A friend of Janis’s from Nottingham Ray visited us while we were passing through Nantwich on our way north earlier and stayed aboard for a couple of nights.
It was while we were there that we came across an advertisement for the Nantwich Jazz Festival during Easter weekend. Janis and I both said what a pity we wouldn’t be there as we are keen fans of that genre but Ray admitted that he was a fan too and invited us to join him in his motorhome for that weekend of hot music. We couldn’t refuse such an offer could we?
So the day after we arrived here in Liverpool, we set off on Saturday for Nantwich by bus armed with my bus pass and Janis’s goodwill. It was a long hard-bottomed journey and we had to change at Chester as well with an hour in between buses.
However this particular city is well suited to waste the odd hour and we spent most of it in the covered market where we came across a delightful stall selling farm fresh dairy produce with a vast choice of lovely cheeses and ‘Ancient Bread’.
The cheese samples were delicious while with the latter we were reassured on reading the wrapper that ‘Ancient’ referred to the recipe that had been used many hundreds of generations ago rather than to the age of the contents, which had only been baked together that morning. By the time we completed our read and taste we must have bought up half the stall too but as we hurried back, well loaded to the bus stop we were also very pleased with our purchases.
On arrival at Nantwich we were pleased to note that the town was even more welcoming this time than on our last visit, induced by the spirit of Jazz that was emanating now from almost every one of the numerous pubs that this small town had to offer. There was also a very warm welcome from Ray when we met and two more friends from Nottingham Mel and Anne, who had decided to come independently to the festival.
‘Zoot Serious’ performing in the Market Place
Janis and Anne posing with Mr Zoot Serious
The N’Ukes ukulele band
We spent two nights in Ray’s luxurious motorhome while the time in between was mostly taken up with meandering from venue to venue guided by the printed programme that we had picked up previously. I had not seen any of the performers before but the standard was good and the acts ranged from the cabaret singer style suitable for the bar of the smaller pubs, right through to a swing octet and everything else on the way, including a Stephan Grappelli Hot Club of France type violin quartet, a traditional New Orleans jazz band, whose members were all older than me but played magnificently nonetheless. it was all brilliant even though my ears suffered as a result of the heavily amplified rock and blues guitars in between.
Ray and the girls in between numbers
We five friends had a great and happy time together and Janis and I had a lift back to Chester on Monday with Mel and Anne who had travelled from Nottingham in the former’s car. Here we caught the bus and arrived back at the ships, reassured on arrival that the leisure batteries had been fully topped up in the meantime through the efficiency of our solar panels and that our electric fridges were still operating.