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  • Rob Marrs

Presentation Evening 2015

Tuesday 10th, November

One the committee’s prime objectives has been to suggest events that are attractive to both members and their partners. We feel that promoting such functions is important for attracting new members and for the future success of Chester Caledonian Association. Thus, the idea of finding a good speaker to give a talk to the members, partners and guests in a relaxed environment was born.

The first of these “Presentation Nights” was scheduled for the 10th of November. To supply the relaxed environment, the upstairs room of the Bear and Billet was booked. This fine pub in Lower Bridge Street is one of finest examples of a black and white half-timbered buildings in Chester. Its history goes back to 1664 when it was built to replace a building destroyed during the civil war and has been an inn since the 18th Century. Of particular importance is the fact that John Lennon’s grandmother, Annie Jane Millward, was born in the Bear and Billet in 1874. To quote Michael Caine – “Not a lot of people know that.”

Thirty two members, partners and guests gathered in the downstairs bar from half past seven onwards. Those partaking of the beer pronounced it excellent and it is surprising that quite a few of the company stated they had never visited the Bear and Billet. You see – Chester Caledonian Association members really are an abstemious bunch. The steep, narrow, polished wood staircase that wound up to the top floor was a slight problem but there were comfortable seats for everyone in the oak panelled room. It is fair to say that there could be no excuse for going hungry as the buffet was positively gargantuan.

After chairs at several Universities, Professor Wheeler was appointed Principal of University College Chester in 1998 and became its first Vice-Chancellor in 2005. Professor Wheeler’s presentation had the intriguing title of “Donkey meat, monkey brains, congealed ducks’ blood – a gourmet’s guide to travels in China”. So what was the Professor’s link with China? He explained that he had to spend a great deal of time in China negotiating collaborative educational projects and student exchanges. In his fascinating talk, he sandwiched interesting facts about life and business in China with numerous anecdotes concerning his experience of meals in China. In the UK, what we think of as Chinese food is actually a “Westernised” form of Cantonese cuisine. When in China, the dishes encountered are rather strange for our conservative tastes – hence the title of the talk. This juxtaposition of fact and humour worked well and his audience thoroughly enjoyed an excellent presentation from a good speaker.

The committee hopes to repeat these nights as the feedback indicated that those attending had enjoyed the evening.

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