Having missed my usual UK visit last year, I am most pleased to be landing here first after crossing the Atlantic for this year’s adventure. My travels last year took me to the magnificent Greek island of Santorini, where I met a lovely British couple on a sailing ship who were celebrating their 5th. anniversary. They possessed winning personalities, a sly wit, Northern English sensibilities and most importantly, hated Morocco as much as I did.
NORWEGIAN AIR – Very nice economy airline with good entertainment and friendly flight attendants with cool hats.
So, after a bus, a jet, three trains and a Merc, I arrived with Corey and Sarah at their home just outside Chester, a charming English town just a stone’s throw from Liverpool. Once there, I was ladled into the lap of luxury, where I found myself in a cozy ensuite bedroom ensuring I would enjoy a fantastic stay amongst good company. Our first business would be to see a proper Jazz show at an amazing local venue, featuring a quartet from the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
The pianist knew his way around Ray Charles, and we were treated to an evening of his material before jet lag inevitably took its toll on me. The sax player kind of looked like Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd after a hard night of drinking.
COMFORTLAND – I’m going to be in trouble when I head back to my Hostel existence, because my time in Drover Manor has made me soft as the bed I was sleeping upon. Being chauffeured about in a brand new Mercedes hasn’t helped matters either.
IDYLLIC INDOOR SHOPPING
The Beautifully Restored Town Clock
CANCER PREVENTION CHOIR
Corey prepares to tuck into his Steak & Shake burger, a franchise he discovered in Ibiza last year. Those shakes are five quid each. I wonder what Travolta would have had to say about that. Probably, “Do they put bourbon in that?” This is the only franchise in all of Great Britain so he gets to come by and reminisce about his beloved Ibiza. What a break. Whenever he feels like a vacation, he can just stop in and transport his stomach back to Ibiza through a tasty burger.
MORE CHARMING CHESTER
CÔTE BRASSERIE – Sarah and I had a delicious three-course lunch here which included coq au vin for only 13 pounds each. The only wrinkle was the clueless Eastern European waitress. When asked for a recommendation between a couple of dishes, she essentially responded that she didn’t find any of the main courses the least bit desirable.
It’s a good thing the chef didn’t overhear the conversation. He would have probably filleted her with his favorite carving knife. I suspect the dullard probably arrived in the UK in a packing crate, and is working for slave wages. It really is the only explanation for such dimwitted service. Because of this we felt it only humane to leave her a decent tip since she didn’t seem to have a malevolent bone in her body.
Evidently this is a chain restaurant, so if you happen to spot one in the UK, you can’t go wrong. If you happen to be in Chester and need a laugh make sure and seek out the waitress with the Eastern European accent.