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Chester Drawers

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Chester. The only thing I knew about Chester before my trip up on was
that it was a bloody long way away. And getting up at four thirty that
morning, with the night still in full flow, didn’t make the trip any
more welcoming. My task for this trip was to find an office (needle) in
Chester (haystack), diagnose the computer’s “issues”, give it a couple
of kicks, and – job done – retire mid afternoon to the luxurious Travel
Inn down the road.
I left at the ungodly hour of 4.30am. Nothing stirred as I left my house
– so quiet that you might hear a pin drop on a leather banquette a goodly mile away. I’d clambered into the
car, banana in hand in case hunger struck, and off I went.
4 hours later, I was still driving. Chester, as I’ve said, is not near
to my neck of the woods, and only a brief visit to the little boy’s room
broke the monotony of the M3/M25/M40/M42/M6 trudge. The beauty of
morning travel though, it’s one saving grace, is that there is barely a
soul on the road. The only car I remember seeing on the M40 was freshly
embedded in the back of a large parked truck – the driver, I surmised,
was probably well on the way down the M99 to heaven.
I reached the outskirts of Chester as the rush hour was in full flow,
and cursed the sleepy, non-indicating drivers in their BMWs. My trusty
AA directions in my sweaty palm, I negotiated several hundred
roundabouts and many old-age pensioners before I found the office at
8:55am. I was brimming with pleasure – 5 hours of driving to a place
I’ve never been, and just look at my timekeeping…
The task was simple. Rebuild the computer, make sure the battered thing
was still working, and leave. And sure enough, in between several trips
to the coffee shop and a deep discussion about fishing, the job was done
by midday. Just in time for lunch, my stomach told me, and a quick
baguette later I was released into Chester. Just for completeness, I can
confirm that it’s a goodlooking place, with rivers, trees and some sort
of northern architecture. However, I was bushed after my early morning,
and I made straight for the Travel Inn.
Well, “straight”. I managed 4 wrong turnings before eventually giving in
and stopping at a local hotel for directions. It turned out to be just
round the corner and I arrived pleasantly surprised. New building, and a
pub just next door. I was blessed with an enormous room too, with a food
and drink machine just outside. And the ‘piece de resistance’ for the
true geek in me – wireless broadband internet access. In a year I may
look back and wonder what the fuss was about, but my virgin experience
sealed my passion for Travel Inns. I shall now request them at every
opportunity.
So, that was Chester. I could take you through my evening meal; the screaming
bores that were sat next to me discussing the pros and cons of the new
Intel microchip; I could even detail the trip down the M40 and on to the
horror of the M25 – but that’ll just bore you. Instead, I shall leave
you with this piece of advice: never try to fob off your spare Euro
change on a British food and drink machine with a queue of people
standing behind you. It gets stuck.