All has been quiet on the blogging front recently, as assignment deadlines cast their long, forbidding shadows on my calendar. The last assignment was handed in as Friday night was turning in to Saturday morning, and 6 hours later we were on the road to Cambridge, for C & J’s wonderful wedding at the Union.
It was strange to be back in our old alma mater – not that Cambridge ever felt much like a mater, let alone alma, in my experience. But it has been… a while. Somewhere in the region of 8 years. And we’re all still here, mostly just the same as ever, only older: getting married or pregnant or promoted, buying houses, drinking slightly better wine.
We ended the night with Joe Cocker’s legendary Woodstock rendition of With A Little Help From My Friends. And it really struck me how much I miss them all – not in a sad, selfish kind of way, but in a way that recognises what a wonderful thing it is to have these friends, who make life feel ok, and the world feel like a good place after all. Thank goodness for weddings and housewarmings and baby-namings: there are still plenty of parties to come.
The morning after… well… the afternoon after, when we all eventually piled out of Joan’s room and went our separate ways, I spent some quality time with the old city. The whole university experience has been placed in a memory box labelled ‘bad times’, rarely opened, so it wasn’t a straightforward trip down memory lane. But it felt good to wander through those old haunts (Cambridge doesn’t change much, in spite of the wave of gentrification eating up the wrong side of the railway tracks). We stopped for cinnamon bagels in Café Indigo, where I used to sit and write and watch the world go by; I tried on shoes in some of the lovely shops around Rose Crescent. On the way out of town, we picked up Fitzbillies cakes to take home, the ultimate Cambridge souvenir. Those bad times weren’t all bad. There were willow trees and ducklings and punts; the cherry blossom outside St Johns in late April; the kind of cafés where you really could spend a whole afternoon lost in thought; peaceful churchyards and antiquarian bookshops. And, best of all, that wonderful bunch of misfits I still know and love over a decade later.
For old times’ sake I tried to watch an episode of Sealab 2021 when I got home, but some things really are best left in the past.