Yesterday, we travelled to Cambridge. Going there always makes me feel as though I was being bestowed some kind of honour. Like Oxford, Cambridge doesn’t so much pretend to be a cut above anywhere else in the kingdom as know that it is. I’m glad, however, to discover that it’s no more above a bit of marketing skulduggery than anywhere else: we went principally to visit an exhibition entitled ‘Vermeer’s Women’ at the Fitzwilliam Museum, which actually contained just four Vermeers (out of about 40 paintings). I suppose a title such as ‘wonderful paintings of women by Vermeer’s contemporaries and compatriots, with a smattering of canvasses by the master himself to act as a hook to get you in’ would probably not have been quite as seductive. As well as being less easy to say.
|The Lacemaker: one of only four Vermeers, |
but a great show anyway
There was a wonderful notice in the café of the museum, calling on us not to try to reserve tables while we were at the counter buying our drinks. This, it told us, was because of the ‘high level’ of visitors. Like I said, this was Cambridge and it was an honour for mere mortals just to be there: it had raised us to a higher level, which is so much more flattering than merely being counted among some high numbers.
|In Cambridge one moves among higher beings|
In any case, we decided that we were a French group and celebrated Gallic tradition by ignoring the injunction.
Later on, we crossed the road and had dinner in a fish restaurant. As we emerged I saw another sign, proclaiming the restaurant’s commitment to protecting ‘all forms of marine life.’
|If that's protection, who needs predators?|
If that’s what they call protection, I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of their aggression.