Fun at the Cheltenham Literature Festival (start)

So now here’s the first part of my “fun” activities – we went to a few events during the first part of the Cheltenham literature Festival, just before going on holiday to Brittany (next post). So this year we have managed to attend all of the different festivals held in Cheltenham. Starting with the jazz Festival (May), then the science Festival (June), the music Festival (July) and finally the literature Festival (October). I must admit my favourites are actually the jazz and science Festivals, but they’re all enjoyable really and the people we meet are just great ! There’s even a few of us that seem to meet every year and it’s good to just get out and meet people, and enjoy eating out – we are quite well-known / regulars at Pizza Express and Ask Italian.

Now “Literature”: We seem to choose quite a weird and eclectic selection; so what was it this year?

We started with a really full programme on Saturday, 3rd October with ‘Europe Debate – In Or Out?’ (Big crowd – 1500 people), followed by bit of shopping and meal at Pizza Express. Now the next event would probably be considered a little unusual / in bad taste by many, given that we’d just eaten – ‘Dictators’ Dinners: Bad Taste Guide To Entertaining Tyrants’ and was in a much smaller, more intimate venue but really interesting !  Finally, before heading home for bed, we saw ‘Hatchet Job 2 – Critics Return’, which was an unusual choice, seeing that we hadn’t seen ‘Hatchet Job 1’ last year. The weather had been kind to us, we had had a long and tiring day, but it had been enjoyable and we knew that we had a day off the following day (Sunday).

After a relaxing Sunday, we started a more varied Monday. A late start and I went to indulge in some foot pampering, whilst Kevin went off to replenish our food supplies at the supermarket. We’d only booked a couple of events for Monday and these didn’t start until mid-afternoon with ‘The Book of Spice’, which was interesting, very civilised and included a cup of tea and a slice of iced cardamom cake ! Then a quick meal in Ask Italian before our only other event, which was a discussion with Rick Stein. It’s fair to say, that Monday was rather food orientated, which is never a bad thing in my book.

We had another day’s rest on Tuesday (well it is our last festival of the year, and I have had quite a few things to contend with recently !)  –  Now Wednesday dawned and it was all about fun. We booked only one event  for the evening and I’m not really sure of its literary content, but it was a great laugh anyway. We went to see ‘Pointless’  in that huge venue where we had seen the opening debate and again it was packed with a crowd of about 1500 people. The event was really an excuse   for the TV quiz show host (Alexander  Armstrong)  and his very tall  and supposedly brainy co-host (Richard Osman)  to interview each other onstage,  reminisce about funny guests and their peculiar habits and finally to challenge Alexander Armstrong to play the quiz against the audience. Now if you’ve never seen the quiz before on TV  you can just ignore this paragraph, but believe me it was a riot and great fun was had by everyone !

Thursday, 8th October and the last day of the festival (as far as we were concerned) before catching the over night ferry to France the next day. We started the afternoon with a special version of ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a clue’  (my dad’s suggestion)  –  another big event with a sell-out crowd and finished with a smaller discussion  between 3 Australians  entitled ‘Bush, Beach and Beer’.

All in all it had been a very enjoyable few days, which we paced fairly well and set us up (me in particular) in a relaxed frame of mind for our forthcoming holiday in Brittany. More about that in my next post, a little later than I’d intended, because this one has taken me 3 days to compose piecemeal –  and there aren’t even any pictures !  I promise there will be some  in my next post.

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