Monday, 19 November 2007


City walls.
Albion Inn and monks!
The dean leading the procession.
City walls to the South.
The famous clock on the walls.

Last weekend I went on retreat to the Chester Retreat House, which is a fine old Georgian building in Abbey Square, situated in the centre of the town. Alas, it was also a freezing cold house, indeed some of the major public rooms had no source of heat at all. Cold comfort was derived from the tinned tuna pie and spam as well, although I very much enjoyed the cornices and bas reliefs to the first floor, being a fan of such things from that period. Being higher up as well, they were saved from the ravages which have affected much of the rest of the house. We were informed that to the back of the (splendid) gardens was a heated prayer hut, which turned out to be an unheated shed with cracked windows, in which was a deckchair. A good retreat needs comfort, warmth and generosity of spirit unless indeed, it is supposed to be penitential. Saturday night saw a festival of police sirens until two in the morning as well, whether this was part of the planned festival or an adjunct to it, we were too full of irony to discover.
However, it is a fine town and I have here pictures of the famous Albion Inn, where the Campaign for Real Ale began in the seventies as people finally tired of our great national beverage being turned into a sort of tasteless dark lager. It, as well as countles other pubs now sell 'live' cask conditioned bitter and the lack of it is the exception, which is a direct reversal of how it used to be. Thank goodness for such a successful consumer group. The monks outside it were resting after carrying the relics of St Werburgh to Her new feretory in Chester Cathedral, where they are now on permanent display for veneration.