Thursday, November 13, 2014

On Chester and a Whole Lot of Walls and Gates

The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore. - Samuel Butler

I once read this interview with Haruki Murakami in which he said that to write, one must be physically strong. Because there is a door one must open to go into the Other Room, the writing-headspace. And if you aren't physically strong enough to open this door, then you won't be able to do it. What a wacky and beautiful idea. That guy is nuts. 

Speaking of wacky and beautiful, my vegetable peeler is missing. I thought you guys should know that. I use it daily so I know exactly where it should be but now it's not there. Then I started looking in other places it may have gone - the bottom of the dishwasher, the dish towel drawer, the basket of potatoes - and it is SERIOUSLY nowhere to be found. It's not even in the microwave, which is where I once found a coffee mug hiding out. When a veg peeler does a runner, what chance do the rest of us have? 

In other news, CHESTER!

 This black-and-white architecture is famous and has some historical significance but I can't remember what it was and I'm too lazy to look it up Yeah. The shopping area is called The Rows and if you look closely, you can see that there's an upstairs sidewalk lined with shops in addition to the usual ground-level storefronts. Also, there are British men in tweed caps. They don't even cost extra.

This is the Eastgate Clock! Apparently it is the second-most photographed clock in the UK after Big Ben. WILDCHESTERFACTS. 

Now for the fun part: my walk along the City Wall! Youguys, I can't say enough about doing it in November. It's cold and wet and your nose will run and OH THE MISERY WILL MAKE YOU FEEL ALIVE. Also, alone:

So very, very alone.

WOLF GATE! So - here's some almost-proper history - this was originally called Wolf Gate but then in the middle of some bit it got changed to Peppergate, and during that time - and I mean ages ago - a girl used this gate to elope with 'a common draper' and her dad was so mad he made them start locking it at night which led to a local saying 'when the daughter is stolen, shut the Peppergate,' which is basically 'closing the stable door after the horse has fled', but I have to tell you, I didn't hear any locals using it. 
And now Peppergate is back to being called Wolf Gate again! Also part of this structure is called Newgate. So it has, like, three names. Awesome.

This is a photo of Hugh Lupus, or 'Hugh the Wolf,' their first emperor. His banner makes me laugh, because WHAT KIND OF WOLF IS THAT?! I'll bet he totally had a pet pit bull and was all, 'Who's going to call me on it? I'M THE EMPEROR.'

The Goblin Tower! Sort of. More like a tower built on TOP of Goblin Tower and called Pemberton's Parlour.

Okay, so I have occasionally been accused of showing life as a giant bowl of cherries viewed through rose-coloured glasses, and also mixing metaphors, leading to the impression that my life is full of travel and those travels are Perfect and Romantic and Thrilling and That Can All Be Misleading*. So let's show some Real Pictures for a minute:

This is what Pemberton's Parlour / the Goblin Tower actually looks like right now. 
I don't think the scaffolding has any historical merit, but I could be wrong. You know me and history.

Sometimes you look over the city wall and instead of seeing parks and canals and rivers, there is sexy sexy road.

And sexy sexy construction sites.



A Cathedral!
A Cathedral!

Town Hall!
Also, there's that moment you pass Town Hall and realise you are missing the Magical Tree Lighting Ceremony by ONE DAY.

You know when you're in a beautiful, enchanting city, maybe Florence, maybe Brooklyn, and there's a Market and you go to check it out and you're so glad you did because it's full of charming charmingness, with lovely local produce like tomatoes that look like flying saucers, or freshly-baked baguettes, or eighteen different kinds of cheeses and olives and honeys and jams and also maybe there's some handicrafts, like some beautiful silk scarves or cozy woolen throws or little clay pots and OH THE YEARNING TO SHOP HERE ALWAYS! 

And then you go to Chester's Town Market:
A cozy concrete warehouse where you can fulfill your heart's desire for wrapping paper, rabbit hutches, one-pound dvd's and yarn, all under one roof. There was even sign indicating a Toe Nail Clipping Service! I KNOW. I want this to be my local shop, too.

Though I have to admit the haberdashery was fantastic. I DARE YOU NOT TO FIND THE BUTTON YOU NEED HERE.

I saw a sign next to the River Dee warning of 'marauding Welshmen,' a possibility which initially terrified me until I saw that they're still training their children to be legionnaires. So we're fine.

This is the Commonhall St. Social which has been open exactly a week today and LOOK HOW PRECIOUS IT IS. Those cushions are made from coffee sacks they actually had their coffee delivered in. I nearly punched myself in the face.

This food was not enjoyed at the Commonhall, though their menu looked great. I  was directed to The Brewery Tap for proper moreish British food. And I was not disappointed: the white bean and rosemary soup and Welsh rarebit were perfect.

And it looks so appetizing!

That was about when I passed out from exhaustion and started the walk back to the train station. Chester threw out one last leaving gift on my way: 

Sunset on a canal, with birds. I KNOW.

Big hugs and lots of love,

*It IS Perfect and Romantic and Thrilling, jerks.


  1. Your vegetable peeler is probably with the peelings of what you peeled. That's where I lost mine. But as usual love the blog and of course the most amazing photos! Love the cathedrals, the gates and especially the sunset, with birds, over the canal.

    1. I think you are right! I'll be paying more attention now with my new peeler!!