What’s on in Cambridge – December 2019

So just like that, December is here … the city is looking even more gorgeous than usual with lights twinkling and decorations everywhere.  Read on for details of all types of Christmas music and services, shopping events where you’ll find those perfect handmade presents, seasonal celebrations and activities in our wonderful museums and much more.  I’ll update this listing through the month so do check back and please get in touch if you’d like me to include your event.

The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie
Christmassy vibes at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

1st    12 noon – 4pm  Museum Shop Sunday.  Stalls from local suppliers including jewellery, glasswork and pottery.  Mulled wine and mince pies.  Free, drop in.  Museum of Cambridge, Castle Street.  http://www.museumofcambridge.org.uk

1st    12 noon – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Practical art making workshops, no experience necessary.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

1st    1.15 – 2pm  Cambridge University Instrumental Award Holders – a performance by the very best undergraduate chamber musicians.  Free.  Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

1st    6.30pm  Winter Cabaret.  A seasonal mix of jazzy, sassy, jingly and soulful songs and music from The Lucy Cavendish Singers.  Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington.  http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk

4th    5 – 8pm  Rowan’s Winter Warmer.  A festive evening where you can buy handmade gifts and cards, commission artwork and get involved in Christmas workshops.  Live music, mulled wine and mince pies.  Free entry.  Rowan, 140 Humberstone Road, CB4 http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk

5th    6.30pm  Murder under the Mistletoe.  Heffers’ Christmas Crime Party.  Festive drinks, book buying and readings from crime authors.  10% off purchases on the evening.  Heffers, Trinity Street.  http://www.heffersbookshop.eventbrite.com

6th    7.30pm  A Jazz Suite for Christmas.  Tim Boniface and Polly Gibbons.  St. Paul’s, Hills Road.  http://www.stpaulsartsfest.org

6th    7.30pm  Michaelmas Concert: A Musical Selection Box, to include Tchaikovsky and Gershwin.  The University of Cambridge Concert Band.  St Giles’ Church, CB3.  Tickets on the door.

7th    8.50 – 10.30am  Mill Road History Walk with Cambridge Green Badge Guides.  Meet at the Romsey R on Cavendish Road.  http://www.millroadhistory.org.uk

7th    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday.  Get festive and make all sorts of Christmas decorations using natural materials.  Free.  Botanic Garden, Brookside.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

7th    10.30am – 4.30pm  Mill Road Winter Fair.  Live music, local crafts, art, entertainment, food.  Mill Road.  FB Mill Road Winter Fair 2019

7th    11.30am  Bridging Binaries: LGBTQ+ Tour.  Explore the spectrum of identities that exist across time, place and culture in Cambridge collections.   Free.  Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

7th    1 – 1.30pm  Come and Sing Carols.  An informal, friendly “come and sing” carolling session for shoppers, friends and visitors.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade

7th    2 – 4pm  Family First Saturday.  Activities and art making on the theme of festive fun.  Free, drop in.  Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

7th    4 – 5pm  Blue Christmas.  A service of jazz and prayer for everyone who doesn’t find the holidays so happy.  Michaelhouse Chapel, Trinity Street

7th    7pm  Messiah by Candlelight.  Eboracum Baroque.  A charity concert in aid of Cancer Research.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade.  http://www.eboracumbaroque.co.uk

8th    7.30pm  Christmas Orchestral and Choral Concert.  Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Czech Christmas music.  The Academy of Great St Mary’s.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade.  http://www.adcticketing.com

8th    7.30pm  A Christmas Concert by The King’s Men Cambridge.  Trumpington Parish Church, Grantchester Road, CB2.  http://www.the-kings-men-trumpington.eventbrite.co.uk

8th    7.30pm  Messiah.  Choir of Clare College with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.  Trinity College Chapel.  http://www.adcticketing.com

9th    7.45pm  Brokenness, compassion and identity in rehabilitation after brain injury.  Speaker: Dr Andrew Bateman.  Part of the Science meets Faith series.  Free admission, retiring collection.  Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces

12th    7.30pm  Music for an English Advent: Gabriel’s Message.  Carols and estampies from medieval England.  Mediva Ensemble.  Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Trumpington Street.  http://www.CambridgeEarlyMusic.org

12th    8pm  A Winter Union.  Five leading lights of the British roots scene present an evening of seasonal songs, new and old.  Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk

13th    7.30pm – 2.30am  Reach Up Disco Wonderland with DJ Andy Smith and XL Records founder Nick Halkes.  2648 Bar, Trinity Street.  https://skdl.co/kFnLqa45X0

13 – 14th    7.30pm  A Christmas Carol.  Adapted and performed by Martin Prest in a one man show.  The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road.  Wrap up warm as the Chapel can be cold!  http://www.adcticketing.com

