Cambridge Beer Festival

The tents are going up on Jesus Green ….. it’s time for the 46th annual Cambridge Beer Festival which runs from 20 – 25 May.  Festival Organiser Anthony Cox downed tools to chat to me about the UK’s oldest beer festival, brought to the city by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).

Cambridge Beer Festival
Image credit: Cambridge Beer Festival

A core team of 30 people start to plan the Festival in December.  “We’ve got all the beer ordered by the end of March,” Anthony tells me, “and then set up and take down each last a week either side of the Festival as we build the site from scratch”.  The beer arrives several days before the Festival opens so that it can rest and settle while the site is readied to welcome around 40,000 thirsty visitors over six days.

You’ll find over 200 beers from across the UK with brewery bars, staffed by the brewers, offering keg and cask beers.  The Key Keg Bar gives a chance to compare and contrast key keg and cask beers, the same beer stored two different ways, while the International Bar showcases beers from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and America.

Cambridge Beer Festival
Image credit: Cambridge Beer Festival

But it’s not just about the beer!  The Cider Bar will feature more than 80 ciders and perries, all English and many from East Anglian producers, while the Wine and Mead Bar offers English wines in a variety of styles alongside mead, a drink made by fermenting honey and adding botanicals, from UK producers.

And you won’t go hungry either.  The CAMRA Cheese Counter has a selection of bread and cheese, scotch eggs, pork pies and pickles.  Food trucks parked up in the garden area will offer fish and chips, pizza, curry, falafel and vegetarian food, burgers, hog roast, doughnuts, cake and coffee.

 

Cambridge Beer Festival
Image credit: Cambridge Beer Festival

New for this year is the CAMRA run Learning and Discovery Centre, offering tutored beer tastings and an informal area where you can drop in, chat to the experts and pick their brains about all things beer.  The Family Tent welcomes children accompanied by a responsible adult and on the Saturday will feature a brass band, jugglers, face painting and other activities for kids.

Lunchtime sessions at the Festival are free entry and there’s a modest entry fee for evening sessions.  You pay a small deposit for your glass (glasses this year have been branded to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings) which you can either take away with you as a memento or hand back as you leave.  Or better still, if you return your glass to the Arthur Rank Hospice stand, they will get your deposit back ….. a brilliant way of raising funds to support the Hospice’s invaluable work in the city.

Cambridge Beer Festival
Image credit: Cambridge Beer Festival

Over 400 volunteers are involved in the Festival and more are always welcome.  Volunteer roles range from helping to set up and take down the infrastructure, arranging tables and seating, manning the glass and food counters, staffing bars, stewarding and, of course, looking after all that beer!  Even just an hour or two of your time makes a real difference at this busy event.  You don’t need to be a CAMRA member to volunteer, you’ll be given full training and your reward comes in the form of food and drink.

Take a look at the website for opening times, details of the Festival beer list and more.

http://www.cambridgebeerfestival.com

David Parr House Cambridge

186 Gwydir Street looks like a typical Cambridge terraced house from the outside.  But when you walk in through the front door, you leave the 21st century behind and enter the world of Victorian decorative artist David Parr.

David Parr House Cambridge

David bought the house at auction in 1886 and lived there with his wife, Mary, and their three children.  He’d been apprenticed at the age of 17 to the Cambridge firm of artworkmen F. R. Leach & Sons and he worked for them all his life, painting grand houses and churches with designs created by luminaries of the Arts and Crafts movement, including William Morris.  After long days at work, David came home to decorate his house in the same style, painting by oil and candlelight during the evenings and creating intricate interiors in this relatively humble abode.

David Parr House Cambridge

The exquisite decoration incorporates the use of cut out stencils, through which he stippled paint, and pin prick stencil work, all with individualised repeats which bring the designs alive.  Pine doors and matchboarding are painted and grained to resemble more expensive woods.  The main bedroom boasts an early version of hot air heating.  David was bringing back ideas and sometimes left over materials from jobs he worked on to create a beautiful, unique home for his family.

