Friday, 4 February 2011


I have moved house six times in the last eleven years:
  • Waterbeach
  • Fen Ditton
  • The walk
  • Great Shelford
  • Romsey
  • North Baddesley
Sencan has made a similar number of moves. I have counted the walk as just one move, as we slept in different places most nights. If they were counted separately then it would easily add 250 to 300 onto the total ;-)

Now for the news: as you may have guessed, we are moving once more. Sencan has a new job, so we will be upping sticks in the next few weeks and moving everything back up to Cambridgeshire. Fortunately we have not unpacked many of our boxes from the last move.

It would be nice to have a little stability...

I will leave Southampton with more than a little regret. It is a wonderful area for walking, with the New Forest, South Downs, Salisbury Plain, the Dorset Coast and the Isle of Wight all within an easy drive. I love Cambridge, but the area around it is rather devoid of interesting walks (or at least I have done most of them already).

We went up to Cambridge a couple of weeks ago, and whilst Sencan was at her interview I went for a short walk in the rain from Bottisham Lock. It was muddy, wet and miserable, but I realised how much I miss the Cam. On many a sunny Sunday afternoon my then-girlfriend and I would lay a picnic basket on a blanket by the lock. We would scoff our food as we watched all the inexperienced boaters trying to use the lock. Halcyon days.

The training walks after my last operation were along the Cam between Waterbeach and Ely, an easy walk that I could do on a Sunday morning in time to catch the train back to watch a Grand Prix. Those solitary walks gave me a love for the black horizons of the Fens.

So what are the advantages of Cambridge? Well, we will be able to resume our love of Sunday breakfast scones at the Orchard, an enjoyable experience that adds inches onto our waistlines. I will enjoy the bookshops, although I noticed with shock on my last visit that Galloway and Porter has closed - a sad loss. It will be good to be near the theatres of Cambridge (the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton only ever does musicals). I will also be an hour nearer my parents, and within a reasonable drive of the Peak District. Proximity will allow me to increase my ire about the farce of the guided bus. I will be able to go for a sloppy burger in Gardenias. I will be nearer the Viking chip shop on Milton Road, whose workers I had chatted up so they would give me extra-large portions.

What are the disadvantages? Well, the walking is far less varied than in the Romsey area, and I have to travel a long way to get any hills. I have previously lived in Cambridge for over ten years on and off, and the area offers little new to me. I will miss being within a ten-minute drive of the sea (well, Southampton Water at least). I will miss Romsey, a quintessential English market town. I will miss the people and the vibrancy of the local life. I will miss the ease of driving and parking in Southampton, which makes Cambridge feel oppressive in comparison. I will miss the local chippie, whose workers I had chatted up so they would give me extra-large portions...

As life changes, some things remain constant. My quest for the perfect fish and chips is one such thing.


Tim Donell said...

Well you have added to my interest of the area I live in by being here! New paths opened up to my travels! Enjoy Cambridge!

David Cotton said...

Hi Tim,

Many thanks for your kind comments. There should be a fair few more walks going live on the website in the next few days, all in the Hampshire / Dorset area.