Tide is turning

My relationship with Cambridge has become quite odd. I’ve been lucky to have a succession of friends’ empty flats/houses to crash in over the course of this limbo, but the city is now associated with an uncertain and anxious feeling of being in limbo. I over-think and get frustrated about the whole situation when I have too much time on my hands in Cambridge.

As I don’t feel any ill effects of yesterday’s vaccine, Giles and I decided to do a spontaneous trip to Brighton, which we visited during last summer’s let-up on restrictions.

I arrived in the afternoon and located him on the pier. It was warm and the city centre was heaving, largely with shirtless gangs of young men slugging cans and singing Toca’s Miracle by Fragma.

Giles and I hung out on the pier with gin and chips. The seagulls are ferocious; we saw several people getting successfully robbed of the contents of their takeout boxes. We relocated to the pebble beach and relaxed further with some gin and people-watching.

I would have crashed in Brighton in some cheap digs but cheap digs aren’t a thing in summer 2021 in a place like Brighton which is a) always busy and b) able to tap the captive market of holidaymakers not going abroad by charging ludicrous prices for rooms.

Instead I went back to London, and enjoyed a late humid walk from Victoria to King’s Cross through the lively streets. I arrived in Cambridge on one of the last trains and made my way back to Trumpington on foot as the taxi queue was rammed.

I was spooked by spotting something on the ground in a gateway just off the main road at around 12.30am. I noticed a bike gleaming and assumed it had been stolen and dumped, as this happens several times a day in Cambridge. On closer inspection there was a man asleep next to the bike, helmet still on. I woke him and he insisted he was fine, so I toddled off. I was perplexed by the helmet as all rough sleepers I’ve seen before have not paid particular attention to cycle safety. However I believe in personal choice and the liberating feeling of going against the grain, so if he wants to nap in such a location, it’s not for me to disturb him unduly.

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