Bank Holiday Monday, or New Year’s Day (observed) as my diary would have it if I’d bothered to buy a diary as I have done every year for 45 years but what’s the point now ?

A visit to my parents (they’re fine, NPSS 4), and a meet-up with 3 of my favourite Germans at the Giggling Squid in central Cambridge. A chance for Mrs RM to compare upmarket Thai restaurants, and perhaps Cosmopolitans. I really should market retiredmartin.com as a lifestyle blog #YOLO #besties #Cocktails etc. etc.

Having stayed at the Premier Inn just off the A14 the week before we shifted our £39 of custom to the almost identical Travelodge in Orchard Park, a modern housing estate whose only positive feature is that it provides a lightning getaway from Cambridge in the morning.

And a stop for the guided bus into town as Mrs RM didn’t fancy the 50 minute walk.

£4.50 !

Ten minutes later we jumped off at the Round Church, with 20 minutes till tea.

Cambridge was deserted, bereft of the Japanese and Chinese visitors that give the city life, and with the locals all avoiding the ‘rona the pubs looked very sad.

There’s hardly any GBG pubs in the centre anyway, the boozers like the one below being converted into chain burger joints.

Oh, well, there’s always Pint Shop, the upmarket craft bar for folk who find chalk boards cutting edge and think nothing of paying a fiver for a scotch egg.

I thought the beer range a little dull, but on closer inspection there’s a Polly there, and a Verdant, and the No. 7 (you MUST order by number) was tasty but over-chilled. Shoulda had the keg version.

We met up with our all-German friends, obviously they were on time, and had a meal I can only describe as “OK” at the Giggling Squid. Some wonderful staff gave us a long list of the items that were out of stock which seemed longer than the actual menu.

Still, we had a great chat about German Chancellors, and the place itself (it was Jamie’s) is gorgeous.

It was the only place we saw in town with decent trade.

At the start of the pandemic I came into Cambridge and was struck by the beauty in the emptiness.

Today I just felt sad. Even sadder when the 20:55 failed to show due to, y’know Covid, and we had to walk the 2 miles back to the Travelodge, waving to the Castle as last orders were called.

But the very next day I was out again, and things looked up almost immediately.


  1. We are getting a Giggling Squid in Maidstone (although it has to be said the “coming soon “sign has been up for quite a long time 0.It is replacing an Ask which never really took off

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After two years things that were initially “okay” have definitely turned bad. Hard to see an end any time soon either. Our city looks like that many times when I walk.


    1. Yes, Halifax seemed lively enough this afternoon. Mrs. E. and I looked in at the Meandering Bear, the sister pub to the Grayston Unity, and all seats were taken.

      She found the Chocolate Safari stout to her liking, though we were about the only customers without sporadic hacking coughs.

      It’s the Old Abnormal – or whatever it is that folk say.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That Town & Gown wasn’t there back in the day. Looks adjacent to the Arts Cinema where we saw Betty Blue, Mona Lisa etc. That Burger place, was it the Red Cow or something?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was McMullen’s Bar Baroosh for quite a while, and still notionally a McMullens pub. Looks quite good to me.

      Did Betty Blue play her hits or had she gone all Prog by then ?


  4. It was busy in Lerwick today, shops and pubs. By the way, the rather lovely Fjara cafe bar where I had lunch has replaced Moretti with Tennent’s, leaving the Dowry as the only place where you can’t get Glasgow’s finest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t know if this is a current menu for Fjara’s big breakfast

      Two Pork & Leek Sausages, Two Rashers of Bacon, Saussermeat, Black Pudding,
      Mushrooms, Hash Brown, Baked Beans, Tomato, Egg of your choice & Toast.

      but saussermeat looks good to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, that’ll be it. Sassermaet (proper spelling) is like Lorne sausage only spicier when made properly. Every butcher has his own recipe. It’s very fatty, so better grilled (heresy in Scotland). Never had it deep fried, although that’s available.

        Liked by 1 person

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