It’s been a busy week so maybe I’ve got enough highlights to talk about.
1 sport. It doesn’t seem to let up does it with the World Cup taking over our TV screens and the European national rugby teams on tour? Are the latter post or pre-season? And we’ve just finished a test series with Pakistan and are about to start one with Australia. I enjoy sport but what do I watch and, critically, whom do I support?
Generally I’ll go for rugby first and for this I’ve got two teams to support: Wales and South Africa. I was comfortable with the last gasp Wales victory over the Springboks in Washington and have been delighted that the ‘Boks have just beaten England twice in succession.
There are some who say that rugby in South Africa has suffered because of the need to include black players in the team and that some are there for political reasons and not on merit. All I can say is you don’t give a 100 caps to a player who doesn’t deserve them (Tendai Mtawarira affectionately known as the Beast). And the new captain, Siya Kolisi, looked every inch the part in the two victories.
2 restaurant. We went to 1921 in Bury St Edmunds for lunch. It was the bribe I gave myself in return for agreeing to a furniture shopping trip to Glasswells. 1921 is super. It’s very much Masterchef with smaller portions and uber-elegant presentation (see the picture above). The food was excellent and the service attentive, knowledgeable and professional. It’s not cheap but I’ll certainly return. They have a seven course taster menu which sounds pretty good to me.
3 music. Today we’ve been to a concert at St Andrew’s in Histon given by the Medlock Ensemble with guest soloist Rachel Cannon on clarinet. I’m no expert but I’d say that the second half was better than the first and I enjoyed particularly the Mozart Divertimento in F K138. Ms Cannon was especially super first featuring in Five Bagatelles for clarinet and strings by Gerald Finzi and then later in a challenging modern jazz-like variation of I Got Rhythm by Paul Harvey.
But I have a grumble. There was an official photographer present who took photographs during the performance so it wasn’t just strings and clarinet but also shutter noise. Not good.
4 book. I’ve just finished Smoke and Whispers by Mick Heron. I’ve previously enjoyed his Slough House trilogy which are to some extent in the le Carre mould but so tightly written that if you skip a paragraph you’re in danger of losing the plot completely. Smoke and Whispers is crime without an ending. Strange really, I felt a little cheated but I guess you have to read the next one to find out what happens next. A bit like those box set TV series which go on and on.
5 London. I don’t often go to London now but it always thrills me. This week I had two meetings and my schedule worked perfectly. It was a sunny day, not too hot, and I started with an early train from Cambridge North to Liverpool Street. I met colleagues at Wild & Wood. It’s a no compromise coffee shop; ‘we don’t do decaf’. Then a very satisfactory meeting on the 12th floor of 88 Wood Street before I stretched my legs to walk to the Aldwych. en route I stopped for an excellent lunch at Haz, I sat at a pavement table and enjoyed a salmon and avocado salad, before getting a good couple of hours of ‘free’ planning advice from a consultant who’s interested in pitching to help the Parish Council with its Neighbourhood Plan. Finally more walking to King’s Cross where I got a seat on a rather full train which got me home at the end of a very rewarding 12 hour day.