Riddle of the White Sphinx: A Cambridge Treasure Hunt

The summer holidays are almost upon us and while it’s wonderful to cast aside the daily routine of the school term times, many parents will be thinking about ways to get the kids out and about, engaging with each other and their surroundings rather than staring at screens.  For Cambridge parent Sorrel May, thoughts like these inspired “Riddle of the White Sphinx”, a magical book aimed at 8 – 12 year olds.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Sorrel’s idea started to take shape when she mentioned it to Mark Wells, a friend who had started writing on retirement from his business career.  An alumnus of St John’s College and a Cambridge resident, inspiration struck Mark as he wandered round the Fitzwilliam Museum listening to a commentary through headphones.  What if certain museum artefacts could only speak to children?  He went home, wrote until 3am and sent his words through to Sorrel, whose children loved it.  So Mark kept writing, illustrator Jennifer Bell created rich, evocative images that children can pore over and Fiona Boyd of The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop designed the fantasy alphabet that’s used in the coded message which appears in each illustration.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

To solve the riddle, children need to find seven of the “Hidden”, each of which is in a different Cambridge museum, to free these “Hidden” from the sinister “Keeper of Secrets”.  There’s a Museum Passport in each book … get that stamped in every Museum because the word in each stamp makes a sentence which gives a big clue as to where the ultimate Keeper’s Secret is hidden in the city.  Plus there’s that code to crack and kids can also join the AHA! Club through the website to get advice and extra clues.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Mark has worked with primary schools throughout the writing process.  Careful thought has gone into the book’s design; to help dyslexic readers, the story is printed in Baskerville font on off white paper and the print is not justified on the right hand margin, to avoid any distortion of letters.  Mark has created a literacy pack with lesson plans on reading, illustration and code breaking as well as a teacher guided tour of Cambridge museums.  Schools have been signing up for an author visit and reading plus Q & A sessions.

Mark Wells Cambridge
Image credit: Hidden Tales

Riddle of the White Sphinx launches on Saturday 20 July at Heffers Bookshop.  This family event, which starts at 2pm, will include a treasure hunt round the shop, a reading from Mark, personalised badge making, a drawing workshop and a Q & A session.  Other linked events through the summer include free weekly craft activities at Heffers with special guest appearances from four museums and their collections, a code cracking workshop at the Fitzwilliam Museum and an illustration masterclass from Jennifer Bell.

Hidden Tales Riddle of the White Sphinx
Image credit: Hidden Tales

You can buy the book in Cambridge bookshops and at the museums or order it through the website.  University of Cambridge museums are all free entry whilst the Museum of Cambridge is giving free entry to children who arrive with the book.  I reckon this is a great way to keep children absorbed for hours, working together in an analogue rather than a digital pursuit that gets them out and about in a quest to find the Keeper’s Secret, hidden somewhere in this city.  For more information, details of events and for more of Mark’s story, take a look at these websites.

http://www.hiddentales.co.uk

http://www.marknwells.com

Cambridge Veg Fest

Cambridge Veg Fest is happening from 13 – 21 July with free events and activities across the city, bringing the whole community together to celebrate local and seasonal vegetables.  For Cambridge Sustainable Food, this marks the finale to their year long “Veg Cities” campaign, aimed at inspiring us to eat more vegetables and to reduce our intake of meat and dairy.

Asparagus at Cambridge Market
Bundles of asparagus at Cambridge Market

You’ll find a wealth of veggie based events for all the family, including:

Be an organic farmer for a day!  Help out on a local vegetable farm, learn about growing your own veggies and take home some free produce.

The Mini Mobile Schools Vegetable Garden created by St Paul’s Primary School and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  This will be popping up at various venues around the city.  It’s a vegetable show garden that teaches about vegetable families, crop rotation, composting  and companion planting.

A Geo Cache Veggie Treasure Hunt along the Chisholm Trail.

