Booze, birds and intellectual pursuits

The Beinecke library

The Beinecke library


Sculpture by Alexander Calder in the plaza outside the Beinecke library

Sculpture by Alexander Calder in the plaza outside the Beinecke library


Yale is beautiful, as it should be in the land of hedge funds. As I walk down arcadian streets, a real feeling of intellectualism grabs me by the balls and – suddenly! – I have made it. I guess this is how universities should make you feel (mine never did, but that’s another story).

Filled to tipping point with architectural examples (and exemplars) of their period, in some ways Yale is a fantasy where knowledge is power providing artistic freedoms that are without prejudice, the ability to build with confidence, a style leader. The 1960’s Beinecke library allows a gentle light to fall within not through windows but via osmosis – thin panes of marble are the glass here.

And sometimes, on my walk, I am stopped by a fluid sculpture by the likes of Alexander Calder. Then a garden by Noguchi. This is my kind of University (daddy, where’s my hedge fund?).

Yale is in New Haven, a city about 90 minutes from New York, in Connecticut. You would never know but Connecticut was almost entirely deforested in the late nineteenth century. I am told the trees are still young; in mid-autumn they are at their best turning bright red, orange and yellow. It is some kind of heaven.

On Barn Island, which isn't a island. This should give you a clue to the mind of someone who lives in Connecticut

On Barn Island, which isn’t a island. This should give you a clue to the mindset of someone who lives in Connecticut

A weird spider.

A weird spider.


We make a trip up to Stonington, a pretty town about an hour or so north of New Haven, and by doing so we have entered deepest darkest Connecticut. Our mission is twitching, as in bird watching, and Barn Island Wildlife Reserve nearby is where we stop to get our binoculars out. They allow hunting on the reserve, and we should be wearing bright orange vests so we don’t get shot but the brightest thing I have on is my dull purple t-shirt. There are plenty of dog walkers about, and they seem unconcerned, so we take our chances.

The marshes pong as they should though the view is picture postcard. We spot all kinds of birds (it helps having two friends who know the business!). An hour or two pass very quickly – I’d never guess something as simple as nature could make time fly.

Later, back in New Haven, I sit in The Owl, a classic Yale cigar bar. With a chardonnay in hand, I watch American football on the box, no cigar though.



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