The British weather, which had so obligingly welcomed the students arriving on Sunday, relented yesterday to allow lessons to commence amid pleasant sunshine. This was particularly appreciated by the Architecture class, which passed its early afternoon outside on the lawns of Cambridge sketching one of its modernist masterpieces.
With a successful morning of lessons concluded, and with the workshops, in which students apply more practically the ideas studied in the morning, off to an excellent start, the afternoon was spent in a tour of Cambridge. Students split up into smaller groups of around twenty, allowing a great opportunity for them to get to know each other and chat about the city they were seeing unfold around them.
Cambridge was exuberant in the sun, with the golden stone of the colleges set off magnificently by the golden light, and the tour guides were very knowledgeable. One story that particularly caught the imagination of the students was that of a prank, now very famous, in which thirteen students in 1957 erected an improvised scaffold of ‘borrowed’ building materials in order to hoist a battered old car onto the triangular rooftop of the tall Senate House in the very centre of Cambridge. For a week, the fire service, the police and the army attempted to remove the car with a crane, until they gave up and dismantled it with blowtorches. The perpetrators of the prank were suspected –including by the Dean of their college, who sent them a case of champagne by way of congratulations— but not conclusively known until they acknowledged it fifty years later. We hope that none of our students attempt to emulate them over the coming weeks!
In the evening, most students chose to head back into town in their free time, but a small and eager band congregated in the marquee for a wide-ranging and challenging quiz. The winners were Stephanie Barney and Todd Winckel, who both showed an enviable grasp of an impressive amount.
With the evening winding down, students relaxed in conversation and some light strumming on the camp guitar, before jet-lag won out and saw a pleasingly punctual curfew take place.