14th    10.30 – 11.15am  Sharing Stories.  Stories from around the world told, read and sung.  Free, drop in.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk

14th    3 – 3.30pm amd 4 – 4.30pm  Michaelhouse Candlelit Carols.  Come and sing traditional Christmas carols in the candlelit chapel.  Michaelhouse Chapel, Trinity Street

14th    6 – 11pm  Cambridge African Network Christmas Party.  Food, Santa Claus, music and dancing.  Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington.  http://www.cambridgeafricannetwork.org

15th    10am – 4pm  Victorian Christmas Celebration.  Family friendly Victorian Christmas day with craft activities, music, mince pies and more.  Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane.  http://www.museumoftechnology.com

15th    6.30 – 8pm  Carols by Candlelight, accompanied by Cottenham Brass Band.  Hosted by Cambridge Past, Present and Future.  The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road.  Free event, donations appreciated.  http://www.cambridgeppf.org

15th    8pm  Music for Advent and Christmas.  Josquin, Howells and carols for audience participation.  Fairhaven Singers.  Trinity College Chapel.  http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk

18th    1.15 – 2pm  The Food of Christmas Past.  A talk with Ivan Day, Feast & Fast food historian.  Free.  Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

19th    7 – 9pm  Mindfulness around a Campfire – Winter Solstice celebration.  Guided meditations, reflections, discussions, poetry, games and toasty pre Christmas treats around a campfire.  Milton Country Park, CB24.  Tickets from clairethompson@mindfulness-of-nature.com

19th    7.30 – 10pm  Light Up EACH Life Cambridge Concert.  We Are Sound and Evelyn Glennie perform a selection of uplifting songs in celebration of the children and families cared for at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade.  http://www.each.org.uk

20th    10.30am – 12.30pm  GPS Christmas Treasure Hunt.  Track down some special Christmas plants growing in the garden.  A family activity.  Booking essential.  Botanic Garden, Brookside.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

20th   7.30pm  Celebrate Christmas with John Rutter and Bach Choir Voices.  Traditional carols and works by John Rutter.  Our Lady and the English Martyrs Catholic Church, Hills Road  http://www.cambridgesummermusic.com

22nd    4 – 5.15pm and 6.30 – 7.45pm  Carols by Candlelight.  A traditional candlelit service of lessons and carols at the University Church.  Arrive early to be sure of a seat.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade

24th    4 – 5pm  Christmas Eve Crib Service.  Carols, bible stories and an impro Nativity.  For children and their families.  Come as you are or in Nativity fancy dress.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade

25th    11.15am – 12.15pm  Christmas Day Choral Mattins.  Favourite carols, beautiful music, scripture and story.  Great St Mary’s Church, King’s Parade

Christmas wreath by Feather & Ferns
Christmas wreath by Feather & Ferns

What’s on in Cambridge – September 2019

September always feels to me like a time of new beginnings and although it’s never easy to get back into top gear after the hazy drift of summer days, the slight nip in the morning air reminds us that it’s time to crack on.  There’s lots of fun stuff happening in the city this month, which should help us ease back into routine.  I’ll update this listing through the month so do check back and please get in touch if you know of an event that I can add to it.

Acorns on Jesus Green Cambridge
Acorns on Jesus Green

1st – 29th    Cambridge Festival of Cycling.  A month of events celebrating our city’s cycling culture.  Over 20 cycling themed events, including social bike rides, bike maintenance and photography workshops, a film night showing the documentary “Motherload” and the Cargo Carnival.  Most events are free or have a minimal charge.  http://www.cambridgefestivalofcycling.org

1st    10.30am – 12 noon  Walking Tour: Hidden Cambridge and the Museum of Cambridge.  http://www.museumofcambridge.org.uk

1st    12 – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

3rd    7.30pm  Shoot for the Moon.  Improvised comedy night with the Ministry of Unplanned Occurrences.  Pay what you want.  Blue Moon Pub, Norfolk Street, CB1

5th    6 – 7.30pm  “Mindfulness on the Meadows”.  Practise mindfulness of nature and meditation with Claire Thompson.  Stourbridge Common.  http://www.mindfulness-of-nature.com/workshops-in-around-cambridge

7 – 8th    10am – 5pm  Wimpole Autumn Craft and Produce Fair.  Crafts, food stalls, live music, beer tent serving local ales, face painting.  Wimpole Estate.  FB Wimpole Autumn Craft and Produce Fair

7th    Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival.  In aid of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.  River Cam, Ditton Meadows, Fen Ditton.  http://www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk

7th    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday.  Plants of the Pharoahs.  Find out about plants used by the Ancient Egyptians, including plants used to make paper and to help preserve bodies.  Free event.  Botanic Garden, Brookside.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk

