This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?

Grantchester-2would I were
In Grantchester, in Grantchester! –
Some, it may be, can get in touch
With Nature there, Or Earth, or such.
And clever modern men have seen
A Faun a-peeping through the green,
And felt the Classics were not dead

But these are things I do not know.
I only know that you may lie
Day-long and watch the Cambridge sky,

Until the centuries blend and blur
In Grantchester, in Grantchester ….

(Rupert Brooke)

 

Happy to be back in Cambridge. Rupert Brooke felt it, too, as he longed for Cambridge and Grantchester meadows from his apartment in Berlin in the spring of 1912.

103 years later we ditched our luggage with all their Polish dust at the hotel, grabbed Prosecco and strawberries and the picnic blanket and headed for Grantchester meadows, river Cam, and the summer sun.

Grantchester-3Hours later, heavy from soaking up the sun, we climbed over the cow fence into the Orchard at Grantchester, where Brooke and his friends Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein once used to sit and repair the world with the power of thought, word, and verse.

The church clock may no longer stand at ten to three, but there is always honey for tea – and fresh scones with jam and clotted cream.

Grantchester-1(The Orchard tea garden, Grantchester, United Kingdom; July 2015)


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All the world’s a stage

GlobeFacing up against tube strike, sitting in the cab for 1 h 15 minutes from South Kensington to Southwark, wolfing down a wonderful pre-theater dinner at the Swan in 45 minutes, and we made it to the play at the Shakespeare’s Globe. As You Like It was classy and wonderfully fresh, with Celia and Rosalind cracking the audience up, as two loons living to love and loving to live. Even the airplanes landing at Heathrow were given a part in a 17th century play.

Drinks and barbeque food were served outside and allowed in, to recreate the feel of Elizabethan times. Alluding to the same feel we asked if throwing food at the actors was allowed. It was, with the disclaimer that the actors might well throw some back. Seeing how they tormented some poor selected ones in the crowd we did not doubt the warning. Next time we will certainly bring both roses and rotten tomatoes. 

This time the choice towards roses would have been easy.

(London, United Kingdom; July 2015)


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The English

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They drive on the wrong side. They drink their beer warm – and a small glass of wine is as much as a large glass in Finland. The tube never works in the weekends. The trains never work during rush hours. They charge ludicrous prices for tiny hotel rooms in London. They say “alight here” on the tube when they mean “leave the train”. They do not accept cards in the cab. They speak between the lines, persist in claiming class divides are eradicated, and serve awful food.

But they heat the milk served with tea – and the tea requires no fruit aroma to have a flavor. They make clotted cream rice pudding. They gave birth to Coldplay and Muse. And they created London. Bloomsbury, Mayfair, and Notting Hill. And the Twinings tea shop.

What am I still doing in Finland? Why oh why have I not moved back to England yet?

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(London, United Kingdom; June 2014)