From my diary – Cambridge

Sunshine this morning, so I clambered into my car and drove up the A14 to Cambridge.  Only one broken down lorry at Sproughton to delay traffic – police coned off one lane, causing tailbacks.  More noticeable is the atrocious state of the roads, worn threadbare and rutted with lack of maintenance.  I drive on past Cambridge to the M11 junction, drop down towards London two junctions, and come off with the tower of the University Library in sight.  Then a drive through fields, then along a leafy road or two between agreeable large houses of the early twentieth century, down to West Road and into the car park where I even manage to find a space.  Normally I have to park by the side of the road!

Into the library, swiping my card as I go to operate the turnstyle.  Up to the catalogue room, and a search for Le Monde Copte sends me to South Wing Floor 3.  A look at the article tells me that it is of little interest.  Down to the machine room on the ground floor to look for Bishop Samuel al Suryani’s edition or translation of Abu Makarim; in vain.  The Newton catalogue behaves erratically, as ever, refusing to give results that I know it has.  But I do find an entry for “Tawaḍrūs, Ṣamūʾīl, 1911-” as author of a “Guide to ancient Coptic churches & monasteries in Upper Egypt / by Samuel al Syriany, Badii Habib”, 1990.  Seems to be Arabic language, tho.

The university library building is well designed, built of brick and obviously intended to resemble an Italian palazzo, or so the architects model in the foyer indicates.  I suspect the university was less impressed by the somewhat forbidding appearance that they actually got.  Gothic is the only style that looks good in the rain, in my experience.

I still have a bunch of books rejected in Oxford in the boot of my car.  I wonder if Oxfam in Cambridge will take them and find homes for them?  But it is quite a way from the library on foot into town!


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