As ever, I’m finding it hard to let go of summer. In the last week, the warmth’s returned to Cambridge, but it’s been overlaid with the signs of autumn. The spiders are everywhere in the garden and I need bike lights if I’m out after 7.30pm. 7.30! What happened?
I’m also missing the freewheeling that goes with being properly away on holiday, so this time of year finds me determinedly making the most of weekends.
Recently, this involved a family picnic on Grantchester Meadows, the area by the Cam between Cambridge and Grantchester village.
It soon became clear we weren’t the only ones clinging on to summer. I can report that we witnessed advanced frolicking on our travels, along with some genteel relaxing:
The Meadows themselves are atmospheric and you can lose the feeling of modern day life once you’re there. Punts glide by along the river whilst cows graze, and the smell of earth, grass, water (and indeed cattle) is brought out by the warmth of the sun.
Pink Floyd’s song about the place gives you some idea, and here it’s been set to a video of the real location.
Grantchester village is interesting too. It’s awash with famous and infamous residents, past and present. Rupert Brooke lived at the Old Vicarage, which inspired his poem of the same name. Nowadays, it’s home to the scientist Mary Archer, and her husband Jeffrey, of books, politics and prison fame. The sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld also lives in the village.
Going further back in time, Lord Byron was said to swim in the local pool named after him.
If you’re looking for refreshments, The Orchard Tea Garden offers everything from the innocent cuppa and cake the name suggests, to champagne if the need should arise. They serve light lunches too, and the setting’s incredibly picturesque.
My favourite bit of Grantchester folklore refers to a tunnel that’s meant to run for two miles, from the Old Manor House in the village to King’s College in Cambridge. It’s said a fiddler once began the journey, his music becoming ever fainter, and was never seen again.
It seems to be a place that inspires stories. The village is the setting of James Runcie’s Grantchester mysteries, which are being adapted for television. There’s been lot of evidence of filming in town, too, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.
Meanwhile, I’ve just responded to the first set of edits for my own mystery novel, Anna in the Works. I hope I’ve done OK! I’m very excited to have got to this stage, and the editor at Choc Lit has been brilliant. It’s line and copy edits next…