cantankerous is rather looking forward to returning to his alma mater, the University of Cambridge, tomorrow. So, for those thinking of visiting, a few tips:
1. If you ever get an invitation to hear Alison Richards, the Vice-Chancellor of the University speak, don’t bother. She is perhaps the worst public speaker cantankerous has ever heard. cantankerous had to go to a second oratorical performance simply to make sure she really was as bad as he thought she was the first time. Unfortunately, she was. Now, if she is speaking at an event that is otherwise worth attending, cantankerous either does iPod or pub. It is worth reminding oneself that the Vice-Chancellor’s job is to administer rather than to inspire. Which is rather fortune with Alison Richards in post.
2. You’ll see signs all over the town proclaiming that there is isn’t just an old University in Cambridge. What should be said is that there is only one decent university in Cambridge. I always pity the poor graduates from Anglia Ruskin University, some of whom pose for posterity outside King’s in their gowns and mortarboards (the giveaway since Cambridge does hoods not boards) pretending that they have just graduated from somewhere else. Remind yourself that Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge is the former technical college at which Tom Sharpe taught. It inspired Sharpe to write the Wilt comic novels, where Wilt, a lecturer at the ‘Fenland College’, is driven to despair by his stupid and disinterested students.
3. Outside term, some of the Colleges make rather nice, and quite reasonably-priced, rooms available. Even to tourists. A more central and more authentic way to see the town. And much nicer than the overpriced and tacky B&Bs.
4. Don’t expect too much of Cambridge beyond the University. The University dominates the town. Think a world class university with Harlow attached. Not quite as bad as Harlow perhaps, but not much better either.
5. Try Dojo, a fantastic noodle bar, for lunch. It is reasonably priced, and conveniently located on Mill Lane, off Trumpington Street, between Queens’ and the Fitzwilliam Museum. And its convenient for King’s too, but much better than the tourists traps on King’s Parade.