Visiting Our Estate

‘Wild nights are my glory,’ Mrs. Whatsit said,
‘I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course.’

Excerpted from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time

Caught in a down draft, eh? Well, warm yourself with a pint of cider, dear, and let’s unwind those scarves. It’s just good to see you back, Mrs. W!

Gentle Reader, you’d be surprised at the way some of our guests arrive here at our Estate. With the food and drink, it’s no surprise, of course, but I have a feeling that some of our guests have seen some pretty exotic fare, even by our standards. And it never ceases to amaze me how many interesting folks I meet here — it’s given me some insights as to where some novelists get their material. Some rather limited types like to nod, with one of those sharp, ‘knowing’ looks and suggest that these folks appear because they’ve taken shape as pages are turned and young imaginations expand. But I rather think it’s those who set pen to paper, quill to parchment, fingers to keyboards, or even voice to microphone that are making us see what is already there. They are the true dreamers, the ones who slip in here, off the subway and down the path, through the wardrobe and across the bridge. And sometimes they write. Well. Fame can be difficult even in these parts, and I do wonder at the relationships that develop between writers and their subjects. After all, you rarely see disclaimers by novelists that characters are not meant to resemble folks who slip between worlds at will. Take Mrs. W, for example — folks are always pestering for help, and want to know the star’s perspective. Sheesh. It’s enough to get anyone to doctor their tea! But she takes it all in stride, sticks her feet back into those wet boots, and is charming to all.

But pity the poor tourist who asks for an autograph! We’re a bit like New Yorkers here: we let folks be themselves and take pride in not gaping at the famous. And the fact is, our crowd is as varied and unusual as you might wish, fame or no. It’s a bit like the Neverending Session — guest players get some attention, but soon come to realise that the regulars have some amazing moves, and soon the pressure to be special is lost to the joy of playing with such talents as can be found here. So, hang your coat up here, dry your boots by the fire, line up for some cider and take that barstool over there. You’re sure to find some great conversation here at the Green Man Pub, and you may be surprised where you meet up with these folks again!

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