Adventures at home.

Ok, so I haven’t updated the blog in a while.

As most of you know, it’s what I call adventure season at the moment (and about to come to an end).

Basically, adventure season, is the time between the beginning of April and the end of August.

I still do adventures outside this time, but for the last 5 years (and mainly the last 3) I try and get away on as many weekends for trips away in the UK, to make the most of the weather.

I’ve been on about 13 weekends away this year, and it’s been fantastic.

Just for a change though, I’ve decided to talk about the adventures I do at home. This is a list of some of the things I’ve done in the last 6 weeks.

Like everything else on this site, I don’t say this to brag, it’s put up here sincerely, in the hope it may provide inspiration.

Music Train.

On the Music train

Glenn organised an evening on the Chester music train.

Not exactly as fun as it looks on this picture on their website, but certainly not a dull evening.

The basic idea, is that you get on a train, and some folk musicians “entertain” you.

Its a normal running train (so basically a bit uncomfortable, and doesn’t have a buffet trolley) that goes from Chester to Plumley.

When it arrives in Plumley, we get off and have a couple of hours in the Golden Pheasant pub, where the musicians perform.

We have a few drinks and a nice meal, then its back on the train and more hi-jinx as we thunder back towards Chester.

Overall, a pretty interesting evening with good company (including Glenn).

If you go yourself, take some drinks for the train.

Trip to the Theatre.

Theatre - Dog in the night time

Known locally as a man of the arts, I’m sometimes frustrated that my home – Chester (that quaint British city/village) has no theatre (and that the new one has cost £40,000,000 so far !).

So I usually end up going to the theatre either in Wrexham or Liverpool.

I saw an advert for a play called “The curious incident of the dog in the night time“.

Nikki and I went to the Liverpool Empire to watch it (earlier in the year, we’d been to see 3 other plays in Liverpool so I’d grown to like it there).

I won’t spoil it, but the story was really engaging, and they had amazing visual effects using among other things, 6 light projectors.

Specialist catered Barbecue.

Catered Barbecue.

There used to be an advert for cigars some years ago. The slogan went “Castella for the man that thinks that little bit bigger”.

Nikki and I were invited to her friends Barbecue. When we got there, I expected Derrick to be flipping burgers and Marie to be tossing salad with wooden spoons.

Instead, they were socializing with everyone, and had hired Big 5 catering, to do their barbecue.

Big 5 were courteous and professional the whole time, the food was delicious and they cleared everything up afterwards.

Brilliant weather and a fantastic afternoon.

* Big 5 is just their name. They don’t actually make Lion burgers or anything like that.

Noel performing at Alexander’s open mike night.

Noel singing at Alexanders.

It’s important to have friends (I’m incredibly popular, so I have hundreds).

A friend from work called Noel (a front end developer) owns a Guitar and likes to play at venues.

Since he was playing at Alexander’s, on the open mike night, I decided to go over and hear him perform.

He turned out to be really good, and while there I realised 2 other friends from work had turned up with the same idea.

Wine tasting at Urbano32.

Wine tasting at Urbano 32

Most Sunday evenings (as the weekends drawing to a close and work/the need to wash clothes/putting train sets away, hovers on the imminent horizon) we go out for a drink and something nice to eat.

Our 2 favourite venue’s for this are Artichoke or Urbano32.

While out in Urbano32, the manager there (Claire who I’ve known for years and previously worked at BT with Dan and his henchmen) mentioned they were doing a wine tasting evening.

Cork’s out is our normal wine tasting venue of choice, with the excellent Tom. But why not try something different we thought, so immediately signed up.

On the evening, there was a 2 course meal and 2 white’s 2 red’s and a sparkling wine. All for £20 each, which I thought was superb value.

Their director of wine talked us through the different wines, and when the tasting glasses were empty, we bought a bottle of one of them, they were that good.

They’re doing another one on the 10th of September and were looking forward to that already.

Boat trip and my first Hen do.

Lisa Hen Do.

My friend Lisa from Phonak was getting married.

