Posts in Category: Rambling

War and Remembrance

On Thursday, as well as fitting in some shopping and wandering through town, I stopped in at the Fitzwilliam Museum for a look at their new exhibitLa Grande Guerre. It featured a collection of lithographs and woodcuts from the Great War, donated by the daughter of Cambridge’s own Gwen Ravarat, and arranged chronologically so that the viewer can see the change in tone as the war progresses. I found the exhibit very moving, and the thoughtful curation of the prints allowed the viewer to see the progression from complete nationalistic control of this military propaganda to letting in just the tiniest slips about the realities of the battles.

LaGrandeGuerreI was slightly surprised to see how the artists included quite a few images of the various cultural groups who fought in the war. There were the ‘Turks’, the Senegalese, Tunisian and Algerian troops who fought with the French, and ‘les Hindous’, the 1.5 million Indian soldiers who fought alongside the British. In fact, I am more than a little in love with that print, and brought home a small copy.

I lingered so long over the exhibit that I didn’t get a chance to have a wander through the rest of the museum, but I’ll be back. In one of those delightful jumps in time, I moved from the First World War to the Second, meeting Paul for drinks at The Eagle.


I’ve been meaning to visit The Eagle since I first heard about it — and it’s well worth hearing about! It was here where Watson and Crick celebrated the discovery of the structure of DNA (or, at least, where they drank to this discovery). Of more personal note, it’s also where the American soldiers stationed in Cambridge during WW2 used to drink. Fortunately for us, they left behind a bit of the past. In grand American tradition, the soldiers graffitied the ceiling of one of the rooms with their serial numbers and other messages. While the bar obviously caters to American tourists (odd hearing so many American accents in one room), it still has the feeling of a local pub, with students and faculty enjoying a quick after-work drink. We were lucky enough to squeeze into a booth in the back room, but there’s also a beautiful front room with glowing stove that must be gorgeous on a rainy winter’s day, and a few tables outside for a beer under the sun. Will definitely be heading back soon.


Clovember Rambling



Quite a lot of my friends have been having fun with Clovember, a month-long daily posting of their clothing. It’s been lovely, not just to see their different styles but to get to see photos of them each day. I see faces I love and interesting clothes and grumpy morning faces and people throwing silly shapes. I haven’t joined in because (a) I feel it’s a good day when I manage to get dressed and to the bus or train on time without adding photos into the mix, (b) my school has a blazer rule so my choices are rather limited to boring or very boring, and (c) I currently hate almost everything in my wardrobe.

I’ve been thinking a lot about clothing lately, as you do when the other 97.3% of your brain is occupied by teaching and can’t handle anything more challenging. My mother, who is buying me a gorgeous winter coat, put her finger on something that’s been bothering me lately about my style. What I realised was that a lot of my general blahs with myself comes from the fact that I find my wardrobe uninspiring these days. While I am never going to be someone who is fashionable or follows trends or looks like a model, I really like well-cut clothes in beautiful colours, and I appreciate that a striking outfit can make me feel immediately better about myself. I used to think I had a very definite sense of style, a combination of laid-back, preppy and vintage. I had certain stores that I shopped from and knew exactly where to go when I wanted something. It helped that I have been given a lot of my mother and grandmother’s incredibly beautiful jewellery, handbags, beaded clutches and scarves. Over time I have added to that with things I love, and with a rather massive shoe and handbag collection. When I moved to London, I got rid of a lot of things I knew I would never wear again, and the rest are in storage. I’ve added some warmer things to the mix since I got here, but it was mostly whatever I could find on the spur of the moment that I needed. As a result, my wardrobe over here is an odd mix of items clothing – just not my kind of clothing. I pretty much wear the same things each week, including the same jewellery, and as a result, I feel stuck in a rut. I decided to have a quick look at some of my favourite stores, both at home and stores I’ve discovered in the UK. I feel slightly relieved to discover that my style mojo has not completely disappeared…I can still find clothing I love and that excites me. Now to snag a few of these charmers before they disappear!