|Cruising through the early morning mist|
Actually it wasn't purely altruistic: we had read the pub's excellent reviews on Tripadvisor so we weren't taking too much of a chance. As it turned out the food was better than excellent, it was superb. The Red Lion is no poshed-up gastropub; it's a proper pub that welcomes drinkers as well as diners. Last night there was an open mic music evening on too.
The menu was short but imaginative: Mrs B had chicken breast on bubble & squeak while I went for the high calorie option of pork belly. Wow, both were top notch. And remarkably, cost only £8.95 each! Only down-er was that when we went to order dessert we discovered the kitchen had just shut. Damn! Shame they didn't warn us. But I spotted the chef on his way home, thanked him for his excellent food and gently bemoaned the lack of dessert. He went straight back to the kitchen and produced a couple of portions of mouth-watering, home made cherry bakewell cheesecake. Now that's what I call customer service.
The pub is part of a local small chain - Cornerstone Inns - which recently took over the down on its luck Big Lock pub on the canal at Middlewich, revamped it and now gets even better reviews for its food than the Red Lion.
|Bright sunshine and autumn leaves at Vale Royal|
After big dinners and a few beers we could have been excused a lie-in but instead we woke early and gazed out at a cold, misty morning. After breakfast (surprising how one still has room for one even after a big dinner) we were away by nine just as the sun was starting to break through, warm the air and encourage the mist to lift.
It was a wonderful morning to be on a boat; the trees' autumn colours reflected in the still water, kingfishers skimming the river and only a few hardy anglers and walkers in sight.