David Parr House Cambridge

After David’s death in 1927, his widow continued to live in the house with grand daughter Elsie who, in turn, married and brought up her two daughters there.  The decor of the house remained unchanged through the generations but the family was very private and almost nobody knew about these wonderful interiors.  Tamsin Wimhurst first saw the house in 2009 after she put out a call for interesting spaces in Cambridge while researching for an exhibition she was organising at the Museum of Cambridge.  Elsie told Tamsin the story of her grandfather and the house, proud now to show off David Parr’s work.  After Elsie died in 2013, aged 98, Tamsin and her husband decided to buy the house to conserve and restore it.

David Parr House Cambridge

The programme of conservation and restoration has been painstaking.  Happily, David Parr had logged everything he did to the house room by room and all the changes he made, both inside and outside.  Family furniture, artefacts and textiles fill the house.  It really does have the feeling of a home where the family has just stepped out for a while.  On the day I visited, volunteers were busy landscaping and replanting the back garden as it is remembered by David Parr’s great grand daughters, both of whom still live locally.

David Parr House Cambridge

David Parr House reopens on 16 May.  For conservation reasons, tour places are limited at present as the team carefully monitors and assesses the multiple effects of visitor traffic on the painting and general fabric of the house.  The scheduled house tours for this year are now sold out but it is still possible to book a private tour.  Over the next two years, income from tours will be matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the proceeds will go into an endowment, the interest from which will fund a Curator post.

David Parr House Cambridge

I was absolutely captivated by David Parr House.  The care and skill that has gone in to this beautiful place, both from its creator and the team that has ensured its future, is awe-inspiring.  For more on the story of the house and the family, volunteering opportunities and tour reservations, take a look at the website.

http://www.davidparrhouse.org

Cambridge City Foodbank Christmas Hamper Collection

Cambridge City Foodbank opened in 2010 and helps local people, providing three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to those who are referred to them in crisis.  With Christmas just around the corner, the Foodbank has launched its Christmas Hamper Collection and hopes to make up 500 hampers of quality food and products to give to families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Cambridge City Foodbank logo

Contributing to this couldn’t be easier.  Go on to the Foodbank website (details at the end of this post), register and choose one of the two hamper drop off dates.  This helps the Foodbank team with their logistical planning.  Then fill a good sized carrier bag with items from their list of suggestions.  Don’t add in any perishable or home made food and please make sure all items have a use by date of 25 December or later.  Then simply drop off your bag of goodies at the Foodbank warehouse in your registered drop-off slot.

Cambridge City Foodbank
Image: Cambridge City Foodbank

The Foodbank is, of course, supporting local people year round.  Jon Edney, Foodbank Co-ordinator, tells me that from April to September this year, there’s been a 13% increase nationally in people using foodbanks.  Here in Cambridge, the figure is a 46% increase during that period, compared to the same period last year, so the need is huge.

People can find themselves in crisis at any time for a multitude of reasons.  The Foodbank works on a voucher referral system with vouchers being issued by agencies such as Citizens Advice, housing support officers, children’s centres, health visitors, social services and some local charities.  Agencies can also help with longer term support to address issues behind the reasons for crisis.  You can exchange your voucher at your nearest Foodbank centre in the city where you’ll find a warm welcome and a chance to chat with trained volunteers.

Cambridge City Foodbank
Image: Cambridge City Foodbank

The Christmas hamper distribution arrangements are different; they are distributed through family centres rather than through the Foodbank centres.  If you are not already connected with any of the referring agencies mentioned in the paragraph above, then you can make contact about the possibility of receiving a Christmas hamper through the C3 Church at Coldham’s Lane.

Cambridge City Foodbank
Image: Cambridge City Foodbank

With the enormous increase in Foodbank use, there’s a constant need for food donations throughout the year, with collection points in supermarkets city-wide.  The Foodbank website has a list of urgently needed food items which you can also drop off at their food collection points.  Financial donations of any size, given either regularly or as one-offs, help this vital work to continue.  And maybe you could give your time …. why not consider joining the volunteer group of around 140 people who work in all sorts of roles and are the life blood of the organisation.

