Cycling · Music

Week 99: BBC Proms Weekend 5 (Part 2) and Wimpole Hall

Monday started the week with Jacqueline and I both still in London. We decided to stay down in London until Wednesday. The sole reason for this was due to the ticket arrangements for the Last Night of the Proms, to be held in early September. To get our promming tickets for classical music’s largest annual celebration, we needed to have attended 5 proms before going to the Royal Albert Hall box office on one of three days over the summer. The first had already passed, on the third, Jacqueline would be away. So the second was our only chance, and so we needed to both be at the Albert Hall on Wednesday and attend another prom before Wednesday. Looking at the programming we decided to go to Monday’s prom. I stayed in the apartment all day working trying to solve a bug in my code that was causing some data to be overwritten. Jacqueline went out to her London lab, taking the unique opportunity to ride a river ferry to work. She came home before dinner, before we both rode out to the Royal Albert Hall yet again.

Tonight’s prom was the first ever prom performance by the Estonian Festival Orchestra. The most notable feature was Edvard Grieg’s famous Piano Concerto, with it’s epic opening notes and memorable first movement. It was performed by an excellent young female Georgian pianist who captivated the audience through every note. For an encore she performed an excellent rendition of Debussy’s Clair de Lune.

Tuesday was rather similar to Monday. Jacqueline went out to her London lab, while I stayed back and worked on my computer all day. However, we didn’t head out to the Proms, opting instead for a lighter evening in with simple food.

Finally, on Wednesday, the time had come to purchase our Last Night of the Proms tickets. We cycled in to the Royal Albert Hall by the opening time of the box office, and joined the few dozen other people also buying their tickets. We had to hand in our used ticket stubs, and they promised to send out the tickets in the post a week before the Last Night. It is plain to see that the organisers are very keen to stop ticket scalps at every step of the process, mandating an individual physical appearance as much as possible, and it seems to be appreciated by most of the people who attend. Tickets purchased, we rode our bikes across London and along the Thames back to Liverpool Street Station, where we could take the train up to Cambridge again.

My Thursday morning in Cambridge began with a meeting with Margaret, Jade and Jim. I finally had all of the elements together of the Gates Council budget for the next academic year, and the Trust wanted to see Margaret and I work through the elements one by one and explain what we were planning. They seemed happy with most of it, barring a few minor adjustments.

For the rest of Thursday through to Saturday, routine returned, and I was focussed again on work. I was trying to calculate the different annihilation pathways that can be observed in indirect detection experiments. I had to go through a few bug fixes, but by the end of the week, everything seemed to be coming together, so I could let my computer run overnight with some big samples of a finer mesh.

On Thursday night, I had my second match of the Champagne Leagues, the summer real tennis competition in Cambridge. This match had taken some effort to organise, and it seemed that it would be my last, given two other players in my group didn’t respond to any of my emails. Following on from my win over Kevin the previous week, I went on to record a second win against Bernie, 8-0. Assuming no other matches were played, and none looked likely, this would be enough to qualify for the knockout stages in September.

On Sunday, Jacqueline told me that she wanted to head out for a bike ride again. She now had acquired some more appropriate cycling attire and was sporting a new helmet. I checked the map and plotted out a route. The goal was to head for a lunch at Wimpole Hall, near Orwell. We set out, navigating the busy road out to Barton, before heading along the quieter roads through Haslingfield and Barrington. Jacqueline preferred these quieter roads. After an hour, we rode up the narrow path that led to Wimpole Hall. The Hall is a National Trust estate, with a large manor house and shops in what used to be the stables. There was also a farm café a short distance down the road, but we instead filed through the canteen at the Hall. While the surroundings were pretty, the food was mediocre, but we were happy to have a meal before heading on up the road. We completed our loop through Bourn and Hardwick in a total of two hours. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and recovering from our ride.

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