Saturday, October 20, 2007

"A Special Evening At The Bear And Billet"

We've had many habitats over the years; in fact, we're rather a nomadic lot. We're Chester Writers and we're a band of gipsies; we travel from place to place, but we're minus any caravans and to my knowledge, none of us sells any lavendar or stands on doorsteps selling any clothes pegs. But OK, I know....folk have hidden lives and I could be wrong...
Where have we lived? Where have we met 3rd Thursday each month for a decade of years?
Well: We've huddled in a cellar in a pub by the river, where we read our work while Status Quo ( ouch) and the Stones (OK) boomed at a disco upstairs. We've lived in a huge boardroom in a hotel by the station, where we sat straight-backed round a long mahogany table and stared at our reflections in its gleaming polished surface. We've climbed a creaky oak panelled staircase to an upper room in a black and white inn , where windows were gloomy and the pub sign creaked outside as wind blew and ghosts gathered for their hauntings. We've crossed the street to another pub, where we competed against pub quizzes and office parties, where lights were dim and cold made us shiver . But Things May Well Have Changed...
On Thursday, as part of Chester Literature Festival, Chester Writers held our annual celebration. We pulled our caravans up to the Bear and Billet ( see photo at top of post) ; it's a 1/2 timbered black/white pub, built near the river Dee at the end of Lower Bridge Street. Originally a townhouse belonging to the Earls of Shrewsbury, it was built in 1664 to replace a building torched in the Civil War. It's been a pub since the eighteenth century.
And we much enjoyed being there. Our room was top floor; spacious, oak beamed, leaded windows, refectory tables, comfy chairs. The lighting was good and we were as warm as toast. Some great readings (prose and poetry) which both made us laugh, provoked our thoughts.
Also great seeing old familiar faces, some very good friends* ( see below) alongside interested new ones....
I think there's a very fine chance our wanderings have ceased for a while...
Good stuff!
* See Clare Dudman's blog: www.http//


Blogger Lucy said...


3:04 pm  
Blogger Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Looks and sounds like a most perfect location for a gathering of writers!

4:08 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Yep, good!

Hopefully it will prove to be.

9:29 pm  

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