For more information about the work of Cambridge City Foodbank as well as details of how to get help and how to give help, check out their website.

http://www.cambridgecityfoodbank.org.uk

http://www.thec3.uk

What’s on in October

Well, Cambridge feels a little bit different now ….. there’s a nip in the morning air, the evenings are drawing in and the rhythm of the city changes as the students return.  There’s plenty going on and I’ll update this listing through the month so do check back when you can.

Sunny autumn morning on the River Cam
Sunny autumn morning on the River Cam

5th    8pm  Fresher Brass.  A “Meet and Greet” concert with the City of Cambridge Brass Band.  St Giles Church, Castle Street, CB3.  Free entry.

6th    7.30pm  The Fishermen.  Mumford Theatre, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, CB1.  http://www.anglia.ac.uk

7th    10.30am – 4pm  Cambridge Vegan Market.  Guildhall, Market Square.  http://www.vegfest.co.uk

7th   2 – 4pm/5 – 7pm  Cambridge Wine Fair.  Royal Cambridge Hotel, Trumpington Street, CB2.  Meet local independent wine merchants.  http://www.cambridgewinefair.com

8th    7.45pm  Climate Change: A Scientific Update.  Speaker:  Dr Emily Shuckburgh OBE.  Part of the Science meets Faith series.  Wesley Church, Christ’s Pieces, CB1.  Free admission.

15 – 18th  Cambridge Festival of Ideas  http://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk  Read more here

15th    7pm  Oompah Brass.  The Leys School, Fen Causeway, CB2.  http://www.theleys.net/boxoffice

18th    7pm  Cambridge Breast Cancer Appeal Fashion Show.  Grand Arcade, St Andrew’s Street, CB2.  Tickets include welcome drink and canapes.  http://www.cambridgebreastcancerappeal.com  Read more here

19th    8pm  The Choral Pilgrimage 2018.  Music by Cornysh and Britten.  The Sixteen.  St John’s College Chapel.  http://www.thesixteen.com

20th    11am – 4pm  Volunteer for Cambridge.  Free showcase for the diversity of volunteering opportunities in the city with around 90 organisations attending.  Guildhall, Market Square, CB2.  http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/volunteer-for-cambridge

20th   2 – 5.30pm  Understanding King Lear.  Study Day with Literature Cambridge.  Stapleford Granary, Stapleford, CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/lear/  Read more here

20th    7.30pm  Let there be Light.  Charity concert for CBM UK, the overseas disability charity, showcasing local musicians and voices.  St Paul’s Church, Hills Road, CB2.  http://www.ticketsource.co.uk

21st    10am – 4pm  Apple Day.  Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Brookside, CB2.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk  Read more here

22nd    1 – 3pm  The Fitzwilliam Museum.  Disability friendly opening.  A relaxed afternoon aimed at children with sensory sensitivities along with their families, siblings and carers.  Free entry but please book in advance.  Trumpington Street, CB2.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

23rd    11am – 5pm Tues – Sun.  Richard Pousette-Dart: Beginnings.  Abstract Expressionist.  This exhibition runs until 6 January 2019.  http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk

24th    7 – 10pm  Plague Late.   Part of the Cam Lates season.  Get up close and personal with the past and present of the Plague.  Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, CB2.  Book in advance.  http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk

24 – 27th    7.30pm plus two matinees at 2.30pm.  West Side Story.  Cambridge Theatre Company.  The Leys School, Fen Causeway, CB2.  http://www.camtheatrecompany.co.uk

25 – 1 Nov    Cambridge Film Festival.  http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk  Read more here

26th    9.30am – 12.30pm  Kids’ Repair Cafe.  Fixing children’s games and toys.  Arts Picturehouse, St Andrew’s Street, CB2.  http://www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org  Read more here

26 – 28th    7.30pm  Ghost Stories for Halloween.  The Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road, CB5.  http://www.nunkie.co.uk

28th    1pm  Cambridge Halloween Dog Parade.  Facebook: Cambridge Halloween Dog Parade  Read more here

Autumn colours on Trumpington Street, Cambridge
Autumn colours on Trumpington Street, Cambridge

 

 

 

Cambridge Festival of Cycling

Cambridge is a city of bicycles … it’s by far the easiest (and greenest!) way to get around and now the city’s cycling culture is being celebrated in the first Cambridge Festival of Cycling, brought to us by Camcycle, with events happening throughout September.

