After two days of typical Mancunian rain the weather broke and we had the prospect of a sunny Bank Holiday Monday to look forward to.
With a spring in our hair and the wind in our step we climbed aboard the little Northern Rail diesel train and set off for Chester.
This train went direct from Stockport to Chester through the beautiful Cheshire countryside, stopping at great sounding places like, Cuddington, Lostock Gralam and Mouldsworth. We watched buzzards soaring above the Cheshire plain from the comfort of our seats and were grateful that we weren’t stuck in Bank Holiday traffic on the M56.
The only annoyance to our journey was the family who parked themselves next to us and proceeded to let their children scream and shout and play their iPads loudly. I decided to zone them out as best as I could and fight the urge to squeeze their little darlings through the narrow ventilation windows.
Chester is a gorgeous place with a stunning cathedral and a medieval wall running all around the old town, and on a bright sunny day like this it was wonderful.
The centre of the City is mainly shops like the centre of most cities but these are, what looks like, Elizabethan wattle and daub overhanging buildings. Imagine a Shakespearean shopping mall, or Ye Olde Disney Store, and you’re not far off. As it was hot and crowded we dodged the shops and headed for the Cathedral for sanctuary.
As I get older and more anti-social I find I’m growing to enjoy old churches and temples. For one they’re quiet and most of the people there are quiet, dead quiet, in fact many are dead. I’ve got nothing against dead people. In my experience, people, like wine, usually get more interesting with age, especially when that age runs into the several hundreds of years.
Cathedrals are designed to impress you with God’s majesty and power, and even though I’m not particularly religious, I was still impressed.
After the cathedral we decided to walk the city walls and see the sights from thirty feet up. We passed Chester Racecourse – the oldest in the world apparently and found ourselves down by the River Dee in what looked like a Parisian film set.
A jazz band entertained, while couples listened hand-in-hand. Artists sold artistic representations of Women’s arses by the pavement and there was even an accordion player in a beret. There was also, what looked like a Hell’s Angels gang parked up, but they were all probably accountants by the look of them and the bikes were more for show than terrorising the locals.
Seduced by the balmy weather and dodgy ragtime band, Clare and I succumbed and sat for a while, eating our 99’s and watching the pleasure boats go by – it was lovely.
I’m trying to live more in the moment and enjoy things without worrying about what’s next, or just around the corner and this was a perfect example of when that philosophy pays off. Sitting with someone you love, enjoying a moment together and relaxing – isn’t that what life’s all about in the end? I’m starting to sound a bit French now, perhaps that’s the accordion player is having an affect?
Needless to say, it was a lovely moment.
Eventually, we left little Paris and moved on, finishing the last bit of the wall and heading home.
Until next time,