I turned on the radio yesterday. “June is Busting Out All Over” came washing over me from out of the speakers. I am not sure if the DJ on the local radio station was taking the piss or he was just a big fan of “Carousel”, but clearly he must be on a different planet than most around here.
At least we knew the inclement weather was coming. We have become obsessed with the weather reports and I have the BBC, Met Office and Google Weather reports for whatever region we are in, constantly at hand. When we heard about the storms and winds coming in from the Atlantic we made the decision to make a dash for Chester, if that is possible in a boat that averages 2mph. So we got to Chester a couple of days earlier than we had planned, but that’s fine with us. It’s one of our favourite cities. We moored right in the city centre, opposite The Mill Hotel, which we have stayed in on two occasions, once with the John Lewis crowd, so I know that a good room with a water view is well over £100 a night at this time of the year. So let it rain, I say. It cost us nothing to moor there.
Another plus is that we were less than five minutes to everything we, or perhaps I should say “I”, needed. KFC, Wilkinsons, Boots, WH Smiths and Wetherspoons and even a little Waitrose, so I have been able to get a JLP fix when I need it.
It hasn’t really stopped raining though. Saturday was, I believe rain free, but every day has been gray, and Pat had her gloves on over the weekend and I have had to wear waterproof leggings over my shorts, and I did finally put a pair of socks on for a day.
We stumbled upon “David”, Chester’s town crier on Friday. He “proclaims” daily in the centre of Chester, and when he saw us he promptly put Pat in the pillory for not spending any money or having any carrier bags on her person. I had to promise to rectify the situation, and her release was conditional on a spending spree. So Pat went for Gap and Next – I am more of a Primark boy, when it comes to value for money, so it was more shorts and espadrilles for me.
|David, Chester's Town Crier, consigns Pat to the Pillory for not having any carrier bags on her person.|
The following day we were walking the walls that surround the city centre and which go past Chester Racecourse, known as the Roodee. They were having a “Jubilee” meeting, so we hung around, selected a couple of horses that finished last and next to last, and watched the 3.10 race from the elevated splendour of the city walls.
|Pat backs the next-to-last in the 3.10pm at Chester races|
One of the outstanding things I like about the city is its pubs. Nearly everyone has something to offer, and a story to tell, and the beers I have tried have all been served at the correct temperature in very good condition. Best of all was The Brewery Tap, serving the “Spitting Feathers” range of beers, brewed in nearby Waverton. The pub, a Grade II+ listed hall, played host it King Charles I, but all the pubs we have tried are full of good beer.
And a hello to Narrowboat "Lily Pad" and Ian and Carol if you are out there somewhere. They were moored behind us in Chester.
So now we are almost back at Nantwich. On the way up to Chester,we stopped and ordered a navigation light, some paint and some new fenders from a chandlery in Barbridge which will not ready until Thursday so we have had a leisurely cruise back and will be back at this junction later this afternoon (Wednesday). As soon as we drew our pins and headed down the cut it started raining and is now bucketing down. I have just returned from a pint of “Ash Blonde” at the Olde Barbridge Inn, opposite from where we are moored and the towpath has flooded in the time it has taken me to drink a couple of pints.
However, compared to the weather stories we are hearing about, especially in the south-east, we have had mainly settled weather and yesterday morning we were down to T-shirts for an hour or two. Pat is getting the hang of the tiller and I hope to get her to steer into a few of the wide locks this coming weekend when we welcome our pals Dave and Carolyn, coming up to join us from Gloucester. Dave was one of my snagging crew on our maiden voyage early in April, so is familiar with the boat and Carolyn has visited as well.