Cambridge Festival of Cycling logo

Launching the Festival on 1 September is a social ride from King’s Parade to Eddington.  This will be leisurely so think about packing up a picnic and you’ll be able to buy ice cream and coffee from cargo bike traders.  Further highlights in a packed schedule include a screening of the Dutch film “Why we cycle”, a family cycling event and the Cargo Carnival.  Decorate your bike and join this parade of cyclists on a ride through the city centre, starting and finishing at Lammas Land, showing what you carry on your cargo bike!

Cambridge Festival of Cycling
Image credit:  Lucinda Price

And in a look back at the cycling attire of Victorian women, the Cambridge Ladybirds WI and Dr Kat Jungnickel, author of “Bikes and Bloomers” will host a discussion and cycle ride and, this being the WI, there will of course be tea and cake.  Other partner organisations are joining in through September with many diverse events so for the full programme, check out the Festival website.

Cambridge Festival of Cycling
Image credit: Lucinda Price

Camcycle started out life as Cambridge Cycling Campaign in 1995.  Then, as now, it works for better, safer and more cycling in and around Cambridge and provides a voice for the concerns of Cambridge cyclists.  Its campaigning has resulted in more cycle parking on streets and at transport hubs, early start green lights to enable cyclists to clear a crossing before cars and much, much more.  Camcycle has also been heavily involved in planning for the “Chisholm Trail”, a proposed new 3.5 kilometre walking and cycling route which will closely follow the railway line and run between Cambridge Station and the new Cambridge North Station.

You can become a member of Camcycle for a modest fee.  Not only will you be supporting their work, you’ll receive six newsletters a year, a quarterly magazine, discounts at a large number of bike shops and access to an online discussion forum.  The monthly general meetings at the Friend’s Meeting House on Jesus Lane are open to both members and non-members.

Camcycle Cambridge
Image credit:  Lucinda Price

Camcycle is a non profit organisation with a very small team at the helm so it always needs and welcomes volunteers to help with a huge variety of tasks through the year, whether it’s working on the magazine, taking photos, organising and marshalling rides or manning the Camcycle stall at events, to name just a few opportunities.  For the Festival of Cycling, many volunteer roles are available so whatever your skill set, if you’re keen to offer support in this way, check out the “Volunteer” page on the Festival website.

Camcycle Cambridge

Take a look at the website as there is so much more going on than I have space to write about here.  Most events are free and you don’t need to be a Camcycle member to join in the fun, everybody is welcome.

http://www.cambridgefestivalofcycling.org

http://www.camcycle.org.uk

This event takes place at multiple locations in and around the city.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge

Bridge the Gap is a circular walk through the beautiful gardens of six Cambridge colleges.  Now in its 17th year and happening on Sunday 9 September, this event is a great day out for families, friends and groups of work colleagues, allowing entry to the grounds of these historic colleges, some of which are not normally open to the public, whilst raising money to support the valuable work of two local charities, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Romsey Mill.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Sir Cam

I met with Georgina Forbes, Fundraiser for Romsey Mill, to find out more.  The action starts and finishes on Parker’s Piece where you can register from 8.30am, have a coffee and some breakfast from one of the food trucks as well as collect a backpack filled with water, fruit and goodies provided by the event’s sponsors.  You’ll also be given a brochure with a route map and information before heading out (there are three different waves of departures through the morning).

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Bridge the Gap

The route is approximately 5 miles long and takes in Emmanuel, Christ’s, Sidney Sussex and Trinity colleges before heading along the Backs to St Catherine’s and Pembroke colleges and then on to the Museum of Zoology which is celebrating its reopening.

