I took Monday and Tuesday off work, mainly because my friend SA was visiting from Sweden, but it was actually really good to have a decent break.
I had a very relaxed day on Saturday with jack; we were sort of sorting out anti-entropy stuff like gardening and tidying, which is not absolutely what I most want to be doing on Shabbat but it was companionable and relaxing, rather than working hard throughout the day. And SA arrived in the evening as planned and we went out to ghoti and cjwatson and family's collective hundredth birthday party. I think this is a really really cool thing to celebrate, I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before! Though given jack and I are a childfree couple, I'm not sure if I'm going to remember this by the time we're nearly 50!
Also they did a thing that I didn't even know was possible, which was to hire one of those soft play places for the evening so that adults could play on the equipment. In fact we spent quite a lot of the time just chatting and eating ghoti's tasty food and drinking mead, but it was really nice for adults and children to be able to play together when we felt like it.
Sunday we got up slowly and did some gentle tourism with SA, basically just wandering into Cambridge and looking at the pretty things. We met up with ewt and her mother for dinner at the lovely South Indian restaurant, Rice boat, and had a really good conversation. By the time we'd finished dinner it was a really pleasant balmy evening so we walked home; SA's pedometer app said we covered 20K steps over the course of the afternoon! And as a further treat, ghoti and cjwatson and the two younger kids came over to play games in the evening, and we learned Sevens which is a very basic introductory getting rid of your cards game, a kind of precursor to competitive patience games, and spoons which is a silly and hilarious speed game.
Monday was another lovely slow morning with lots of chatting, and SA and I took a bus to the centre of town so we could explore stuff south of the market and Kings Parade without having to re-walk the same ground we'd already covered. We found SA some cute 50s style dresses in a style which really suits her (and me) but isn't readily available in Sweden as very few Swedish people are short and curvy like us two with our shared Ashkenazi heritage, and had lunch in the newly opened branch of Wasabi. Most museums, including the Fitz, are shut on Mondays, but we visited the Sedgwick museum and looked at fossils and pretty rocks (and thought of kaberett). And when we ran out of walking energy we had tea and a good old natter in Livingstones, one of the church cafés.
Then we acquired picnic food and participated in the very Cambridgey experience of outdoor Shakespeare. ghoti and jack joined us for the evening, and we ate our picnic in Kings Fellows' garden, which is just amazing, really, and we watched The Merry Wives of Windsor which is indeed just as terrible a play as everybody warned us it was. (We picked it because the other options were LLL which jack had already seen, and R&J which was too obvious and Titus Andronicus which we feared might be more dark than we we were in the mood for.) But good actors doing even really obvious comedy in a beautiful garden with friends was still a great evening!
I was moderately pleased to see that even though it's a comedy about cuckolds and infidelity, it was surprisingly non-sexist; sympathy was very much with the Merry Wives and not with the jealous husband or the philanderer trying to seduce them. Also there are a lot of fat jokes about Falstaff, but somehow they seemed much kinder than most modern anti-fat comedy. It wasn't about how Falstaff is fat because he's disgusting or lazy, it was about how he's fat because he likes high living. The characters of Sir Hugh and Dr Caius were kind of cringe-makingly racist, though. Which in turn led to a good discussion on the way home about how to deal with Shakespeare and other classic literature which doesn't reflect modern values, and also presentism and the pitfall of pretending that "we" are so much better than Shakespeare's audiences.
Tuesday SA and I met up with cjwatson and ghoti and the younger kids in the Botanic Gardens café for lunch. I'd never had more than a cup of tea there and it is really a very nice café, with a good salad bar. Then SA headed back to London and cjwatson back to work, and the rest of us had a couple of hours playing in the gardens. The Botanic Gardens are quite child-unfriendly in a way I found a bit surprising, given that it's partly an educational place, but anyway, we managed to have fun without breaking any of their rules. And we saw the flowering Titan Arum (corpse lily) which is kind of amazing even though it had stopped giving off its famous rotten meat smell by now.
I do in fact have some opinions I'll post about soon, but I'm off on another adventure this weekend, going to a music festival. Which is really not the kind of thing I do, but I am pretending to be a much cooler person than I really am...
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