Monday, 23 November 2009

Cambridge Visit

My friend, Maggie, and I went over to Cambridge on a shopping visit last week so I thought I'd post a little visual record of our time there.  Cambridge sits on the River Cam and, aside from being famed as the place where clever people go to get educated, it is a really pleasant town steeped in history and lovely little shops.  I didn't know quite how many colleges there are in Cambridge - 31 to be precise.  6 of them date back to the 15th Century, 4 of them were founded in the 14th Century and the mother of them all, Peterhouse College was founded in the year 1284!  Wow!  Shame we didn't take some pics of these but that would have been too much like a history lesson perhaps.

 Here's the central quayside area where you can hop on a punt and mozey off down the river.....only today, as it was quite blustery and cold, that didn't seem like a wise option.

This view was down river a little.......

This is one of the typical cobbled streets full of olde worlde little shops which we had fun dipping in and out of - you felt like you might see a horse and carriage at any moment!  The most common mode of transport, however, was the bicycle........and lots of them!  No cars, at least not in the centre of town,
just lots of students, and dons, flying around all over the place on bikes.

Maggie and I were on a mission.  We knew there was a decent art shop somewhere in town but we just couldn't find it.   We asked many
people who tried their best to guide us in the right direction.  We also had a map which turned out to be grossly unhelpful.....partly because it didn't have all the side roads on it, but mostly because neither of us has the slightest modicum of a sense of direction.  We can't help it, we are just both extremely handicapped in the spatial awareness department!

Anyway eventually we found it, so here I am posing outside Tindalls - that elusive art shop.  I don't know why I am pointing innanely at the sign - I think I was just so thrilled to have actually found the shop!   

And....what a shop, it was great!  These days, at least in my part of the world, there are fewer and fewer good art shops on our high streets.  They are slowly disappearing probably because of the economic downturn but also, I think, because more and more people are choosing to shop online now for their art materials.  It's good, though, to go to a real, live shop sometimes, wander around and see and feel things 'in the flesh', so to speak, isn't it?  For example, I love the feel of papers........and this was an Aladdin's cave of papers. 

I bought some Sennelier La Carte sanded paper - heaven!  It was expensive though, £25.95 for an A3 pad (gulp!), but worth it I think.   I also re-stocked my diminishing supplies of Art Spectrum Colourfix, although they didn't have all the colours I wanted.  The Colourfix was available only in large sheets but I was able to use the (very large) guillotine to cut them down to the size I wanted.   The shop assistant said she wasn't allowed to do this for me but I could do it myself.  I think then if mistakes are made, the customer is responsible, rather than the shop.  Also, rather more pertinently, if the assistant happened to cut off a finger or two in the process, the shop would have been up the creek without a paddle don't you think?  If I had mutilated my own hand.....well that's just tough I suppose. 

Anyhow, I emerged from the shop laden down with luscious papers, a few coloured pencils and eight fingers and two thumbs intact - phew!  Incidentally, we could have done with borrowing that bicycle with basket, someone left temptingly parked outside the shop, to carry everything back to the coach park....sigh!  All in all, a great day out.    


Carolina said...

Ohhh! What a lovely description of your day! The pictures are so beautiful, I loved the city and everything you told about it. I loved your adventures trying to get to the art store (I am handicaped that way too, isn't that funny? I even got lost once when I was in my own college!).
And I loved the whole thing of the art store... I'm so glad for you, and kind of sad for me hehe, I think (well, I'm pretty sure) we don't have sand paper, or sand board, pastel board and such here in Peru... online, or traveling, is our only way to get those supplies... <--that was not a complaint, just sharing, I love living here :)
Best regards,

Janet Pantry said...

Thanks for commenting Carolina! Yes, thank goodness for online stores - they make things much more accessible for everyone. I suppose I'm just worried that our high streets and towns will become deserted - no shoppers, no shops, no community, no human contact! Eerie....but, in the words of the song, "times, they are a-changing"....

Paula Pertile said...

Oh I love the street with the olde shoppes. Reminds me of when they do a "Dicken's Faire" here.
I'm glad you found some LeCarte! I love that paper. And I'm glad you didn't slice off any fingers - eek!


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