Cambridge with Bob

DSC_1531To say that I have a very special friendship with my supervisor is an understatement that any of my friends will understand. Bob’s intervention into my academic life back in 2009 has changed my life. I wrote about it here if you’d like to read about it: https://mayhen.ca/2012/04/01/ready-world/comment-page-1/

DSC_1541When I found out I was going to be presenting at Exeter and that he would be at Cambridge we began dreaming and planning to meet up in the UK. Both of us had been looking forward to this day for a while. I imagined us riding our bicycles along the canals and tree lined streets and sipping tea underneath the big orchards in the late summer breeze. And here I am in Cambridge with Bob and it has exceeded every dream and expectation I would have had of my experience here.

DSC_1520Bob picked me up from the train station and checked me into my own studio he had arranged for through his college. The studio I am staying in is where visiting fellows come to stay. I imagined the hundreds of academics who’ve stayed in this huge apartment (okay, it’s 400sqft but that’s huge coming from dorms) and hoped the remnants of their genius particles would permeate into my brain. I can use all the help I can get ;). Bob took me to his college where he is studying in the archives as a nuclear historian and we got to cross the ‘private’ lines where I got to see where him and others have toiled for years and years on researching complex problems in history

Having a personal historian– one who is your close personal friend — while cycling through the city was a complete luxury. Bob has been a visiting fellow here in the past and so he took me on several tours of the buildings, the spaces and the secret places where the stories of scientists came alive through his tales. He showed me where he used to stay, where he used to work and the pathways around the city. I loved every minute of it. It’s not often you get to travel across the world with your supervisor and get such an close and personal experience with them. He and I had met up in Montreal a few years ago for coffee at one of the famous markets, Jean Talon, and we are very lucky to have the opportunity to meet again in another part of the world.

Today we cycled through to the Grantchester Orchards famous for its alumni such as Keynes and Woolf who would sit and sip tea under the apple orchards. We had come at a perfect time in the morning and had almost the entire space to ourselves. The apples are a month shy of being ripe but the trees were absolutely brimming with delicious red and green apples of all varieties. We spent hours chatting about my life, school, the future and famous people who have created their imprint on the world at this very spot. Bob charms me through and through and I’ll never forget this experience of Cambridge the way it was presented to me, through the eyes of Bob. It has a very special place in my heart now and I’m sad the day has ended here.

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