Chester Lit Fest – Handbridge Yarns
I was lucky enough yesterday to catch a couple of speakers at the Handbridge Yarns event, organised by Emma Rees and held at my local The Carlton Tavern.
It was a fantastic event – I was suprised at just how packed it was; it’s so nice to realise how local community still exists and we’re not all merely strangers these days.
Being a very new Handbridge resident (apparently 18 years is ‘new’ so my 2 years is rather paltry to say the least!) it was fantastic to hear some of the more personal accounts and some of the history that the history books doesn’t tell you.
The first reader I saw was Lisa Rosetti. Her talk took the form of a very lyrical ‘walk’ around Handbridge. I was particularly taken with her closing line “somewhere near Nowhere but a lot closer to Paradise” (you won’t understand that if you’ve not visited..!) and accounts of a lost Medieval village on the meadows.
The second reader I heard was local historian Stan Murphy. His specialist subject is local mental asylums and he gave a fascinating account of murder and porphyria in the Handbridge community, entitled ‘Dobson’s Complaint’. Apparently there is a unique strain of the disease named ‘Chester Porphyria’. I thoroughly enjoyed his talk and will have to look into the subject more.
Unfortunately we had to leave early, as I had my reading to go to, but it was a wonderful, heartwarming and fascinating way to spend an afternoon (the Marble Ginger ale wasn’t too shabby either!) and my congratulations go out to Emma for organising such an enjoyable and successful event – hopefully it’ll be a regular one at the Literature Festival.