Skip to main content

'Cambridge is a complex place'

... observes the Duke of Edinburgh. Someone from Cambridge University Press came to speak to us. He gave away Cambridge: 800th Anniversary Portrait to a Thai teacher, who handed the book to me as if she was glad to get rid of it. (It's ok. She doesn't read, nor speak English) Into my lap a treasure fell. Some days must be bright and cheery :-)

1. "As an undergraduate I was persuaded that the Dons were a wholly unnecessary part of the university. I derived no benefits from lectures, and I made a vow to myself that when in due course I became a lecturer I would not suppose that lecturing did any good. I have kept this vow." Bertrand Russell, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, 1967 (p.53)

2. "Cambridge, wet, cold, abstract, formal as it is, is an excellent place to write, read and work." Sylvia Plath, writing to her mother, 1956, from Letters Home, 1975 (p. 17)

3. "Dear Sir, I will be obliged to you to order me down 4 Dozen of Wine, Port, Sherry- Claret, & Mandeira, one Dozen of Each; I have got my Furniture in, and begin to admire College Life. Yesterday my appearance in the Hall in my State Robes was Superb, but uncomfortable to my diffidence." George Gordon Lord Byron, letter to John Hanson 1805 (p. 38)

4. "The churches in the town... are half empty." Nobel laureate Francis Crick writes to Sir Winston Churchill in 1961 (p. 263)

5. "We have mathematical lectures, once a day - Euclid and algebra alternately. I read mathematics three hours a day - by which means I am always considerably before the lectures, which are very good ones. Classical lectures we have had none yet-nor shall I be often bored with them. They are seldom given and, when given, very thinly attended." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, letter to his brother George, 1791 (p.49)

6. The marble index of a Mind for ever, Voyaging thro' strange seas of Thought, alone. William Wordsworth on Isaac Newton's statue in Trinity College (p.61)

7. "Although we shall presently see, there were redeeming features in my life at Cambridge, my time was sadly wasted there... but as some of my friends were very pleasant, and we were all in the highest spirits, I cannot help looking back at those times with much pleasure." Charles Darwin, His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter, edited by his son Francis Darwin, 1902

8. "...almost my favorite museum is the Fitzwilliam at Cambridge." Alan Bennett, Art, Architecture and Authors: Untold Stories, 2005 (p.209)

9. If you are a Jew or a Buddhist, you will have to make an effort to find out about the relevant religion groups and societies. If you are a Moslem you will find your needs badly catered for in Cambridge, and will have to work especially hard. Whether you're a Christian or not, you won't have to wait more than a few days before CICCU catches up with you." Varsity Handbook, 1980-1 (p.256)

10. "Animal behavior: chaffinches, meerkats and man" subtitle on the Biological and Medical Sciences page understandably with mention of Robert Hinde, Jane Goodall's PhD supervisor (p. 241)

11. "in a world rocked by greed, misunderstanding and fear, with the imminence of collapse into unbelievable horrors, it is still possible and justifiable to find the exact placing of two pebbles." Jim Ede in 1957 (p. 212)

12. "The game is more important than the score" motion of Anne Mallalieu's (first woman to be elected president of the Union Society) debate (p.192)

13. "'This is the city of dreaming spires,' Sheila said. 'Theoretically that's Oxford', Adam said. This is the city of perspiring dreams.'" From the Glittering Prizes, Frederick Raphael, 1976 (p.115)

Click here for more Thursday Thirteen


Anonymous said…
It's no wonder Cambridge didn't accept me LOL
Hazel said…
Thom, they asked me to defer my acceptance indefinitely lol!
Brenda ND said…
Good post. I'd like to visit Cambridge someday.
Some great excerpts on the university here in your post.
Xakara said…
Wonderful quotes, especially the one from Sylvia Plath :).

I'd love to visit the university one day.

Happy TT,

Hazel said…
Anni, yes they are.

Xakara, I enjoyed Sylvia Plath's too
Alice Audrey said…
Such a radically different college experience than mine.
Heather said…
I think a great many college students the world round would be inclined to agree with Darwin, lol. Great quotes!
I am Harriet said…
Enjoyed your excerpts.

Have a great Thursday!
Hazel said…
Alice, yeah Cambridge is radical in many ways. The events forming and transforming it thoughout the ages make it - Cambridge.

Heather, they most probably would, lol!

Harriet, I'm glad you enjoyed them
sherilee said…
Great post! Makes me want to go visit!
Hazel said…
sherilee, it would be nice :)
Kristen said…
I always think of Cambridge as it appears in nineteenth century novels, cold, damp and harsh. I imagine it has moved into the 21st century in actuality, but that spoils its reputation a bit.
Hazel said…
Kristen, I share a similar sentiment. I am hoping I can still find it's old charm if or when I go visit.

Popular posts from this blog

Weekend Snapshot: The AIDS Temple (Lopburi I)

It is sometimes referred to as the AIDS Museum, I tend to call it AIDS Temple. Descriptively it is a buddhist hospice for AIDS patients, the largest one in Thailand. Three of us, a friend, my son and I paid Wat (temple) Phrabat Nampu in Lopburi a visit last weekend. As it is where people with AIDS go to to die, most of what we saw are not exactly the ones I'm in a hurry to show off. But if you are curious, you may want to click on a post I did days ago. Anyway, on with shots that I don't think will give anyone a coronary:

100 steps to the wat
After the climb this is where you arrive at

"View from the top" - those are bare cornfields visitors pass by on their way to the temple

Side view of the Life Museum which ironically displays mummies

A usual sight around Thai temples

Bone sculptures

The temple bell

Life is beautiful. Most of us would prefer that of course. AIDS is also real.


The Rumford is a much more efficient way to heat a room than earlier fireplaces....(Wikipedia on Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, designer of tall, shallow fireplaces which are now known as the Rumford, was an Anglo-American physicist known for his investigations of heat)Living in the tropics, I have been in close proximity with only three fireplaces in my life. There was an unused one in the home of my college professor in the Philippines. The other one from which I could feel the heat and see the fire dancing was in a hotel lobby in the Yorkshire Moors. Picture taking was quick. Two old ladies were having tea by it, but that was my first ever real fireplace experience, and I loved it. The latest I have touched is the one in Jane Austen's imaginary Northanger Abbey.
The fireplace, where she had expected the ample width and ponderous carvings of former times, was contracted to a Rumford, with slabs of plain though handsome marbles, and ornament over it of the prettiest English ch…

Honor, Awards and a Game

Tuesday Couch Potatoes: Made of Honor
Awards and a Game/Meme follow. Please scroll down a bit.

My pick for this week's TCP theme (wedding movie) is Made of Honor. I like the humor in it. We've all been to several weddings but how many of us can say I've been to one in which the maid of honor was a he? The scene which particularly cracked me up is when the priest mistook the maid of honor for a gay man =) If you're familiar with some of my likes, you'd know why I also love the Scotland location of the wedding. For more of the synopsis click here; and here's the trailer:
Head over to Just About Anything for more wedding movies.


My super duper bloggy friend Thom of Thom's Place for Well Whatever and fellow Mom Tetcha of Pensive Thoughts awarded me this Beautiful Blogger award. I have to list seven things about me so here they are:

1. I love wearing jeans more than skirts.
2. One of my favorite colors is purple.
3. I don't mind spending sunrise…