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The Rock-itt : November 2009
This is another episode of our recent family trip up to Europe and it starts with us in St. Albans just to the North of London. It's a good place to be based because it's on a main railway line into London, very adjacent to the motorways going north west, north east and on the M25 London Orbital motorway which, if you pick your departure times well you can get about pretty easily. St. Albans is also a great place if you like a pint of beer and the Goat Inn in the Market place became my favourite. Not a flashy place, good beer and a good atmosphere. It's England, you must expect rain! Punting on the Cam Next up for a visit just a short one hour car trip from St. Albans was Cambridge. Known as a University town it is very similar to its 'Boat Race' opposition Oxford but is perhaps a little more compact. It is a very pretty, small city and its 'Backs', as the University grounds are known, are enhanced by the meandering of the River Cam. We were lucky to be able to stay at a friend's house and our luck continued as he had a very good connection with the band Kasabian! As well as being a joy for those interested in architecture and history, Cambridge also has a great music gig in the Cambridge Corn Exchange. By happy coincidence we missed by one night, The Australian Pink Floyd Show. Kasabian have just released a new album and this gig was part of a low key tour to support it and announce a bigger Stadium Tour in Europe at the end of 2009. The chance to see a Stadium rock band in a more intimate setting is always good and Kasabian didn't disappoint. They remind me a lot of an updated 'Simple Minds' and the music is actually quite uncomplicated, almost 'poppy'. They will be playing 'The Big Day Out' here in January, so go! Kasabian apparently took their name from Linda Kasabian, Charles Manson's getaway driver Anyhow, this is supposed to be my travel piece so let's travel. I managed to shake off the family in Cambridge and a pal of mine picked me up from Duxford airfield just outside Cambridge. Duxton is an amazing place, part of the British Imperial War Museum. It has an amazing collection of flying and non- flying aircraft and is a must for dad's and their lads. It has a wonderful hall dedicated to the United States air force that were based all over Cambridgeshire during the war. There is a Sunderland Flying Boat, Concorde, a new ground warfare museum chock full of the world's tanks and an excellent gift shop where I was tempted by an authentic Spitfire pilots jacket! From Duxton we ventured further east to Lincolnshire to visit a mate. This was not just any mate, this was the legendary Antarctic Dave! My friend Brian and I did a trip down to the Antarctic Peninsula at the beginning of this year and one of the lecturers on the cruise was Dave Burkitt. Dave is a wiry 65 year old, fit enough still to climb very reasonable mountains. Every base we went to in Antarctica knew Dave as he has been visiting Antarctica since 1970. Anyhow, whilst on the trip he invited Brian and me to visit him in Nettleham, and we did! Lincolnshire's Dave Burkitt at Port Lockroy, Antarctica. Amongst the joys of having people to visit is that they are sometimes off the beaten track. Most tourists would never bother to go to Lincolnshire, in fact before I moved down to Oz I made a point of going there as even as a resident I had never taken the time to go. It's a lovely city set in a very flat landscape and it has a beautiful cathedral and a very average The Memphis Belle is at Duxton