Chester has some real characters — try Calum [pictured above at cigar shop Turmeaus].
I’ve been helping to uncover some of them recently with a series of guest blog posts for the Chester Growth Partnership.
It’s a copywriting job with plenty of journalistic research and a touch of personal blog-post-style experience.
Over autumn I’ve interviewed some key figures from the Chester foodie scene, experts in property and uncovered offbeat ideas for Christmas shopping on a tour of the Rows.
It’s been great, in particular, to celebrate the independent shops and small business that make the city special.
The content is hosted on the blog but also shared through the Marketing Cheshire social channels — look out for my stories on Facebook and LinkedIn.
The full set of guests posts is as follows. Look out for more in the new year.
Eat, drink and be merry: Chester’s foodie revolution
Could the future of Chester be more Blade Runner than black and white
Medieval cellars, an adult creche and German sausages — that’s how to celebrate Christmas in Chester
Another half-term holiday then.
This year, swamped by a sudden upsurge in freelance work, we stayed close to home with commissions for articles around Cheshire and Wales.
First up was a trip to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Cheshire [pictured], for a story in The Guardian.
Read the whole story, Take the Kids to … Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.
Second was an overnight stay in Aberystwyth and a ride on the Vale of Rheidol steam railway for Best Loved Hotels’ customer magazine.
The final version is out in the new year but here’s a sneak preview:
The craggy, stone-cut tunnel appeared to close in around us as we approached the final stop at Devil’s Bridge, a foreboding darkness briefly engulfing the carriage.
This is Hinterland country, the backdrop to the S4C Welsh-noir detective series, and home to generation-spanning folk legends.
I’m now back on the hunt for new family-travel ideas. Got a story? Please get in touch.
The next issue of Tortoise magazine is out soon.
I’ve written an article for Chester’s new independent publication about Big Heritage, the not-for-profit organisation installing heritage attractions in historic buildings.
It’s based around an interview with Managing Director Dean Paton, who I met at Sick To Death [pictured above], the attraction about the history of medicine.
Here’s a sneak preview of the story:
“I always loved history and archaeology but, traditionally, it has been seen as a sport for the middle classes,” says Dean.
He is showing me around the Sick to Death exhibits, including a section dedicated to the first recorded incidents of The Plague in Chester in the early 17th century.
By 1603, we learn, 92% of deaths in Chester were due to plague.
“The problem with a lot of heritage attractions,” he adds. “is that there’s no excitement, no love.”
The organisation has also just completed a major project to reopen Western Approaches, the former secret WWII bunker under Liverpool. Dean is now working on a new project in Chester.
Read the full article in Tortoise magazine, available in independent shops, cafes and arts venues around Chester.
I’m normally the one who asks the questions.
But, this week, I did an interview with amble, the new online magazine for Chester.
It’s strange talking about myself when I’m used to being the interviewer, not the interviewee. It’s for a profile piece about the creative community around Chester.
So what did we talk about?
How to get into journalism. Is print dead? Chester as a place to live and work. Black magic in Cuba. Barbie cruises. Hosting a forthcoming event at the Chester Literature Festival.
Writing a review of the recent Nick Cave gig to mark a quarter century since my first ever published article.
And, finally, a sneak preview of my new book, Inside Fatherhood, coming out in March next year.
Read the full article, Inside the world of a professional writer.