Cambridge Days

Of Pimm’s, Punts, and Pembroke.

There’s a correlation between sunny weather and Pimm’s consumption, in these parts. Or maybe it’s causality.

I’d never heard of Pimm’s before landing in Cambridge. And based on my fall and winter, here, I’d similarly presumed that the locals didn’t understand what good, sunny weather was.

Turns out the sun does sometimes shine in the British Isles (every second Saturday in June, 11am to 3pm, weather permitting) and so it was that last weekend, Azure, Alanna, and I found ourselves reaching for the sunscreen. And then the Pimm’s.  It’s a gin-based liquer, which is mixed with lemonade and mint and cucumber and various fruit slices. It’s quintessentially English, I’m told, supposedly a standard hydration method at cricket matches and polo fields, and I readily admit: it’s good.

More elegant than a mint julep, and less labor-intensive than a Mojito, Pimm’s No. 1 definitely ranks as one of the best summertime refreshments I’ve had the pleasure to quaff. (Especially when the alternative is warm beer.)

And while I joke about the sun, the weather has truly turned toward the beautiful, I think, and it’s been a blast. We’ve been cycling/punting/strolling to the outskirts of town, almost daily, then coming home in the evenings to watch the frogs in our neighbor’s garden, or spy on the hedgehog in our own.

Plus, there’s been a swirl of events – this week, the Queen visited the Fitzwilliam Museum, across the street from the Judge, which interrupted a class or two. The same night, Azure and I attended formal hall at Pembroke with two other MBAs; it was in the middle of exams, so it turned out that we four were the only diners, apart from High Table.

That particular dinner will stand as one of the most memorable events from my time at Cambridge: the three long tables of Pembroke’s hall all barren, except for one, with a single candlestick and four plates at the end. All the routine, of course, stayed unbroken; there was still a ringing gong and grace in Latin, the standing, and bowing… whether for four or four hundred, certain things never change, here.

Oh, and yeah, it was ‘Mexican Theme Night’, so then they served us fajitas. Hah!

And school? (School?) Ah, school is still in session, but barely – my classroom time all but finished, concluding with a case study on Ben & Jerrys’ strategic alliances in Japan. My attention has already turned to the individual project over summer; more on that, later. (There are projects, and then there are, well, other big things…)

We had a slew of great speakers in the last few weeks – Tom Glocer, CEO of Reuters, got my vote for being the best of ’em. He managed to mention RSS, the ‘blogosphere’, and Gawker in a single sentence, which scored big points in my book. Honorable mention goes to Lois Jacobs, president of Jack Morton, which has got to be the highest-profile company whose name I’d never heard – they quietly produce ‘experiental marketing events’. Sounds cute and fuzzy until you find out they’re the crew which produced and managed the opening ceremony at Athens 2004, the Hong Kong handover in ’97, and a buncha other ceremonial stuff you’d never think was ‘outsourced’. Suffice to say, Ms. Jacobs’ Powerpoint presentation was slick; by the end, I was bracing myself for a pyrotechnically-enhanced finale.

Maybe that’s a feature in the next version of MS Office?

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