amble has been running for a while now; just over three years. Online and in print we’ve been recommending brunch spots, highlighting quirky events, interviewing artists, reviewing exhibitions, and introducing you to the best of independent Chester.
If you’ve been with us since the beginning, thank you for coming along for the ride.
If you’re checking us out for the first time, thank you for your curiosity.
We thought it was about time we lifted the curtain and said a proper hello. We shared a snapshot of our story in the Editor’s Letter of the first amble magazine, consider this our second outing.
HOW DID AMBLE START?
In April 2016, I moved from London to Chester with my husband, into a flat above Hanky Panky Pancakes. James set off each day to work in Deeside and I stayed in the flat, adjusting to life as a full-time homeworker.
It was very boring.
I didn’t know a soul. I missed the chit chat of a lively office and the flat was tiny. My lunch breaks become dates with boxsets. I held conversations with houseplants. When James came home I ran to the door, demanded all the details of his day and felt…relieved.
I’d traded one extreme for the other; loud, overwhelming London for total hibernation, and it wasn’t making me happy.
I started looking for local, social groups and found pretty much all of them met up evenings and weekends. By this point, James had become my comfort blanket. I was okay when I was with him. It was the time away, the weekdays, where I felt terribly lonely. Eventually (after I’d overcome my anxiety) I set up a lunchtime coffee club, to meet once a week.
Cue the standard thoughts: what if no one comes, what if no one likes me, I can’t believe I’m 28 and trying to make friends, what if I don’t like them? what do we talk about?
I could lie and say all those thoughts were ridiculous. But the truth is; mining from scratch for mates can be hard work; awkward silences, an absence of common ground, unrequited enthusiasm, small talk; oh yes, I had a fair few chats about the weather.
I could go on about this joyous phase, in fact, I have done, here. The point is that, like most things which terrify you and require a touch of bravery, I eventually struck gold. And that gold was Dave. You can see from the below that he feels the same about me.
Though many of the people I met through the coffee club were lovely, only one of them became my business partner and a fast friend (yes, in that order). It went a little something like this.
Me: It seems quite hard to find out about stuff going on in Chester. If only there was something…
Dave: I’m a web developer, I could build a site.
Me: I’m a writer, I could bosh out a few blogs.
Dave: Did we just start a business?
It would be another six months before we had a name and a firm idea of what we wanted amble to be. And in that time, playing pool in The Chi, coming up with terrible ideas, a ton of false starts, self-doubt, hysterical laughter and friendship building, we sluggishly began collecting recruits too.
Well, there was Elle, Dave’s cousin’s girlfriend, a baker I’d met through the Bumble app (I promise it’s not just for dating), Graham and Ali through Chester Writers (I started branching out), Gin, a chef, who emailed to see if he could get stuck in, and people like my husband James, who I threatened with divorce until he agreed to write.
We’d started something. It wasn’t clear what. It wasn’t refined, or regular, but we didn’t mind – for both Dave and I, it meant two big things – one, we were suddenly out and about in Chester all the time doing fun things, and two we’d accidentally created a friendship group.
At current headcount, there’s 27 of us – a number constantly in flux. Contributors come and go, take breaks and return, help out with different things to different degrees. But we all have a lot in common; donating time and skills for free, working full-time jobs elsewhere, and loving Chester. Dave and I have been incredibly lucky with who we’ve met, been introduced to, and contacted by. Our seemingly random encounters have expanded into a social group which makes Chester feel like home and a business some of us want to, eventually, dedicate all our time to.
WHO ARE WE?
Copywriters, Chefs, Event Managers, Illustrators, Photographers, Teachers, Freelancers, Admin Assistants, Bakers, Baristas, Graphic Designers, Unemployed.
The personal investment in amble is huge. We take the time to write about, champion and interact with the exciting people, businesses and goings on in this city, because we want to retain the colour in the place we love and work. We want to encourage creative collaborations, get behind new ideas, and illuminate the small but wonderful.
HOW CAN YOU TAKE PART?
Contribute – if you want to write, design, discuss an idea or just tell us about something interesting, we’d love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask – Not sure where to go for breakfast? Need a photographer? New to the city? We’ve built a network of friendly, talented people who know Chester inside out. Let’s see if we can help.
Join in – We’re part of a local group of creatives working away on a new, city centre Coworking space, opening Spring 2020. Follow us on Twitter for the latest, here.