Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two Months-ish to go!

Just over two months out from the wedding—YIKES!

Things are, as my mother keeps reminding me, falling into place. There have been some bumps along the way (the latest being having to find a new hairdresser), but after a few mini panic sessions now and then I am able to regain a calm and cool composure. Or something. My mother is amazing, and each time there's a hiccup she finds a solution. It's nice having a mum I can trust—her decision making abilities certainly make this a lot easier.

The invites are finalised and so far, knock on wood, we are on schedule for posting them! I'm not leaving people much time to RSVP, but I figure since we sent out Save the Dates this is fine—the point of not leaving much time is to encourage people to not forget. We'll see how that goes. I think the invites look lovely, and after they get mailed I'll post a pic—very fairytale/woodsy looking, I think. I feel really blessed that David's dad agreed to design them for us. It's very special.

Our Canadian honeymoon (or honeymoon part I) is booked, although my significant other has requested that the location be kept secret. But it will be lovely, and we're both looking forward to it. I say Honeymoon Part I because we are unable to take a long honeymoon since we have to travel back to the UK and get back to work. Part II will consist of traveling about England & Europe over the next 2 years (or at least until we have a kid. Then the honeymoon is over, lol).

Today I went browsing in one of the malls and found the dress I'll be wearing either to the rehearsal dinner OR as a going away dress. I hope to get it next weekend—I just need David to have a look at it...and provide me with his student card for the sweet, sweet 10% discount.


Life in Cambridge has been quiet of late. David has a writing deadline of Monday this week, followed by a defence mid-June, so our weekends have been fairly quiet. We did spend a lovely Sunday afternoon walking to Fen Ditton with some friends, and we also had a fun late night out with people from my work, but mostly things are just quiet and, at least for me, peaceful. There's currently an English heat-wave (ie: 26-30 outside) and I am pleased to discover that our flat stays nice and cool. The giant fire door on the kitchen is a blessing as well, because it allows me to contain all the cooking heat in one room.

Spring cleaning is off to a good start, and at the rate I'm going I should be done by the start of summer. As we're not entertaining much since everyone is busy with exams, and as we have no guests coming to stay this summer, I feel no need to rush.

Cattle in the Midsummer Common (I think we buy their delicious cow meats from our butcher)


Cattle on the fens (en route to Fen Ditton)


David and I outside of the very medieval church of St Mary the Virgin (or something like that)


View from the lawn of The Plough in Fen Ditton where we stopped for afternoon pints. David rows by here during practice.


Me + Colleague + Colleague's Husband relaxing at the work Rounders Game on Jesus Green

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tea in Grantchester

It's a sunny but cold May Day bank holiday here in East Anglia. I am enjoying the first of my "never in Canada!" bank holidays, and I finally have time to write about our idyllic day in Grantchester. There is a Cambridge tradition, from the last century, of taking tea outdoors in the orchard at The Orchard, so we decided to avail ourselves us this on the first sunny Saturday in April.

It is about a 4 mile walk from our house to the Orchard. As we'd never been there before we walked through town and along Grantchester Road. This involved a detour through the Clare Gardens, my first visit to them (beautiful!) and a chance to see the outsides of some colleges. Then city gave way to college-owned gaming fields, which in turn gave way to farm land, and we found ourselves in the English countryside.

It was a beautiful day for a walk—the sun was hot, the air was fresh, and the ground firm & dry. Eventually we got tired of dodging cars on the narrow road so we trekked across a farmer's field, with David making jokes about angry farmers and their guns. Just when I began to wonder how much farther we had to go (and curse our lack of water bottle), we saw the GRANTCHESTER sign. We paused for pictures, as it is not every day that one walks to a neighbouring town. Just after David took my picture we heard a gunshot hear our heads. "I say, is someone shooting at us?" I assumed it was a farmer, angry that we trekked in his tractor tracks, so we walked very swiftly toward town. Just as we neared the first building we saw a farmer with a gun in one hand and a pheasant in the other. We relaxed our pace back to stroll.

The town was picturesque, with actual thatched roof cottages. We strolled toward The Orchard, which was entered by a little path through the trees. Then unfolded acres of grass, budding trees, and people sitting at low tables in canvas deck chairs, enjoying their afternoon tea. The line-up for the tea house was long, and once inside it was a cafeteria-style set up (reminding me strongly of the BC ferries!), although they give you this blue plastic square that vibrates and flashes with red lights when your lunch food is ready.

Soon we were settled in a corner of the orchard, resting weary bodies in the comfortable chairs, and presiding over our first English High Tea. Cranberry & brie, and cheese & bramston pickle sandwiches; elderflower soda (it tastes like someone bottled the essence of spring); scones with clotted cream and jam; flavourful tea. It was perfection. We must have lingered for at least an hour, slowly eating and just enjoying the fresh green air. How lovely to picnic in a land where one is not troubled by wasps or mosquitoes! How wonderful to consume a rich lunch with the true hunger of a good mornings walk!

We decided to walk home by following the Cam. We passed picnickers, campers, punters, kayakers, and even a couple of canoes. Everywhere I looked were the lush grasslands and willows of the riverside, happy groups of friends & families enjoying the April sunshine, and people moving by on the water. Then, in the distance, we saw the first of the Cambridge church spires, and I experience the thrill of seeing our town appear on the horizon as we walked towards it. It seemed so displaced from the 21st century, where you go so fast in your car that by the time you notice the town appearing you are already in it.

Home then, to rest weary feet and spend an evening of quiet rest indoors.