Thursday, July 09, 2009

" An Image To Recall In Depth Of Winter, A Launch In A Long Room And The Watching Of Four Tiny Water Babies..." ...."

I drove through the splendid gates of Eaton Hall (home of Gerald, Duke of Westminster) one balmy evening recently.
Not something I do often, I hasten to add.....But a friend and I swanned up the drive, meandering past ancient trees, lush lawns, a distant cricket pavilion....AND I SO wish I'd had my camera handy...
OF COURSE everything mentioned was worth a snap. But just as the Hall itself came into magnificent view, twenty or thirty deer cantered together across our path....
And this sight was MAGIC....the close of a sultry day, sun lowering, and before us, the dignity of a beautiful building...and then a herd of deer, frolicking together amongst it all. Mmm.

Shell Chester Literature Festival ( see was at Eaton to launch its October Lit Fest ( 5th-18th) combined with its Performance Weekend .
This is called "Chester Oyez!", partly because we have an active Town Crier, who stands at The Cross, midst of city...imparting his news and echoing "Oyez! Oyez!" to Cestrians and tourists at intervals daily.....

AND Eaton was a lovely place for this Launch.
Eaton Hall is a modern building, built in style of a French chateau, replacing a Gothic Revival Hall which was ( thankfully) demolished in the 60's .
We met in The Long Room. This is furnished as country house drawingroom, with sofas and paintings, antiques and rugs. We ate canapes in the Saddle Room ( diningroom) and we listened to 3 Performers (who will appear at Oyez! ) in the Carriage Room, also known as The Wolf Room, after painter J Wolf.

And before eating, we heard about some of the October visitors to LitFest:these include POet Laureate CarolAnn Duffy, writer David Peace ( Red Riding series) , Richard Eyres ( former National Theatre Director) barrister Michael Mansfield, Chris Packham of SpringWatch...and of course local writers, poets, including local born David Whiteley, who recently published his fantasy children's book.

But back to the Saddle Room: 1st Performer was N.W poet Jan Dean, descibing herself as an " itinerant poet". She writes mainly for children , appearing in schools and running poetry workshops.
2nd was gorgeous-voiced Shonaleigh Cumbers***. She's a Yiddish storyteller, who gleaned her art from her Jewish grandmother, a woman who survived the Holocaust. Shonaleigh learned from her how to memorise a story... and how to visualise it from different viewpoints. Shonaleigh is shortlisted for an Arts Foundation prize for her storytelling.
3rd was poet David Bateman, originally a Southerner, now based in NW. He says he's got a knack for being silly/serious at same time...and this trait was echoed in some of his work. We'll see them all again in October.

ALTOGETHER a fruitful taste of Autumnal treats......AND although no deer cantered or indeed galloped across our howeward path....I shall retain that lovely image within my cobwebs for quite a while....

NOW totally out of context: this week I visited a session of Waterbabies... watching 6 month old grandson "swimming".....and what fun! Like Baby Sensory last week, it's structured BUT fun...and the babes thrive.They float, catch balls, play games, disappear under water ( and come up grinning every time !) They're learning to enjoy water and to become confidently at ease with it. Great. Have a look at for details.
*** NB to Shonaleigh ( IF she reads Blogs!) : Please SING in October as well as tell your stories! We loved the tiny bit we heard...


Blogger Kay said...

Oh that is so lovely - all of it. A treat for you - and now for us who read your lovely blog.

2:14 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

What reasures and now to can share. Especially the image of the deer. Thankyou.

11:21 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

That would be Treasures, that I can share!

11:22 pm  
Blogger cheshire wife said...

I was interested to read about Eaton Hall as we have only seen the gardens.Pity you did not have your camera with you. Next time you will remember it.

6:03 pm  
Blogger EuropaWorld said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:41 pm  
Blogger Fennie said...

Hallo Jan,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love literature festivals. Usually visit Hay a couple of times. No deer there, though. Oh dear! You seem to have had a most enjoyable time.

(Deleted comment was me - I was still signed in to my other Google address!)

2:44 pm  
Blogger Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Gorgeous post and the event sounds wonderful! Eaton Hall sounds so lovely!

10:46 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Thanks Kay!
Hope Winter OK in NZ!

Teach me a lesson never to forget m'camera!

Chesh Wife:
Hopefully, YES!

I've STILL never got to Hay and there's no excuse as it's not that far away...

Yes, I'm all for the odd spot of Stateliness..

2:05 pm  

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