Monday, 29 August 2016

A Sunny August Bank Holiday in Chester

Sunday 28th and Monday 29th August, 2016 in Chester.
A spectacular sunrise greeted us. We were moored beside a golf course, which (strangely) had clearly been abandonned.
We'd decided to make an early start in order to be back in Chester for the morning service in the Cathedral, which included music by Thomas Tallis performed by a visiting choir. So, we set off at 7:20 and just an hour later we were at the bottom of the three staircase locks at Northgate. R got MM into the bottom lock while M set the top two locks.
M, while operating the locks, fell into conversation with a curious bystander who turned out to be a visitor from Croatia; he spoke little English and was on holiday here visiting friends.
He was eager to help with the locks and to learn how they worked. He helped M with the very stiff paddles after M showed him what to do. When we got to the top of the locks, we invited him on board as we sailed around the corner to our mooring.
His name was Gojko Ivandic and he was very sweet. M tried pronouncing his name - and failed miserably, much to his amusement!
We moored in the same place under the city walls as we had done on the way down and walked into the Cathedral. The service was lovely and pleasingly well attended. The visiting choir from Peterborough Cathedral sang beautifully and the Thomas Tallis was exquisite (if quite short).
The Cathedral is an imposing structure, built of local standstone, with a magnificent wooden ceiling.
Afterwards, we spent some time walking around the city centre. A street entertainer was making giant bubbles, much to the delight of passing children.
During the afternoon, R watched the Belgian Grand Prix.
We had walked the City walls before but decided that we would like to walk them at night. So, we set off at dusk. The Victorian Clock looked lovely in the twilight.
It was very atmospheric walking the two miles round the walls as it grew darker and darker. Finally, we arrived back to find MM below us illuminated by lamplight.
Monday dawned sunny yet again, very untraditional (and welcome) weather for a bank holiday!
Guy thought that he would brush up on his history of James Brindley. (no, the orchid isn't really sprouting out of his cap!!!)
It was pleasing to see how many people were gathered in the little park by the walls enjoying a sunny day by the canal. It was so warm that they all sat in the shade!
We walked alongside the canal down to the very large branch of Waitrose (for a few bits); the towpath there very much resembles a promenade with many folk out walking by the water and enjoying the canalside hostelries.
The former Shot Tower was even more impressive in the sunshine.

In the city centre, a sad comparison between the beautiful old building, now a thriving Boots store...
And the sad modern structure of the, now defunct, BHS store next door.
In the evening, we decided to eat out, a very rare event. On our perambulations, R had seen a Teppanyaki Restaurant next to the canal.
 M had never been to one before and had no idea what to expect. The evening was a great success and the chefs, as ever, provided superb entertainment and brilliant food.
Our "table" was full and eveyone had a hilarious time watching the chef's antics, which included tossing potato scallops for guests to catch in their mouths (with varying success). We spent a long time talking to the family next to us, who had come to Chester for the weekend from Warwickshire.
We walked back to MM having eaten far too much, but feeling very happy.
On Sunday: 3 miles, 3 locks and 1.8 hours.
Trip: 291 miles, 211 locks and 214.4 hours.

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