7th    10.30 – 11.15am  “Sharing Stories”.  A friendly family story telling session with stories from around the world told, read and sung.  Free, drop in.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Milton Road Library, CB4.  http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk

7th    12 – 4.30pm  Stourbridge Medieval Fair.  Traditional dancing and singing, stalls, crafts and talks.  Visit the Chapel (which is shut for most of the year).  http://www.cambridgeppf.org/Event/cambridge-medieval-fair

8th    11.30am – 4.30pm  Knit for the River.  Free, drop in, all ages welcome, no need to book.  Museum of Cambridge, Castle Street.  http://www.museumofcambridge.org.uk

8th    3 – 5pm  Jazz and Brass in the Parks.  City of Cambridge Brass Band.  Cherry Hinton Hall.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk

9th    7.45 – 9pm  Talk about the history of Cambridge Railway Station by Rob Shorland-Ball.  Cambridge Museum of Technology, Pye Building.  Tickets £3 on the door.  Enter via Cheddars Lane entrance.  http://www.museumoftechnology.com

10th (until 9th October)  Open Eco Homes.  Advice from local householders and experts, householder led tours and low energy home workshops.  http://www.openecohomes.org

10th    7.30 – 9pm  “Archeology found by the public”.  Talk from Mill Road History Society with Dr Helen Geake, well known for being party of Channel 4’s Time Team.  Ross Street Community Centre.  http://www.millroadhistory.org.uk

11th    6.45 – 9pm  Cafe Sci Cambridge: Gut bacteria and human health.  Using genomic tools to study gut microbiome to help us understand its role in health and disease.  Free, non-ticketed.  Espresso Library, East Road.  http://www.publicengagement.wellcomegenomecampus.org/cafe-scientifique-cambridge

13 – 14th  Open Cambridge.  Discover the local history and heritage of Cambridge with special access to places that are normally closed to the public or charge admission.  http://www.opencambridge.cam.ac.uk

15th    9.30am  Bridge the Gap.  A charity walk through Cambridge University College grounds.  The route is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.  Raising funds for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Romsey Mill.  http://www.arhc.org.uk/bridge-the-gap.asp

15th    9.30am – 12.30pm  An Introduction to Mindfulness of Nature with Claire Thompson.  Mindfulness based exercises, meditations, walking, games, discussions and poetry.  Trumpington Meadows Nature Reserve.  http://www.mindfulness-of-nature.com/workshops-in-around-cambridge

15th    10.30am – 5.30pm  Dog Day.  Free ice cream for kids with a dog.  Gift stalls and more.  Benets Cafe, King’s Parade.

15th    12 – 4pm  Studio Sunday.  Artist led workshop for families.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

15th    3 – 5pm  Jazz and Brass in the Parks.  The Brass Funkeys.  Jesus Green.  http://www.cambridgelive.org.uk

16th    6 – 7.30pm  “Mindfulness on the Meadows”.  Practise mindfulness of nature and meditation with Claire Thompson.  Stourbridge Common.  http://www.mindfulness-of-nature.com/workshops-in-around-cambridge

17th    5.30 – 7.30pm  Circuit Social.  A creative evening for 18 – 25 year olds.  Make some art, meet new people and discover more about Circuit, the young people’s programme.  All welcome, no previous art experience needed.  Free, drop in.  Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

17th    7.30pm  Poetry in the Pub with John Clegg and Steve Xerri.  CB1 Poetry.  Blue Moon Pub, Norfolk Street, CB1  http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk

18th    7.30pm  True Stories Told Live.  NCI Club, Holland Street, CB4.  FB True Stories Told Live Cambridge

19th    7.30pm  Clara Rackham – her life and achievements.  A talk by Professor Mary Joannou (ARU).  Milton Road Library, CB4.  http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk

21st    9 – 10am  Day of Peace Meditation.  On International Day of Peace, gather for meditations to find inner peace and to cultivate feelings of peace of others in our families, our communities and across the world.  White Lotus Meditation.  The Bodywise Studio, Gwydir Street.  http://www.whitelotusmeditation.co.uk/classesandcourses

21st    10.30 – 11.15am  “Sharing Stories”.  A friendly family story telling session with stories from around the world told, read and sung.  Free, drop in.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Milton Road Library, CB4.  http://www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk

21st    10.30am – 4pm  Artsfest 2019.  A day of workshops in printmaking, life drawing, papercloth, drawing, exploring abstraction, creative writing, expressive lettering and drop in sewing plus an all day cafe.  Early booking advised as workshop places are limited.  St Paul’s Church, Hills Road.  http://www.stpaulsartsfest.org

