The Character of Cambridge
What follows is an attempt at a distillation of opinions I've heard from
many people in the last 20 years.
People generally fall into one of two groups:
- those that hate Cambridge and who leave as soon as they can;
- those that fall in love with the place and wouldn't lightly move anywhere else.
It's prosperous, fairly clean and relatively safe.
The infamous traffic problems discourage many and
are probably Cambridge's worst feature.
One thing that residents appreciate is that one can walk almost everywhere - central Cambridge
is only about 30 minutes wide, the City 60-70 minutes.
It's true that City Council policies have meant there's little in the way of
nightclubs and other entertainments such as bowling alleys,
and many who dislike the place cite that.
However residents who do like Cambridge find there's enough to do, so
I suspect many of the haters just haven't got the hang of the place.
One answer is that Cambridge manages to support more pubs per head than most places.
Most people say the quality of life is high, even though the cost of
living is much the same as in London.
What strikes visitors most seems to be that the residents are relaxed and unself-conscious.
For instance it's been said to me that when someone's walking in a street with unusual garb (a common sight),
other people look once but not twice - that's not true everywhere in Britain.
Some people say that the residents are unfriendly, citing places such as
remote villages here or abroad as being friendly.
I think it's a matter of time, place and manner of approach.
Residents know well that the weather can be characterised thus:
There always seems to be less rain than forecast
and we seem to be the last place in the country to get any snow.
What little rain there is seems to fall overnight or during the working day (mid-morning & mid-afternoon).
- plenty of wind (so sometimes very cold)
- plenty of big blue skies (and thus sunshine)
- little rain (or snow)
- even though East Anglia in general has the highest
incidence of thunderstorms, they seem to be rare here - perhaps one a year