Foodcycle Community Meals  A free three course vegetarian meal (a vegan option will also be available) created from surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Rock Allotments Open Morning and Abundance Bring and Share  Find out how to get an allotment and grow your own veg.  Bring and share produce, plants and garden tools plus find out more about volunteering in community gardens.

Veg @ The Edge: Pay as you Feel Community Meal  Enjoy a meal made from surplus vegetables at The Edge Cafe, home to Cambridge’s only Community Fridge.

Farmers’ Market and Town Meal Family Day Out  Celebrate the city’s diverse food scene at the Cambridge Museum of Technology.

Tomatoes at Cambridge Market
Tons of tomatoes at Cambridge Market

For full details of all the events at this wonderful celebration of all things veggie, take a look at the website and keep an eye on the Facebook page too.

http://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org

Facebook:  @cambridgefood

 

Castle Hill Open Day Cambridge

Castle Hill Open Day is happening on 13 July with free events led by historians, local experts, artists, musicians and dancers.  There’s something here for all ages as you explore the art, history and heritage of one of the oldest parts of Cambridge.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge

A quick history lesson …. Castle Hill was originally an Iron Age hill fort and subsequently the site of the Roman town of Durolipante.  The Normans built Cambridge Castle there in 1068 but all that remains of it now is grassy Castle Mound, a rare hill in our flat East Anglian landscape!  Climb this and you’ll be rewarded with terrific views of Cambridge.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

The packed programme for this year’s Open Day includes

  • art workshops, talks and music at Kettle’s Yard
  • a rare chance to explore the former Nuclear Bunker behind Shire Hall
  • a tour of the New Hall Art Collection which has over 400 works of art by women artists plus you can pick herbs and make tea in Murray Edwards College Garden
  • a “Museum of Mysteries” trail and a Cabinet of Curiosities family workshop at the Museum of Cambridge
  • an insight into the area’s history through the biographies of 60 people buried at Histon Road Cemetery
  • free themed tours of the Castle Hill area
Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

Food-wise, there’ll be plenty of picnic spots.  The cafes at Kettle’s Yard, the Museum of Cambridge, St Gile’s Church (cream tea, anyone?!) and the Methodist Church will be open.  There’ll be several food trucks, a vegan pop up cafe at Murray Edwards College and an ice cream van.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

You’ll find more information and full details of the Open Day schedule on the Kettle’s Yard website.

http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/openday

 

 

 

Podcast: What’s on in Cambridge – July 2019

I’ve just published a quick podcast, talking about a few of the events you’ll find in my What’s on in July listing.  Have a listen here or search your usual podcast platform for New in Cambridge.

All the links for these events are in the listing and on the podcast but to make life easy, here they are again!

Cambridge Open Studios    http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

Sounds Green    http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

Cambridge Shakespeare Festival    http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com

It’s a busy month in the city and there’s lots going on so do take a look at the full What’s on in July listing for more.

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King’s College, Cambridge

 

What’s on in Cambridge – July 2019

I love summertime in Cambridge.  The May Balls and graduation ceremonies are done now and as the students leave for the summer, the rhythm of the city seems to change.  There’s plenty going on, as you will see from this listing which I’ll update as the month unfurls.

Tomatoes at Cambridge Market
Tons of tomatoes at Cambridge Market

1 – 14th    Strawberries and Screen.  Live screening of BBC coverage from Wimbledon on a giant LED screen between One The Square and The Tamburlaine Hotel.  100 chairs available.  Bring your own picnic or buy from food vans (mainly available at lunchtimes).  http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/lovecambridge

3rd    6.15 – 7.15pm  Sounds Green.  Open air music.  Afro Tema, a danceable mix of Senegalese salsa, furious mbalax, afro-rock and some serious roots reggae style music.  Botanic Garden.  Tickets must be bought in advance online.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

4 – 7th    Independents Week.  Celebrating the independent business community in Cambridge with offers and events.  http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/independents-week-2019

