Bristol LeatherWest Weekend
Sir had a great interest in going to this first arranged weekend. I personally haven’t been down to Bristol in around 10 years. However, I was really looking forward to it, as it was going to be a chance to meet up again with my other Sir (@deadliftbear) and spend some more time with Andy (@themoodybear) who was also joining us for the weekend.
The Friday started with us getting to the nominated hotel around 7.30pm in the evening. The Friday’s events were listed as a Welcome Party and then a BLUF event/dinner too. We aren’t members of BLUF. Sir has a bit of an issue with the concept of it all, so we’ve never joined and decided that for the first night we would just go out for a meal to catch up and then on to the welcome party. The hotel “Future Inns” was situated right across from the Cabot Circus Shopping centre, an excellently placed for the short walk to the gay bars of Bristol too (would recommend it, for anyone wanting to check out the area). We ate in TGI Fridays, which was busy for a Friday night, and then went to the Bristol Bear Bar but got there at around 9.30pm. We had obviously missed the crowd because besides the 2 lovely gentlemen on the door who explained what was going on, there was no-one in there in leather and most of the crowd had headed off to the BLUF party. After half an hour in the Bristol Bear bar, we headed to the venue that had hosted the BLUF night, as someone had mentioned that there was also a bar there too, you could get into even if not a BLUF member, so we headed there and the atmosphere was much better. Albeit, Tony and Darren spent a lot of time outside smoking cigars and talking to the leathermen, Andy and I stayed inside minding the drinks but also engaging in a bit of pup howling along to the 80’s records being pumped out at the bar. It was good to catch up with Neil, who was the official photographer at the event, and the initial pics he’s been posting have been great, although I don’t think we had a single picture taken all weekend, but that’s easy to explain with all the gorgeous leather-men around.
The BLUF event was downstairs, and we were told that there was quite an ornament in that of a leather boy strapped to the pool table downstairs, but I didn’t venture down, nor have I seen any photo’s circulating online. We didn’t have too late a night and we wandered home not too late. Darren wasn’t feeling too well, something we now put down to the TGI food or a bug that each one of us suffered with over the course of the weekend.
The Saturday was met with breakfast at the hotel (included in the price of a great value room package organised by the BLW team), and then we went onto the Puppy Training Workshop being organised by @bootbrush and his master. Having never done any official training, I was really looking forward to this, so we headed back to the Retreat, this time to venture downstairs. Unfortunately the venue downstairs was tiny, and the workshop was taking place in a room far too small for the people who were in attendance. We all crammed in, and the workshop was really really informative and I got to wear my gear during the 2nd half and sit down by Master, but at the end of the workshop, Tony encountered the same TGI/Bug and we all left early. I had hoped that the workshop would give an opportunity for more practical training (i’m not sure why, but in my head I imagined a Barbara Woodhouse style training school!), but poor Bootbrush was totally hindered by the space issue at the venue. I would totally recommend attending any other training sessions that they put on, as its full of things I hadn’t thought about and really good training for handlers or prospective handlers too.
We got a couple of hours downtime so that Tony could recover for the evenings celebration, then ended up going to Bella Italia for food, and then all went out in our leathers for the main event which was back at the Retreat venue. I just went out in my leather gear, as there didn’t seem any appetite to pup out further, and we got to Retreat bar as they were starting the final judging of the Mr Leatherwest. All the contestants were hot as hell, and the technology behind voting via an app that you could download for the weekend was stunning. In all honestly, I felt a bit out of it at the event – the venue was really crowded to get everyone into it, and a lot of people stood outside for the majority of the evening which was good as it was fairly mild. A highlight of the night was meeting (or rather getting to see) @pupxanto as he looked amazing in his leather motorcycle one-piece and pup hood. I headed back to the hotel early though and had an early night as the TGI/Bug hit and I felt really rotten towards the end. Although I did hear of his pupping exploits outside of The Palace later that evening, which sounded fun.
Sunday was tinged with sadness as we had to head back fairly early, so after a quick breakfast and saying goodbye with as many hugs as I could fit in with Darren, we left for the journey back. I also managed to get all the puppy treats that Darren made, so I enjoyed them when I got back!
I really enjoyed the 1st weekend, and would definitely do it again, although I hope they could find a larger venue for the main parties really. The people there though were all so friendly, it made for a great weekend. Next year, the event is going to be “UK Leather Pride“, so it will be interesting to see what changes this has.