Friday, May 30, 2008

Cambridge by night

"In which I acquire a new friend and an umbrella"

I met Mark on Myspace - we have mutual friends (live ones, not cyber ones) in Brighton Morris. We had chatted on line a bit about mutual interests - music and training - and then Mark contacted me to say he was coming to Cambridge.

We arranged to meet up one night - originally my husband was going to come too but he was unwell. But it was OK, Mark had also invited another Myspace contact to meet up, and he (Richard) was also a friend of mine.

So, at half past eight on a very rainy Thursday night, I drove into Cambridge for drinks with a man I met on the internet. Chaperoned, of course, by Richard. We met up and moved pubs immediately (The Eagle was heaving, yet two doors up the Bath House had space to sit).

We sat and talked for a couple of hours, easily, comfortably, the three of us discussing music, mutual acquaintances and friends, and training (Mark's current job, a return to training after a five year gap, sounds quite a challenge to say the least). When eventually we got up to leave, we were the only ones left in the pub. The rain was still darkening the pavements of this ancient city, and all I had was my jacket.

The barmaid, hearing our discussion on the rain (Richard was amply prepared and looked not unlike the Old Man of the Sea in his raincoat and hat) offered us left over umbrellas. She gave me a most wonderful rain defender - multicoloured inside, dark on the outside with a soft, solid foam handle. A truly wondrous affair! With appropriate gratitude I accepted, and we made our way out into the dark rainy night.

Richard led the way and we took Mark on a speedy, night-time tour of the city. Up past King's, along Trinity Street, past the Round Church, and then back down to Lion Yard where my two gentlemen companions insisted on accompanying me all the way back to my car. We told Mark various Cambridge stories - describing Hobson's Choice and pointing out the conduit (an underground stream that flows through the city) and pointing out various other interesting quirks of the city. We could, of course, have spent hours wandering the city, but late on a rainy Thursday night, with work the following morning, it wasn't an option this time.

We parted at the car park after a very pleasant evening. What luck that Mark's first training job was a post in Cambridge. Perhaps next time I'm in Brighton, he can show me the sights of that wonderful seaside town. Brighton Pier, perhaps?
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