UNITED KINGDOM: Chester, Liverpool and Salisbury

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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.

 

THE ANTIQUE SHOP – Before going for lunch, Sarah & I had embarked on a mission in downtown Chester that had its origins in my first visit to this town two and a half years ago. I had purchased some gifts at a local antique store on the main street, and they had failed to turn up under some sketchy circumstances. I later called the shopkeeper to get my money credited back to my card which never happened either.

The time had come. Armed with my original receipts as well as Sarah Drover, I made tracks for The Antique Shop which was conveniently shut tight even though it was well past opening time. We walked about looking at the shops to work up an appetite, with hopes that the proprietor would turn up shortly. Emerging from a toy store across the street I spotted him struggling to get the door open. Sarah and I steeled ourselves and went over our revamped relaxed strategy. After all we still had our ace in the hole. If all else failed there was always Corey who is an ex-marine and personal trainer who is built like a brick shithouse.

We gave the guy a few minutes to get the lights on before we entered. The shop was a bit disheveled, and he apologized about the condition of the store. We assured him it was no problem, and carried on exchanging pleasantries. After five minutes or so, I reminded him of the details of my first visit and produced the receipts. So far so good. He seemed to be amenable to me taking merchandise equal to my prior purchase of one hundred pounds which was pretty much my plan anyway. Sarah was ready go for the cash and run.

I decided I didn’t really want to get anything I would have to ship, and I spotted some Medieval rings that I had seen on my previous visit. With the advent of Game of Thrones these things were quite popular, and are big sellers for him. I tried on a few and found a couple that I liked. My favorite was one that I had picked out when I first visited his shop. It had been waiting for me upon my return, and just happened to cost ninety-five pounds.

So I left the shop with a fiver, a 12th. century Medieval ring and a big smile on my face. Mission accomplished. No arguments. No grousing. No chocolate mess.

THE DROVERS – SARAH & COREY – I’m so glad Sarah shot down the first photo because this one’s a real winner, and I am just healing up from my tumble in the Caribbean. Just a word to the wise, putting up anything but top grade material of a lady on a blog can result in serious consequences.

CELTIC ARMS – On my last day we went for Sunday Roast in Wales. The Celtic Arms did not disappoint.

The food here is as good as the interior design. Our meal took a while to arrive. I tucked in so voraciously that I failed to get a photo of my giant lamb shank with potatoes dauphinoise and root vegetables in a sweet red wine reduction sauce. Jesus H. Christ, it was without question the best I’ve ever had. A picture may