4th    6 – 7.30pm  Open Mic Night for local musicians and poets.  A celebration of music and the spoken word.  Free admission.  Waterstones, Sidney Street.  http://www.waterstones.com/bookshops/cambridge-sidney-str

5 – 7th    The Big Weekend.  Parker’s Piece.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk/city-events/events/big-weekend

6 – 7th    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public.  Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk  Read more about last year’s Open Studios here

6th    10am – 1pm  Family Saturdays: Drawing Plants.  Free event.  Botanic Garden.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

6th    10am – 4pm  Eco Living Festival Cambridge.  Talks, workshops and masterclasses.  Lion Yard Shopping Centre.  http://www.cambridgeecolivingfestival.uk  Read more about Eco Living Festival Cambridge here

6th    2 – 4pm  Family First Saturday.  Activities and art-making on the theme of “caring for our museum”.  Free, drop in event.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

6th    7.30pm  Charity Concert supporting Cambridge Summit on Homelessness.  Mawson Road Community Orchestra with classical pieces, a cappella from “Sound Scribblers” and traditional music from Greece, Russia, Romania, Macedonia, Scotland and Ireland plus an Auction of Promises.  Tickets on the door.  St Paul’s Church, Hills Road.  http://www.mrco-cambridge.org.uk

8th onwards   Cambridge Shakespeare Festival.  Productions performed in College gardens, in full period costume and with live Elizabethan music.  http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com  Read more about last year’s Cambridge Shakespeare Festival here

9th    7.30 – 9pm  Talk: Swimming in Cambridge.  Mill Road History Society.  Ross Street Community Centre, CB1.  http://www.millroadhistory.org.uk/events

10th    6.15 – 7.15pm  Sounds Green.  Open air music.  Martin Kemp’s Organised Chaos.  Swing and jazz standards from 1930s to present.  Botanic Garden.  Tickets must be bought in advance online.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

11th    7.30pm  Alex Hitchcock Quintet.  CUC Wine Bar, Granta Place.  http://www.cambridgejazz.org

13 – 14th    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public.  Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk  Read more about last year’s Open Studios here

13 – 21st    Cambridge Veg Fest.  A city-wide celebration of local and seasonal vegetables, bringing people together to grow, cook, eat and enjoy delicious veg.  http://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org

13 – 27th    Cambridge Summer Music Festival.  Live classical music, focusing this year on music by women composers and music by – and inspired by – J S Bach.   www.cambridgesummermusic.com

13th    12 – 5pm  Castle Hill Open Day 2019.  Art, music, history, tours, talks and food.  Free event.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/events/castle-hill-2019

13th    4.30pm (child friendly) and 7.30pm  Music for a summer’s evening.  Fairhaven Singers.  Strawberries and sparkling wine (included in ticket price) will be served on the banks of the Cam during the interval of the evening performance.  Queens’ College Chapel.  http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk

14th    11am and 2pm  Science on Sundays: Stop and smell the … pollination!  Free, informal 30 minute drop in plant science talk.  Botanic Garden.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

15 – 17th    10am – 5pm  Visitor Centre Open Days and Launch of Museum on a Bike.  David Parr House, 184 Gwydir Street.  Facebook: @davidparrhouse  Read more about David Parr House here

17th    6.15 – 7.15pm  Sounds Green.  Open air music.  Truly Medley Deeply.  A hybrid of live band, DJ and jukebox producing a huge sound from Motown classics to stadium rock.  Botanic Garden.  Tickets must be bought in advance online.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

20 – 21st    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public.  Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk  Read more about last year’s Open Studios here

21st    9am – 2pm  Mill Road Summer Car Boot Sale.  Gwydir Street Car Park.

