The Great Court Run
This yearly, traditional event has been made famous by the 1981 film “Chariots of Fire” and its even more famous soundtrack. It is a race around the Great Court of Trinity College which has to be completed at noon in the 43 seconds the clock takes to strike 12. Depending on the time when the clock was winded for the last time, the strikes can take two seconds more or less.
The original route was 341 metres and included the cobbles as well as all four corners. During the years, the route was softened, reduced to 299 metres and starting at one of the corners. Only three people are believed to have completed the original route within the time limit.
The official race, in which first years students participate, takes place in October. However, from time to time, people try to finish the course throughout the year. As long as you respect the rules within the college (do not enter areas which are forbidden for non-students, don’t wear silly costumes while running, etc.), you are welcome to try it. Be aware that you will need an Olympic speed to complete the original route!
BTW, the “Chariots of Fire” was not filmed at Trinity College, but at Eton College.
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The King Street Run
The King Street Run is not only the name of a famous pub in Cambridge (which was actually named after the event). It is a competition where students try to drink one pint at each pub in King Street within a very short time. Although it has its tradition among first year students and is run bi-anually, also others try to finish the course in a non-official environment. In this, it has similarities to another great Cambridge tradition, the Great Court Run at Trinity College. Everything under one hour is good (and gets an award at the official event), the record is 14 minutes and five seconds.
As of late 2011, there were four pubs at King Street: The Champion of the Thames, The King Street Run, St. Radegund and the Bun Shop. I don’t know how the Bun Shop is like after its refurbishment in early to mid-2011. Some include also D’Arry’s in the list which was a pub centuries ago, but is now a posh restaurant. The other three are all wonderful pubs which are worth a visit even without running.
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A Cambridge Controversy
Have a look at the picture, can you see the way the grass was cut? I hope you can see it.
It looks like part of the lawn was mowed in horizontal stripes, the other part in vertical ones.During the guided walk the tour guide showed us the two different ways, and said the left part was mowed by a gardener from King's College, and the part on the right by a gardener from the university.It seems among the many things you can disagree about there is also the proper way to mow a lawn.
Down at street level, I often saw small nooks or holes with a metal bar in front of them and I had no idea what they were. So I did what any good VTer would do, I asked in the forum. VT members Manara and Tango jd soon told me they were boot scrapers. So it's not the hole which is the important part, but the metal scraper.
From VT member Leics I learned that they were only on old houses, as the usage stopped in Victorian/Edwardian times.
I will look out for them in other towns in England now, I'm sure I'll see some more.
Don't step on the grass!
Some time ago we were watching an episode of the Midsomer Murders, in which the inspector was investigating a death at a private college. When he wanted to use a shortcut across the lawn, he was stopped and told only senior members were allowed to step on the grass. The very same sign can be seen at King's College. And sure enough, we saw a man coming out of a door marked "Private" and walk across the lawn. He must have been a very proud senior member! Actually it would have been shorter to just stay on the path, but then nobody would have known about his privilege.
While we hired a punter, many of the college students will hire the punt and be their own punters. One must be aware of their amateur skills as several that we saw we busily running into walls and other punts rather than making headway down the river.
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The River Cam for much of the year is busy with punts and punters.It's possible to hire one of the boats from various points located along the riverside in the city centre.The punts can take six people.A very pleasant time can be spent in the afternoon punting under the bridges taking in the views of the college and green areas along the Backs.
Just look out for noisy boatfulls of Italian and Spanish teenagers with their nervous looking English teachers trying to hide among them.
Proper or American English? There IS a Difference!
Are you aware that there are considerable differences in "Proper English" and "American English?"
I have spent countless hours compiling a "dictionary" of our English language(s) for your information and amusement.
Here are a few excerpts:
natter: to have a natter is a chat similar to gossip. Although men tend to think only women natter or gossip, and men engage in conversations, I beg to differ. :-)
pavement: UK- (What Americans call the sidewalk)
pavement: USA-(What Brits call Tarmac)
(Confusing because Americans think of Pavement as the Tarmac, NOT the sidewalk!)
loo:the restroom, bathroom, ladie's / men's room, etc. In England, it is also known as the WC (And you will notice motorway signs and wonder possibly... WC?) It is a water closet! (funny to this American! LOL) ;-) Please see the following for a detailed explanation of the reasons for the name "loo." (And a good laugh!)
fag: cigarette (See the following website for a hilarious explanation)
(Links to website are located on my London Local Customs Tips page) :-)
Another example of the differences in our culture ...
Let's just suppose you are an American who walks into an English pub. You overhear some Englishmen talking amongst themselves. One says, " Gray, mate, check out those birds over there!"
Naturally, you look out the window thinking perhaps there is a blue tit out there. (A bird!) ;-)
Eventually, you find out, "Gray" is a shortened version of Graham, and a bird is actually a woman! (LOL)
Please do visit my London Local Customs tips to find out for yourself just how different "English" can be across the pond.
I have included a link for your convenience.
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Globe Ale House
• Globe ale house is a typical English pub, if you are anywhere in England don’t miss the chance to enjoy the real environment of English pub.
There are verities of drink available for to enjoy a nice day.
• It is situated on Hills Road
Cambridge is a very popular destination for tourists and many of them wish to see the great colleges, libraries, etc. Despite all the history around you, try and remember the present too - students live and study in these colleges so if an area is marked private, do respect their privacy!
The Kings College Choir one...
The Kings College Choir
one of the most otstanding choir in the world.
I was so lucky to be able to attend a rehearsal with them at both my visits, and hear them live at the Evensong.
At many times through the...
At many times through the Summer there are concerts held in the parks around the city. While we were there in August 2000 there were a series of Jazz concerts. We spent a very pleasant few hours listening to the music on Jesus Green.
You're bound to run into a familiar face! Here's the statue of Issac Newton in Trinity college. Nearby are Francis Bacon and soemone else - ooh, have forgotten this now.
Punting is a very popular pass-time in Cambridge. However, it is harder than it looks. Be prepared to get wet on your first few attempts!
Like in Oxford, pronunciation of some Cambridge placenames bears little resemblence to spelling. For example, Magdalene is pronounced 'Maud-Lynn'.
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