We were happy to awake to sunshine this morning and without bothering to stop for breakfast, made straight for Liverpool Street station aboard a 214 that turned up right on cue. While Tigger joined the queue for tickets, I crossed the station concourse to the Upper Crust stall and bought baguettes and coffee.
We boarded the 09:58 Cambridge train, though we are not going to Cambridge. In fact, at the time of writing I do not know where we are going and Tigger is waiting to see how long it will be before I guess our destination.
We have consumed our baguettes and coffee and now have to wait patiently to arrive at “station X”.
We left the train at Great Chesterford. I didn’t guess where we were going because I had never been here before. It is quite a small village and usually would not detain us for very long but today it is celebrating the Great Chesterford Steam-up, an annual event.
There were stalls selling local produce and handmade goods and also a small fairground.
Above all, there were steam engines of every kind from water pumps to traction engines. There was a great range of sizes too: some engines were so huge that they required two people to operate them;
and others were quite small and resembled toys, although they ran beautifully.
There were other curious contraptions like this Dutch mechanical organ with moving figures.
Not all the machines were steam-powered. There was a wonderful display of older motor vehicles, all in perfect working order, as far as I could see. Among them was this beautiful Austin Seven Ruby,
and this 1932 Morris Commercial R Type van.
There is quite a large church and next to it the old vicarage which declares itself to date from 1672.
I liked this rather severe looking lion-faced door-knocker.
It was amusing to see all the steam-engine enthusiasts sitting next to their running machines and chatting to one another. Behind this leisure in the sunshine, however, lies much hard work in restoring and maintaining these complex but strangely beautiful engines.
Much as there was to see, by about 12:30 we felt the urge to move on. We had an idea of a good place to go to for lunch but that would require another train tide. Accordingly, we returned to the small station and boarded a train for the university city of Cambridge, which we reached around 1:20 pm.
Cambridge is not only a city of university colleges but also of bicycles. Bicycles are ridden – and parked – everywhere.
We were making for the famous Rainbow Cafe, purveyors of an amazing range of vegetarian and vegan food. On arriving, we found a queue for tables, unfortunately, but as it is Saturday and in view of the renown of the place, this is hardly surprising. We were eventually assigned a table for two at the foot of the staircase.
In the afternoon we visited the wonderful treasure house of art, antiques and archaeological specimens whose imposing front entrance is pictured below, the Fitzwilliam Museum.
If, as you stand in the porch, you look up, you see this magnificent ceiling.
We in fact entered by the side entrance under the haughty gaze of a pair of guardian lions.
Photography is not allowed in the inner part of the museum. I am not sure whether that is a good or bad thing because there is so much there that if I were allowed to take photos I would go into overdrive!
The building itself is so richly and beautifully made that it is an exhibit in its own right. Photography is allowed in the entrance hall where the photos above and below were taken.
Tigger was keen on going for a bus ride, even though the sky was looking stormy. We took a bus to Arbury and then… took a bus back again!
It seemed good to now take a train back to London and we returned to the station where we soon boarded a service to Liverpool Street. My final photo of the day was this shot of illuminated office towers near Liverpool Street station with the Gherkin peering between them.