Lyndsay Lomax, my friend who now lives in Switzerland was coming over for the Hen do, so I arranged to meet her for an hour before the Hen (which would be a cruise on the Princess Diana boat along the river Dee in Chester).

Nikki joined us later, then the fun really started.

Turned out, 2 of Lisa’s guests had been forced to cancel. There were 2 tickets going to this great event, and she asked if Nikki and I would like to go.

I was a bit nervous as I’d be the only man (and I was dressed for an afternoon around Chester, not a special occasion).

But these people are friends I’ve know for years I reasoned, and although I’ve been on the boat before, I’ve never been to a party on 1.

As it was, a fantastic night out, with really good food, brilliant company and the Phonak girls even brought a selfie stick with them.

Lisa and Phil got married yesterday. Due to family commitments, I wasn’t able to attend but I sincerely wish them every happiness in the future.

Lunch in West Kirby and live Comedy evening.

Nikki and Cousin Mark.

Nikki’s cousin Mark comes up to Chester to see her every now and then, and we’ve become firm friends.

Couple of weeks ago, we took him to the Wro in West Kirby for lunch, then walked over to Hilbre Island.

Afterwards we had coffee at a small place there, and I realised it was right next to Sarah’s Mum’s old house (I place I spent many happy times, in a previous life).

From here, we came home and got ready then back to Alexander’s.

£10 seems a lot, but the 3 comedians are on for 3 hours and its hilarious.

“When my girlfriend moved in with me, there were so many shoes lined up, it looked like the outside of a mosque”

“Why do people criticise David Beckham because he’s thick !. Nobody criticises Stephen Hawking because he can’t play football”

Chez Jules film & dinner.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

In addition to not having a theatre, Chester doesn’t have a cinema either.

But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Those cool guys at the very authentic French restaurant Chez Jules have started to do a dinner and film evening in the upstairs of their establishment.

Nikki and I had never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s so decided to go.

2 course dinner then they turned the lights down and the film began (which was good, as I had been concerned about the clinking of cutlery).

During the performance, they discreetly refilled drinks so nobody got thirsty.

I’m still not sure if I liked the film or I didn’t (although Audrey Hepburn was incredible).

I really enjoyed the subtle combination of food, drink and film all put together though.

Take the stairs by Rory Vaden.

Take the stairs.

I always try and read on the train to work and coming home each day.

I remember reading somewhere, that what we call a PHD is basically knowing the general details of what’s accumulated in about 50 books.

An average book can be read in 5 – 7 hours. So, at 1 hour a day, that’s a book a week.

So, imagine your a van driver and want to get a job in a music shop selling violins and pianos. Your fascinated by it, but just dont know much about it.

We’ll, in 1 year, you could accumulate a man-in-the-street PHD on musical instruments.

The most recent book I’ve read is called Take the stairs by Rory Vaden.

His basic premise. Success is never owned, its only rented. Self discipline and doing some things you dont really want to do, is the only key to real success.

I thought it was fantastic, I’ve learned loads from it and now I’ve read it, I gave it away to someone at work, with instructions its to be given away again, each time its read.

Theatre in the park.

Theatre in the park

Ok, ok, so enough moaning about not having a theatre or cinema.

Well, each year they do theatre in the park and this year, we decided to go.

I took this photo early on before it got dark, but later, it was completely packed.

We had good seats that were under cover, but it didn’t rain much anyway. We also took a picnic and a bottle of wine.

The production was the Merry wives of Windsor. It had been made with a 70’s theme which was really stylish (at the end in the “countryside scene” they even had Pifco torches).

Although 500 years old, you could really connect with the story (the guy who worries if his wife still loves him, the old night, who’s the oldest swinger in town).

Expensive but highly recommended.

Ex Machina, Automata, The Machine.


 Speaking of things that are highly recommended, my old lodger Nathan came around and we had a couple of pints.

He advised me to watch a film called Ex Machina. It was science fiction, featured Robots and drew heavily on Alan Turing’sartificial intelligence test.

There’s 3 good reasons to start with. I watched it and thought it was excellent.

One thing I’ve started to do now, is put the films I like into the Internet Move Database. It will recommend other films you might like.

