I went to London yesterday for a singing workshop with a lady I'd met in DC back in June at a conference. It was a great workshop and it gave me some useful field information, but it was also just fun to do a quick in-and-out day trip to London. I love that I can do that now. Just . . . decide to go to London for the day. How cool is that?
I've also discovered absolutely the most appropriate mystery series to start reading. James Runcie's Grantchester Mysteries, featuring Canon Sidney Chambers, Church of England vicar and amateur sleuth. They're set in the mid-1950s, and weird murders and crimes happen, and Sidney gets drawn into detectoring because he's a priest and people like to talk to him, and his cop friend Inspector Geordie Keating takes that information and actually arrests the criminals.
The thing that makes these books so perfect is that they're set right in Cambridge and the surrounding towns. Sidney lives and works in Grantchester, a tiny village suburb of Cambridge a few miles down the road. I actually biked down there the day before I discovered the series, so I'd been past his church and I'd had a drink in the pub where everyone in the village goes for the wake after the funeral that opens the first story. But wait! It gets better. Sidney is also a Cambridge graduate, and he's a part-time academic, teaching theology, and he's based at . . . wait for it . . . Corpus Christi College! My college! And he meets Geordie at The Eagle, the pub right across the street from Corpus, and he bikes past St. Bene't Church, up Downing Street to the police station on St. Andrew's Street, and he also goes to London on the train, and his friend Hildegard lives on Eltisley Avenue, and and and.
This is so cool. I literally don't have to picture these stories in my head, because I can just go and trace Sidney's steps all around town. It's a little bit like the feeling I had watching The Theory of Everything and recognizing places where I've walked and biked. (Even better was catching a ride out to an event with the wife of the master of Stephen Hawking's college, who was telling me all about him and his reaction to the movie and how puzzled she was that the college seems to have refused the film-makers permission to film there and that they did this without even letting the master know that the request had been made in the first place. This is why St. John's College, where Hawking was a student, appears in the film, and Gonville and Caius, where he worked, does not.)