Toby had some work to do in the library at Cambridge University, so we drove over to the east last Sunday and spent three nights in a little village called Heydon, in a converted barn. The B&B looked like something straight out of a fairy tale:
And our little barn was very comfortable, too:
We caught up with our friends John and Rosemary, who live near Cambridge, for an early Christmas lunch at Wimpole Hall on Monday. And that afternoon we went into Grantchester to look around:
The village of Grantchester was imortalised in the poem by Rupert Brooke, ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’, and Brooke’s statue stands outside the Old Vicarage, which is now owned by Lord Jeffrey Archer. The poem was written in 1912, when Brooke was in Berlin and it describes his longing for England and the village. Brooke was killed in World War 1 at the age of 27.
I tried to photograph the scenes mentioned in the poem. The moon photo isn’t mine, but it is too beautiful to miss out, and the woodcut is by Gwen Ravarat, a grand-daughter of Charles Darwin. The other photos are mine.
from: The Old Vicarage, Grantchester
(Café des Westens, Berlin, May 1912)
Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester!
To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten
River-smell, and hear the breeze
Sobbing in the little trees.
Say, do the elm-clumps greatly stand
Still guardians of that holy land?
The chestnuts shade, in reverend dream,
The yet unacademic stream?
Is dawn a secret shy and cold
And sunset still a golden sea
From Haslingfield to Madingley?
And after, ere the night is born,
Do hares come out about the corn?
Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain?… oh! yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?