I’m afraid we have some sad news to report from the Manor. Just before Christmas our lovely cat Chester died unexpectedly, leaving us all devastated. Chester was a firm fixture at the Manor, I’d like to think of him as the supperclub equivalent of Chalky the dog! I know many of our guests were fond of him and would often ask where he was when I had chased him off to keep him away from the food! He was never fazed by a dining room full of strangers and would always strut in shamelessly to say hello. Anyway I thought I’d blog about some of my favourite supperclub related Chester memories as a fitting tribute to a top cat!
1. I will never forget our second ever event, which was a bonfire inspired ‘River Cottage’ supperclub. Hay smoked mutton was on the menu and Chester had been obsessed with it from the moment it came out of the fridge and into the oven. After dinner we treated guests to a bonfire, sparklers and fire lanterns in the garden. Through the kitchen window I caught Chester, out of the corner of my eye, launching himself onto the leftover mutton that Susie and I were saving for our dinner. We had to rush in to rescue it from his clutches!
2. Another naughty Chester story – Around the time of our first Christmas meal (Delia’s Christmas in December 2011) we played host to a student from the Leeds University Communications department. She was making a radio documentary about supperclubs as part of her coursework. We had to create lots of ‘supperclub sound effects’ for her which could be used to make the documentary sound more interesting and realistic. So this included running taps, chopping crunchy vegetables etc. In the end we took her into the dining room to be interviewed. It was all laid out for dinner with glassware and cutlery and so we chinked it all to make it sound like dinner was taking place. Suddenly we heard this all mighty crash and looked round to find Chester stood on the large dining table amidst a clutter of crockery he had knocked over. The student had recorded it all! This makes Chester sound like a terrible nuisance but the reason why these are such strong memories is that he never usually jumped up onto anything at all, he was far too lazy! He obviously wanted to have a good old nose at what on earth we were doing. Anyway the student promised that we could hear the documentary once it was finished but we’ve never seen (or heard!) it surface. It’s a shame really as I’d love to hear if Chester got his 30 seconds of fame!
3. The final memory is another naughty story, I guess they’re the best. As part of a plan to improve our presentation, over the past 18 months or so we’ve invested in some lovely new crockery and tableware. An investment piece has been a beautiful wooden board, made from olive wood, which we like to serve dainty canapés on. Well, when this first arrived and was unwrapped, Chester was very interested in it indeed. I’ve no idea what was in the olive wood, or the oil that was used to treat it. But whatever was in it had the effect of super strong cat nip on Chester who rolled around on the floor in submission to it! The effect was so strong that we’ve had to hide the board ever since and keep it away from him, most odd! So I’ll leave it there. There are many more stories I could share but I don’t want to bore you all completely. Chester was a big character at the Manor and will be hugely missed by all of us. RIP.