21st   12 – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

21st    3 – 5pm  Jazz and Brass in the Parks.  Soham Comrades.  Nightingale Rec.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk

24th    6.15 – 7.15pm  Sounds Green.  Open air music.  Noga Ritter.  Singer-songwriter and band performing Afro grooves and jazz.  Botanic Garden.  Tickets must be bought in advance online.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

25th    6pm  Summer Night Market and Open Air Cinema (Incredible 2/The School of Rock).  Market Square.  Free event.  http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/open-air-cinema-night-market

27 – 28th    11am – 6pm  Cambridge Open Studios.  Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public.  Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture.  http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk  Read more about last year’s Open Studios here

31st    6.15 – 7.15pm  Sounds Green.  Open air music.  Singer-pianist Ruth Applin with the Josh Kemp Quartet playing classic jazz, blues and bossa nova.  Botanic Garden.  Tickets must be bought in advance online.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

Sweet peas on my desk
Sweet peas from the garden on my desk

Podcast: Eco Living and Zero Waste in Cambridge

I’ve made another podcast!  In this episode, I chat to some of the people who are at the forefront of the eco living and zero waste movements in Cambridge and who have lots of ideas to help us tread a little more lightly on this planet.   Just search for New in Cambridge on Spotify or your favourite podcast platform.

The podcast chats are necessarily quite brief so to find out more, take a look at my guests’ websites:

Full Circle Shop    http://www.fullcircleshop.co.uk

Cambridge Food Hub    http://www.cambridgefoodhub.org

Cambridge Cookery School and Cafe    http://www.cambridgecookery.com

Eco Living Festival Cambridge    http://www.cambridgeecolivingfestival.uk

My thanks to Johanna, Alice and Tine for giving their time to make this podcast.

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King’s College, Cambridge

Eco Living Festival Cambridge

Eco Living Festival Cambridge returns to Lion Yard Shopping Centre on 6 July with a pop up Eco Lifestyle Advice Centre where there’ll be talks, workshops and masterclasses aimed at helping us make simple, practical choices and changes to create a lower impact on the planet and to achieve a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Eco Living Festival Cambridge logo
Image credit: Eco Living Festival Cambridge

Festival Founder, Caroline-Shaheera Asante, spent her early childhood at her grandparents’ pineapple plantation in Guyana, growing up just naturally living a sustainable and zero waste lifestyle.  Post university in Canada, Caroline built a TV and radio career at the BBC but a trip to the Caribbean for a family reunion in 2014 was to change her path.

Caroline Shaheera Asante
Image credit: Shane Asante-O’Neill

Stunned by the evidence of climate change in action, by the coastal erosion, the destruction of mangrove forests and the amount of plastic debris on the beaches, Caroline returned home and took an MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Science at Anglia Ruskin University here in Cambridge.  Caroline started to work on the idea of creating an Eco Living Festival so when David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 natural history series, screened in 2017, brought the conversation about plastic pollution to the fore and spurred a zero waste movement around the world, she went ahead with the first Festival in September last year.  The success of this inaugural event has led to Lion Yard Shopping Centre once again providing retail space for the pop up and to the involvement of new supporters, including Anglian Water.

Eco Bricks
Eco Bricks  Image credit:  Tina McGrane

This year’s Eco Living Festival theme is “How to Achieve a Low-Impact or Zero Waste Lifestyle @Home – Bathroom and Kitchen Eco-Hack.”  Eco beauty workshops include making your own fresh cleansers and kids’ bath bombs with Lush and there’ll be talks on simple product swaps you can make to prevent environmental pollution.  See how crisp packets, sweet wrappers and garden compost bags can be turned into Eco Bricks and learn vintage zero waste kitchen skills as you make food wrap, cleaning products and other household essentials the way our grandparents used to.  All the events are free, some are drop-in and some need pre-registration.

Wave of Waste Dress - Linda Eco Design
Wave of Waste Dress  Image credit: Linda Eco Design

In what promises to be a very eye catching display on the upper atrium of Lion Yard Shopping Centre, eco fashion designer Linda Thomas will create the Ocean Waste Dresses Installation featuring four dresses made from waste found in the sea and along the shoreline, including surf bodyboards and old “ghost” fishing nets.

To read more about Eco Living Festival Cambridge and to make bookings, take a look at the website.

http://www.cambridgeecolivingfestival.uk