Completely different, but on the same theme, it advised Automata and The Machine.

I watched them both and I enjoyed them as well. 3 cracking films, 3 great evenings.

Moonlight Flicks, outdoor cinema.

Watching Moonlight Flicks

Sometimes you try things and they’re a bit crap.

Drive is a film I’ve wanted to see for a while, and it was showing as an outdoor event at Chester Roman baths.

When we got there, it had just started raining, so loads of people put up umbrella’s.

We were given headset so we could hear the film and the screen was ok.

The actual film itself was quite good. A modern slant on the getaway driver with a conscience and Brian Cranston from breaking bad was in it.

The problem was, the other people. There were people taking pictures with flash, talking loudly, just getting up and wandering off, then coming back 10 minutes later and having a stand up conversation and blocking the film.

When I watch a film, its not for an evening out, its to immerse myself in the film.

The other people were dis respecting the film in my view, if they just went because all their friends were going, stay at home next time.

I know I will be.

Eating out.

Coffee with Lyn & Vick

Well, in the last 8 weeks, I’ve had 3 Italians, 2 Curry’s, 2 Mexican meals, 7 traditional meals in pubs and 3 steaks.

Oh and I’ve been to the chippy twice.

Nikki’s sister Lyn came over to visit with her husband Vick (were all going to Japan together in about 2 months).

We took them to Koconut Grove, El Gato Negro and Artichoke for Nikki’s mums birthday.

Oh, and after we all did the Baker way, we took them for coffee to Joseph Benjamine.

Koconut Grove is my favourite curry house in Chester, since the sad demise of India Flava and Asia Fusion. However, somebody needs to talk to the owners. As good as the place is, it has a daft name.

El Gato Negro is based in the Bluebell, the first restaurant I ever visited in Chester. I like it there as they do traditional, Italian, Tapas and Mexican so there’s something for everyone.

Artichoke. What’s to say, its excellent in every way I can think off.

Good Cinema.

Mission Impossible 5

I don’t go to the cinema as often as I used to ( I watch a lot of stuff, but usually at home).

Sometimes though, there’s a film I really want to see. At that point, there’s really only 1 way to watch it.

On the cinema, as god intended.

Went with Dave E and Glenn to see Mission Impossible 5. It must be hard to make 5 films and each one is even better than the other 1 but that’s what they’ve managed to do.

The opening scene hanging of the plane was incredible and the motorbike chase in the top 10 action sequences I’ve seen since my first trip to the cinema.

While on a trip to Keswick, I realised they had a cinema there.

While Nikki went back to our tent to read, before we went out for the evening, I nipped into the cinema to watch Man from Uncle.

Really stylish and filmed in an authentic 60’s style (a bit like watching Life on Mars where you really feel like you’re in dreary Manchester of the 70’s.

Bad Cinema.

Thats how I felt when I was watching it

Terminator Genisys delivers 2 amazing feats of cinema.

Make Emilia Clarke (brilliant in Game of thrones) look bored through a whole film.

Make Jason Clarke (no relation and fantastic in the Chicago code, the best Police series I’ve ever seen) give a poor on screen performance.

Both of these 2 are naturally gifted performers. To get them to under achieve must take some really hard work from the director.

Arnie could never act, but now someone decided he should try really hard.

Oh, and if you build up a tense moment, then crack a joke, its funny.

If you fail at this and the tension doesn’t happen, the audience just feel sorry for the poor bugger that’s got to crack the joke.

The picture above captures superbly how I was feeling while watching the film. Best forgotten about.

Work on the house.

Once corner of my loft

 On top of all this, I’ve been continuing with the renovation of my house.

Phase 2 is almost complete (there are 3 phases altogether), and the loft/spare room on the 3rd floor should be complete in a few days.

One small addition I’ve made, is a “retro” corner. It has a black book case and black chair in a corner by the window where I sit and read.

Most of the furniture in my first house when I was 25 was black, and this is a tip of the cap to that.

I’ve also got a new futon, a comfortable “creative desk” to work on and I should be able to put up my train set permanently.

Both at home and away, the search for adventure continues…

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