21st    11am – 5pm  Literature Cambridge Study Day: Reading The Waves.  An intensive day of lectures and a seminar on Virginia Woolf’s lyrical novel of 1931, with leading scholars.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/waves

21 – 22nd    10am – 5pm  Cambridge Food, Garden and Produce Show.  Parker’s Piece.  Free entry.  Oakleigh Fairs.  http://www.oakleighfairs.co.uk

22nd    10.30am – 5pm  Milton Country Park Autumn Festival.  Seasonal food, craft, activities, music and entertainment for the family.  http://www.miltoncountrypark.org/autumnfestival

25th    6 – 9pm  Zoology Late: Board Games.  Animal inspired board games and bar.  Free, no need to book. 18+   Museum of Zoology, Downing Street.  http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk

26th    6 – 9pm  LATE:  The Greatest Showman.  Special screening of The Greatest Showman to complement a new exhibition about Giovanni Belzoni, the 19th century explorer and circus showman.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

28th    10am – 4pm  Worth The Weight Vintage Kilo Sale.  Vintage clothing at £15 per kilo.  St Paul’s Church, Hills Road.  FB Worth The Weight Vintage Kilo Sale – Cambridge

29th    3pm rehearsal, 7.30pm performance.  Come and Sing Carmina Burana.  Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com

29th    10am – 5pm  Cambridge Chinese Community Mid-Autumn Festival.  Parker’s Piece.  http://www.cambridgechinacentre.org

King's College Cambridge
This chestnut tree at King’s College is 160 years old!

 

 

 

Mindfulness of Nature

Cambridge has so many wonderful green spaces and I love to see the small day to day changes in nature as I walk through them en route to the city centre.  Whatever the weather, it feels good to be connected to nature and to be aware of the turning of the seasons.

Last week, I met with Claire Thompson, who is running a range of Mindfulness of Nature courses, aimed at connecting us with the natural world through our senses and emotions rather than our thoughts.  “This in itself is therapeutic.  It’s not about solving a particular problem,” Claire says.  “It’s about enhancing our experience of life itself and exploring different aspects of what it is to be alive.  We’ve forgotten that we’re part of nature and if we don’t spend time in nature, we’re disconnected from something innate.”

Claire T headshot
Image credit: Jeremy Peters

Born in England but raised and educated in France, Claire came to Emmanuel College here in Cambridge where she read Natural Sciences, graduating in Zoology, with her particular interests lying in animal behaviour alongside conservation of nature and plants.  During a gap year pre university, Claire worked in Andalucia, Spain, which not only improved her Spanish but gave her a love for the warmth of the culture with its passion for life.

Subsequent summer breaks were spent volunteering on a nature conservation project centred around Pucon in the Chilean lake district, an area of volcanoes, rivers, mountains and temperate rain forest.  This time in Chile had a profound effect on Claire and has shaped her career and well being.  It fuelled her desire to spend time in wild places and to work in nature conservation.  In her late teens, like many of us Claire had experienced anxiety and she found this time in the wilderness amidst the beauty and power of nature, together with a growing interest in mindfulness, liberating.  It calmed her anxiety and gave her a greater sense of purpose.  “Mindfulness gives you a choice as to where you put your attention,” Claire tells me.  “You are not your thoughts.”

After graduation, Claire volunteered in Mexico on a bird monitoring project in a nature reserve.  Returning to England, she worked in Suffolk for World Land Trust (an international nature conservation charity) before moving to Cambridge, where she works part time as a Project Manager with Bird Life International, co-ordinating a project supporting Mediterranean NGOs in their efforts to address illegal killing of migratory birds in the Mediterranean.

Claire T group in meadow
Image credit: Jeremy Peters

Claire has also authored two books.  In 2012, she was commissioned to write “Mindfulness in the Natural World” for Leaping Hare Press as part of their series of books on mindfulness and last year saw the publication of her second book, “The Art of Mindful Birdwatching.”

Claire T Byrons
Image credit: Jeremy Peters

Upcoming courses in and around Cambridge include “Introduction to Mindfulness of Nature” workshops at Byron’s Pool in Grantchester, “Introduction to Mindful Birdwatching” at Wicken Fen Nature Reserve and evening “Meditations in the Meadows” on Stourbridge Common.  In May, Claire will lead a three day retreat “Rewilding the Mind” in Snowdonia, North Wales.  Further afield, Claire is holding retreats and workshops in Austria (East Tyrol), the US (Rhinebeck), Argentina (Patagonia) and Chile (Chilean Lake District), the place where it all began for her.  Details of all these and more are on Claire’s website.  In a world where it’s easy, in the hustle and bustle of every day, to live as if we’re separate from nature, here’s a chance to reconnect.  I think we owe it to ourselves to take the time to stand and stare.

http://www.mindfulness-of-nature.com