Monday evening. I’d left Mum and Dad watching Emmerdale (a farming soap without farmers) for an hour to see what Cambridge was like before the weekend surge.
The circular route took me back to the station from the Elm Tree,
and over Parker’s Piece, home to the invention of the rules of football (US : soccccccer) and the Jack Hobbs pavilion. Here you can see the actual cricket stumps from when Hobbs scored 344 against Corinthian Casuals here.
Where are all the students ? Parker’s Piece is normally the best place to get knocked over by cyclists or joggers in Cambridge.
Most of the young folk seem to be in the courtyard of the Prince Regent Hotel (it was 12 degrees),
a bar I haven’t been in since Greene King IPA was last trendy in (checks spreadsheet) 1988.
Back then, our post-work crowd of accountants would often spend evenings on the Piece eating kebabs and singing along to nu-folk classics from the Waterboys.
The next train left Cambridge at 20:38. It was 20:18, and would take me 15 minutes to the station. A quick half then. I stood patiently at the handpumps, coins in hand, deciding whether Abbot, “house beer” or the Tiny Rebel was the obvious choice.
Sadly, I never got served, because as a Fat Old Bloke of 57 in a “Young Person’s” pub I am officially invisible, and a young beardie walking to the bar (it wasn’t busy) got served before me with a “Same again ?“.
On Mumsnet at the moment a lady called Chocolattay recalls a time when she was ignored for an hour because she was a woman eating alone.
She should try being an old bloke at the bar. I walked out immediately, hiding my huff.
As I walked down Station Road, admiring the new office blocks that have replaced the pubs round here, something hard fell on my ear* from the tree above.
“Ouch !” I said. Simon would have stopped to take a photo of the object or adopted it as their next mascot; I just needed a beer in the station pub.
At the bar, two ladies perched on stools either side of the pumps, even though Chocolattay had just said on Mumsnet that Women Don’t Eat Out Or Go To Pubs Alone.
The Ticket Office staff are nice; they noticed me and said “Anything else, Bro” which is the first time I’ve been called “Bro” in a pub since 2018.
It’s a decent station bar, better seating than the Piccadilly Tap but without the noise, and without much Monday trade.
A cool, rich Night Porter (3.5) from local Brew Board and some angry indie to suit my mood.
And an electronic scoreboard that showed I was about to miss my train unless I sank that half and scooted in the same movement.
Never in doubt.
*Later that evening, whatever had fallen on my head appeared to still be in my hair. I don’t know what it was and don’t wish to find out, thanks.