Friday, February 28th, 1997 Chester, England
Breakfast at 8:45 am in the dining room. Cumberland sausage and porridge were part of the faire. I ate breakfast finally. Patti said she’d called The Young’s Hotel and they said that they’d just cleaned the baseboards and were absolutely sure her earrings were not there. We all questioned their answer mostly because we doubted that they’d ever cleaned the baseboards! She decided to also call the Judges Lodging before we left. Sure enough, not only the earrings but her curling iron were there. They will mail them to her home.
On the road about 11:30 am, beautiful day! Shopped in town before we left and found a cane and hat for Jim. Randy found a wooden chicken to add to his collection. Out to Dove Cottage and the home of Wordsworth. Stopped lakeside to enjoy the view and a quick WC break. Wonderful scenes everywhere with lots of sheep everywhere...peacefully grazing. I was busy writing postcards and refused to leave the car at the Dove Cottage. When everyone was back in the car, Patti took over the copilot’s seat. She likes to read the signs and Randy decided he was ready for the back seat and less pressure. Patti is very good so I think we’ll leave her there as long as she’ll stay. After getting gasoline; we went on to K’s outlet and did about an hour of shopping. Everybody got at least one thing! The van is starting to bulge. Randy wants to take a picture with all the luggage outside the van!
We arrived in Chester about five o'clock. Found the Brookside Hotel. Not quite what the picture and description had implied. Most definitely not a four crowns as the book had said it was. We changed rooms several times and ended up with Jim and I with Barbara on the first floor; nice not to have to take luggage up the stairs. Fortunately, Barbara likes to have her windows open as they’d just finished painting all of the single rooms. They all smelled of paint! Randy and Patti had the best room in the hotel; but it was on the third floor! They had the room at the top! By dinner we’d decided not to stay both nights.
Drove into the old city of Chester where we parked in a grocery store lot on top of the building. First stop was to find the cathedral...when we arrived there I discovered I'd left my purse in the car. Most things were closing and we decided to have dinner at the Grovsnor Hotel in the Las Brassiere Dining Room. Randy, Patti and Barbara went in for drinks and I and Jim headed back to the van to get my purse.
While we were there Jim wanted to get the ticket validated at the store to save the parking fee. We went in picked up two candy bars because we couldn’t find a magazine we wanted to purchase. Went up to the checkout and found that we needed to spend £5.00 minimum to get a validation. We were looking at more candy trying to figure how much we’d have to buy to make £5.00. Suddenly a lady walked over and said that she’d be happy to let us use her validation as she didn’t need it and she had more than £5.00 with her purchases. Said she hated to think of us having to buy that much candy! Yes, we’re finding the British people very nice. We actually ended up at the store just before leaving the area for the evening and purchased more than £5.00 worth of ice cream for dessert, cookies and epson salts for Patti to soak her feet!
We then went back to the Grovsnor Hotel to meet the rest of the group for a lovely dinner after enjoying drinks in the bar. Most of the evening was spent telling the story of Joe Jansen (Jim’s son) and the path his life took from before birth to the present day. As we were leaving the hotel, Patty discovered she’d lost the back to her earring. Walked around town; but most of the shops were closed. Randy got “shat upon” by a large bird as we walked down a narrow walk way. Made a considerable mess of his jacket!
We considered going to the movies but we had to get the van out of the parking lot before 9:30 PM. Decided to pick up dessert at the store and return to our hotel for the evening after driving in and around the city for a quick tour. It cost £3.00 to get out of the car lot as we’d stayed over the hour that the validated store ticket allowed.
Oh well! Signed on to AOL when we returned and had a letter from Barbara's son that Jim & Barbara’s Aunt Marguerite had a very severe stroke. She cannot move or talk. She’s 91 years old. They had been trying to reach us for several days. Brian’s message ended with a line from an old joke Barbara had told him years ago: “The cat’s on the roof”. Gave her a chuckle and lighten the moment which is what Brian thought it would do. Good thing I brought my computer on the trip!
Barbara immediately called John and got the details. We are now going to be doing daily letters to Barbara’s kids via AOL to keep up on what’s happening at home. We called Wendy to let her know about Aunt Marguerite and check on the office. Sales are great but she’s got her hands full with the agent’s special requests! Randy and Patti were busy selecting the next hotel. I decided it was their turn to pick without any help from the rest. They made about ten phone calls and finally made reservations for us in Shrewsbury at the Prince Albert Hotel. Another late night by the time we finished up with everything.