It’s always good to return to Cambridge: the city and the people are special to me and it’s a feeling of coming home to wander familiar streets and shops.
There’s a bit of ritual to a visit. English breakfasts in the dining hall at the College, seated at long tables and striking up a conversation with whoever happens to be sitting nearby. This morning it was a materials scientist creating nanotubes for industrial coatings, yesterday a Polish businessman studying organizational theory. And all before 9 am.
Last night I went to the Peterhouse Political Society for a lecture. They hold it in the college parlor, all flowered wallpaper and wingtipped leather chairs, the inner circle reserved for the dons (who invariably fall asleep during the talk). Sir Hilary Synnott, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan in the early 2000’s , was speaking on “How did it come to this?” to a roomful of Pakistani students wanting to debate his policies and perceptions. Worth a walk in the rain just to watch the give and take.
I stopped through the University bookstore to browse the sections of Philosophy and Mathematics. I was hoping to find an introduction to recent philosophical thought, but no luck; I did find a good book on Pattern Recognition and retreated to a pub across the Fens for a read over a beef casserole.
“How many Nobel Prize winners do they have over in Maastricht?”, a local friend asked with typical British irony when I told him where I was living. I love the Dutch, and I don’t think I’d want to live anywhere else in Britain, But when I’m visiting Cambridge, it’s hard not to be seduced.