass plaques set into the path in a rather random fashion. That man Michael Fairfax again. He calls them Marguerites, though I don't know if there is any deeper significance than something to brighten up the path.


Topping



An old and rather battered looking top hat. The crumpled appearance is partly because it's a collapsible hat that can be squashed flat and can then later be encouraged to return to its original shape with a smart punch to the inside of the crown. Who would wear such a thing? Choirboys. Choirboys at Kings College Choir School who would walk across to the Chapel so dressed and then sit on their hats during a service. One of my school friends had one though we never knew if he'd really stolen it from the head of a choirboy or not.

Look Up!


  
Goodness me! And that's up above Bown's, a very high-class ladies' dress shop. An ancient carving tucked under the jettied upper storey of this old building. It seems to suggest that some very different ladies once occupied the building.


Sight-seeing



On a summer's day one of the nicest ways to view the famous College Backs (where the colleges of the University back down on to the river) is by a ride on a chauffeured punt. But on a rainy day in late autumn?


Take care.  

20 comments:

  1. The 'totem' is tres interesting John...but the carving in the ladies dress shop wins hands down, there's a story there for sure :))))

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    1. :)))))) looks like my old geography teacher - a constant smile and multiple chins!

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    2. That must have been a wee bit distracting how did you ever learn anything :)))

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  2. Enjoyed the treasure hunt--can't believe what you found when you looked up. Wow--want to know that story.
    We took a punt tour of the Cam on our visit there. It was a pleasant fall day.

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  3. Love that totem obelisk. Such a great way to artistically convey time. The Marguerites are quite beautiful too. Sure is lovely there.

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  4. What a pleasant outing - thank you! I'm most intrigued by that totem as well, and picturesque last shot even if it's a grey autumn outing.

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  5. What a unique piece of art -- a carved pole of the layers of the previous cultures. I have never seen something like this -- would be nice to see this type of art in areas where the place is archaeologically rich. -- barbara

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  6. You found some nice and pretty details.
    They made me stop too:)

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  7. Hard to know where to look sometimes, you could easily miss so much if you never look down.

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  8. Thanks for your contributions. I want to know the story behind the dress shop carving too, though I suspect it really was a house of ill repute.

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  9. I feel ashamed that I have never visited either Cambridge or Oxford. I see from compenium that it would be well worth it. Maybe I would be run over by Stephen Hawking?

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  10. The sculptures are wonderful but those brollies make for a super picture

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  11. I like the way street art like that obelisk encourage curiousity and invites questions.

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  12. I liked the little brass plaques set in the pathway; was amused by your observations above the dress shop, well more so by your statement ...'goodness me' :) The gondola ride image was let's say, very different! A nice all-rounder post John

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  13. Fun tour of some of the many things we missed during our visit. Hope to take one of those boat rides next trip.

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  14. LOVE that shot with the umbrellas...

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  15. Michael Fairfax's column is interesting but I like his pavement studs far better. A simple little delight, no doubt missed complete by most people that walk past.

    I've been on the punting tour of the Cam, most enjoyable, but not in the rain - I think I might have passed on that.

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  16. This is Michael Fairfax, and thanks for all your comments, it is always nice when ones art is appreciated, and I really enjoyed doing the Cambridge set.

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