Category Archives: Cambridge

A rare East Anglian lakeside walk

In the flat, low-lying eastern part of England, where we live, much of the land is only just above sea level, and for many centuries the inhabitants have been working hard to avoid the appearance of large areas of water.

We have rivers, of course, and dykes and canals, and they are all kept carefully in order and they generally behave and do as they are told. There are village ponds, too.

But to see a body of water of any size here is a rarity, which is why I occasionally make the pilgrimage to Fen Drayton Lakes, about 12 miles from my house. Until around 30 years ago, it was a gravel quarry, but that’s been enough time for nature to re-adopt it and flourish around it. Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, and it was pleasant to walk in the shade along the tree-lined paths and catch occasional glimpses of expanses of cool liquid.

It’s tantalizing, too, because you can’t go in or on the water: it’s an RSPB reserve, and home to a vast number of birds, who were clearly having a good time. I foolishly only had an elderly iPhone with me, so just took a couple of more general snaps of the scenery.

There are certain areas where you do need to make sure your dog pays attention to the signs.

But it’s a lovely spot, and very different from Cambridge just down the road. There’s even a quick and efficient guided-bus service from the city — when we get buses back — for those without other means of transport.

Despite all this, surprisingly few people in the area seem to know about it. Don’t tell too many of them…

Waning gibbous

Moon over Addenbrooke's Hospital

The moon above Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on Friday night. Click to enlarge.

Gateway to Autumn

Trinity College, Cambridge

Cambridge: an early-morning stroll

I was in town unusually early on Sunday morning. This is Rose’s college, St Catharine’s, just before dawn.

The river, just a few streets away, was unusually still.

Silver Street, because of the location of the coach-parking areas, is one of the first things that many tourists see. They don’t often see it looking like this, though!

At King’s College, only one chimney showed any signs of life.

Gradually, as things warmed, a brief mist appeared over the water.

But it soon cleared, as the sun rose a little higher, and started to reach the tops of the trees.

The garden at St Botolph’s was also looking beautiful:

The streets were quiet…

And I crept quietly away as the day was beginning.

StarChapel

Last night I was being a little bit creative with my recent photos… 🙂

Heat Haze Hospital

There are many benefits to living close to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but, as any Cambridge resident will tell you, its effect on the aesthetics of the region is not one of them. Usually the best way to improve its visual appearance is to go a long way away. And then face in the opposite direction.

Even Addenbrooke’s can have its moments, though. It’s about 4 miles from my house, as the crow flies, so this was taken with a long lens from my kitchen window.

Caian coffee

There’s a nice post about the coffee pot webcam on the Gonville & Caius College website this morning. Thanks, Lucy!

Computerphile

Sean Riley creates the Computerphile YouTube channel, which has clocked up nearly a million subscribers, and produces some great stuff, especially for the geeks among us.

I had fun talking to him about the early days of the Trojan Room Coffee Pot.

Autumn comes to Grantchester

Page hits

The Cambridge Independent newspaper was kind enough to feature some of my photos in last week’s edition.

Draining the Fens

Friends in the Cambridge area, or with an interest in its history, may enjoy this short 1947 informational film, Draining the Fens, at the East Anglian Film Archive.

Now, I’ll grant you, that doesn’t sound like the most gripping movie title, but this one is only nine minutes long, and if you’ve ever driven across the East Anglian countryside pondering the networks of rivers and drainage dykes, this explains how they came to be, and what can happen when they go wrong.

(The audio is a bit dodgy at the start, but improves.)

Cycling in the light

20161201-08312918-edit-900

A shot from this morning’s dog-walk to complete my ‘Frosty Grantchester’ triptych!

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser