As I briefly announced at the time, I arrived in my new flat on Saturday. On Sunday morning I set off along the canal to go to a retail park where, I hoped, I would be able to buy an ethernet cable at a reasonable price. I could have caught the train, but it seemed a bit daft since I would get there as soon by walking as I would by waiting for the next train – and indeed I arrived at the same moment as the train did. I was glad to have walked, because it was a nice sunny day and on the way I spotted a family of geese!
I went into the enormous supermarket and stocked up on various things I’d forgotten to buy from the Co-op, like cleaning products and deodorant, but sadly no ethernet cables. So I headed over to PC World, which turned out not to open for another twenty minutes. I spent those twenty minutes browsing a clothes shop and looking at cushions in a homewares shop, and then wandered into the enormous PC World warehouse. Three shop assistants immediately bore down to see what I wanted, and one of them led me off triumphantly to their vast array of cables. Unsurprisingly he showed me the expensive ones first. Also unsurprisingly, even the cheapest was 20 times as much as I was prepared to pay (you can get ethernet cables for £1 on the internet, although that does have the disadvantage of having to wait for delivery). So I decided not to bother.
Next I went into Homebase and wandered round looking at various things I didn’t need, and picked up another set of bedding (better quality this time) and some mattress and pillow protectors. I did ask if they had any ethernet cables, and they thought they did have, but alas they did not. The same was true in the supermarket – the shop assistant I asked was sure they used to stock them, but not any more. I guess that’s what happens when a specialist, over-priced computer store opens: everywhere else stops selling things more cheaply because people flock to the fancy specialist shop. Capitalism, hurrah.
Anyway, I decided I’d spent enough money so I walked back home again. The goslings had disappeared but I saw several canal boats and a large number of runners. The journey back seemed a lot quicker for some reason.
In the afternoon I decided more exploring was in order, and headed out to investigate the various local parks I had spotted on Google maps. There’s a lot of green space within walking distance of my flat, which is wonderful. I did a large loop which took me through the nearest park, along a couple of roads and into another park, where I met a friendly dog and his person. Then I meandered back home again to put a pasta bake in the oven and watch an episode of NCIS, only occasionally interrupted by the wifi cutting out. There was just enough time to eat some of the pasta bake before I needed to leave in order to be on time to evensong at the parish church. There weren’t many people there, but it was a nice service using the same service books as my college chapel, so it felt familiar, and we sang three hymns, two of which I knew and one I picked up. I chatted to the priest afterwards, who was a young woman who must be within ten years of my age, and who trained for ordination in Cambridge so knows some of my friends! I hadn’t realised I was feeling a bit lonely until I spoke to her. She invited me to a film and takeaway night later this week, but unfortunately I won’t be here then.
The church is in an area I’d explored a little when I came to view the flat the first time, but I went on another wander around to see whether it felt different now that I lived here. I took some more photos (which I won’t share as they would identify the city I’m living in – if you’ve noticed my cageyness on this issue, please forgive me. I’m trying to comply with the NMC guidelines by not publicising where I’ll be studying for my midwifery degree) and then headed to yet another park. There was a family taking advantage of the warm evening in the children’s play area, and several groups of people on bikes. I walked through the park and out the other side, and on a whim struck off down a random street that looked interesting.
Before long I came to a gateway with the gate removed. It looked like the sort of gate that you would have in a private garden, but there was a very public-right-of-way style bollard on the other side so I took a gamble and went through it. A few paces along the path and I realised I was on my way to yet ANOTHER park. This one has a large pond and several benches, so I sat for a while enjoying the sunshine and the view. Finally the evening cooled enough to drive me back home again with my sore and blistered feet.
Today I have done a little less walking, but I’ve still had a fairly good exploration of the area. I took some revision to the local library, which is in the next village but not too far away. I couldn’t join the library because I didn’t have any proof of address but I’ll go back next week with my tenancy agreement. Then I set off down the main street to see what kind of shops there were, and ended up pricing up a couple of bookshelves and buying a bathmat and a hanger for air-drying laundry from a catalogue surplus store. The woman in the shop was very friendly and they had a good selection of things, so I think I’ll go back there next time I realise I’ve failed to buy something essential. I have a suspicion that the next thing on the list will be a bin, since the one that came with the flat barely fits in a carrier-bag worth of rubbish.
Instead of going home via the route I knew, I carried on up the street with a vague idea that eventually it would end up somewhere I recognised. Once more I turned onto a street purely on a whim, and followed my nose walking towards places that looked interesting until I wound up back in one of the parks I’d visited yesterday. I felt a bit smug that I’d managed to navigate my way back – I’m pleased to have got my bearings so quickly, since I spent quite some time after arriving in Cambridge travelling along linear routes, which sometimes meant I tripled my journey unnecessarily.
This evening I will do a bit more revision, hopefully without too much television noise from downstairs to disturb me, and then pack up the few things I need to take back with me. I’ve got my very last exam tomorrow, and then I will no longer be a Finalist but a Graduand! How exciting. And in a little more than a week I’ll be back here, to register with the library, buy a bookshelf and start exploring the city centre.