There will be marshals to show you the way, Blue Badge guides in the colleges to answer your questions and the route is wheelchair and pushchair enabled.  You’ll find music along the way (think brass, folk and jazz bands) and refreshments at St Catherine’s College.  Back on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge 105 will be broadcasting from a 50 foot stage, there’ll be music courtesy of Cambridge City Brass and you might even want to join in the dancing with Cambridge Lindyhop.  You’ll also find a soft play area for kids and various competitions happening plus that all important tea tent offering home made cake.

This year’s fundraising goal is £50,000.  Thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors, all overheads are covered so 100% of your entry fee is shared equally between the two Cambridgeshire charities.  Arthur Rank Hospice supports people who are living with a life-limiting illness and those who need end-of-life care.  Romsey Mill is a Christian charity creating opportunities with young people, children and families, many of whom are facing significant challenges in their lives.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Bridge the Gap

Around 130 volunteers make this event happen with many different roles available.  If you’d like to join them, contact Tasha.Hills@arhc.org.uk for route volunteering and georgina.forbes@romseymill.org for volunteering on Parker’s Piece.

Bridge the Gap Cambridge
Image credit: Bridge the Gap

To take part in Bridge the Gap, you simply pre-register on the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity website (see the link below) or you can turn up at Parker’s Piece and pay on the morning.  Group tickets are available at discounted rates and children go free when accompanied by a paying adult.

http://www.arhc.org.uk/bridge-the-gap.asp

http://www.romseymill.org

Parker’s Piece, Cambridge CB1 1NA

 

Artsfest 2018

Artsfest 2018 returns to St Paul’s Church on Hills Road from 26 – 31 March, celebrating creativity and culture with events and activities for all ages throughout the week, based around the theme of “Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained”.

Artsfest 2018 poster
Image credit:  Artsfest 2018

The Festival has been organised by Martin and Julia Evans with Kip and Jane Gresham.  They’re building on the foundations of the very successful inaugural Artsfest held in 2016 and they firmly believe that people can flourish when they have the chance to be creative.

Artfest 18 workshop
Image credit: Artsfest 2018

There’s a packed schedule through the week, whether you want to be hands on or prefer to watch and listen.  Daytime workshops for adults include printmaking, creative writing, drawing and painting and there’s a daily after school art workshop for children while a drop in embroidery group will stitch through each day.  Anyone can share in the daily lunchtime and evening meals; indeed, the cafe is at the heart of the Festival, offering a place for everyone to meet, talk and share experiences.

A range of talks includes print maker Kip Gresham who will look at the way artists make their work and Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Master of Magdalene College, who will explore the theme of hope and loss through poetry.

Artsfest 2018 music
Image credit: Artsfest 2018

Evening events include a performance from local performing arts college Bodywork Company Cambridge, a jazz concert and the world premiere of an opera based on John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” with leading counter tenor Lawrence Zazzo.  On the final day of the Festival, there’ll be a Scratch “Messiah” in which everybody is welcome to take part, whether as a singer, an orchestra musician or an audience member.

Artsfest 2018 St Paul's, Hills Road
Image credit: Artsfest 2018

St Paul’s is an Anglican church and community centre.  Its motto is “All are welcome, all are safe” and its doors are open every day to welcome everybody, whether they have a faith or not.  “We want to bring people together,” Martin tells me, “and we believe that in creating a positive community we can help to combat the loneliness felt by so many.”  Around two thousand people use the building each week, either to attend the daily service, to join in with one of the many classes (think yoga, lindy hop, salsa and more) or simply to sit quietly in the foyer.

You’ll find full details of all the Artsfest 2018 events on their website.  Most workshops and all the exhibitions, talks and lunchtime concerts are free, although voluntary donations are always welcome.  Evening events cost £7.50 per head.  For logistical purposes, workshop places need to be booked in advance through the website.  Finally, please email juliaevans51@hotmail.co.uk if you’d like to get involved as a volunteer and help to run this wonderful celebration of culture and creativity.

http://www.stpaulsartsfest.org

http://www.stpaulscambridge.org.uk/

Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1JP