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Feeding pigeons in Chester

July 29, 2011

The morning was frankly a struggle for that nice lady decorator. After rummaging around in my overnight bag, complaining that she could not find the toothpaste and accusing me of leaving it in Buckinghamshire she was in poor spirits before I gently pointed out that she was holding the Colgate her other hand. This amply illustrates the dangers of being Peachied (v. to be drawn inexorably into a drinking web) the day and night before.

A full English breakfast plus Bucks Fizz was served on the terrace before the gale increased to somewhere near storm force before we retreated inside to ready ourselves for Peachy’s tour of Chester, which, as I suspected, meant a cursory trot around the town before descending into a pub crawl. It seems they have no other entertainment this far north and thus head for the pub when they ever have any free time. I know you will realise that this is an entirely alien concept to me, but as I live in Valbonne, home to many of the idle rich and ladies that lunch,  I like to think I am adaptable, so I went with the flow (of ale).

Chester is a pretty city, which clearly encompasses a number of peculiar northern traditions. It was a shock however to discover that the locals have embraced the concept of the pigeon to the extent that they now have designated a special area in which the locals are encouraged to feed the pigeons as my picture today confirms.

The designated pigeon feeding area in Chester, with faithful pigeon fancier Peachy Butterfield doing a Dick Emery impersonation and getting the bird.

It is a sign of the progress that the locals are making; a pigeon feeding area must be a rudimentary trap from where they can cull these pests in order to supplement their meager diet which I have still contains dripping as a fundamental ingredient. I have never been quite certain how dripping is made and frankly don’t have the stomach to ask.

Later, the great and the good of Cheshire arrived at the naked politicians residence, where we are staying. Some were lucky enough to own motor vehicles but I am sure there must have been some horses or oxen carts around somewhere.

These hardy plucky simple folk had all been invited to a barbecue. When I ventured to suggest that perhaps the weather was a tad inclement for such adventurous or rather outdoor entertainment, I was told that the wind would help the peat fires burn and the rain (or sleet?) would help produce smoke which would increase the smoky seasoning of the various road kill, faithfully gathered by our hosts, thus embellishing the intended offering. Indeed the claim was made that wind and rain actually enhanced the experience. This was of course exactly the kind of thing I had feared when it was first suggested that we spend part of our vacation (not mentioning Currencies Direct) venturing this far north.

However one must admire the plucky resolve of our hosts who were determined not allow the fabulous English summer weather to interfere with the gathering.
By contrast, before midnight I had fetched and was wearing everything I could wear from my suitcase plus a borrowed fleece and woolly hat, but still could not keep out the cold.

Today, our last day in this tempestuous weather zone, we are promised lunch at somewhere call The Allan, which is in Wales, which is apparently quite close, then another dinner in the evening (pray to god – sorry Reverend Jeff – it is not to be staged outside).

Then tomorrow, at the crack of sparrows fart (quite early) the delicious prospect of a return home to Valbonne in France to restart the tanning process so devastated by the English weather.

Chris France

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