From a small corner of Cambridge, 11

Sunday morning. Trinity Street almost deserted. Not so long ago, there would have been quite a few people around by this time. But now, walking in to the Sunday Market as we have started doing again, the city centre is very quiet. There are little queues for the market food stalls; but evidently people are still coming into town much less. And of course the usual hordes of tourists have quite vanished, while most of the students aren’t back yet. The out-of-term Cambridge of fifty years ago has re-appeared. Strange, but it has its attractions.

Who knows what the coming weeks will bring? Students returning, a marked upswing in local Covid cases, increased reluctance again of older residents to venture out? Perhaps our reluctance is overdone. But levels of trust that the government is giving wise guidance are, shall we say, low; it is pretty difficult to interpret the various statistics for ourselves; so our generation’s erring on the side of excess caution is natural enough. Things are not looking hopeful.

We will try to enjoy the relative safety while we can.

So the days rattle by. While more confined to home and garden, various grands projets are underway. Encouraged by Youtube how-to videos (how did we manage before?), new skills are being acquired. Next up, getting handier with a silicone caulk gun …

Having so little to report, Zoom calls with friends are full of similar trivial domestic detail. Comforting in its way, though.

No concerts, then, and no trips to the London galleries and museums. But the wonderful Wigmore Hall series of free online concerts starts tonight; and as soon as the weather turns more autumnal again, we must book timed tickets to the Fitzwilliam. And as for reading … Having got so much out of revisiting Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, I’m at last launched into the final part of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy, The Mirror and the Light. Best, I think, to treat this massive volume as itself another three books (and anyway, I don’t want to finish it too quickly). So having read the first two parts of the new book, I’m pausing — and really enjoying re-reading Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories. That’s the first of her Jackson Brodie novels, which are both wonderfully well written and also entertaining enough detective stories. What’s not to like? If you don’t know the series, warmly recommended for when you need distracting but not mindless reading!

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