It was the first Cars and Coffee Cheshire meeting of the season and I had been dispatched by the city’s new independent magazine, Tortoise.
Now I’m no petrolhead. In fact, I’ve never seen a single episode of The Grand Tour and I love the Italian job for the scenery — not the cars. But the Chester meeting was surprisingly inclusive with families and onlookers amongst the crowd.
I even had a spin around the Castle Car Park in a souped-up moped courtesy of the ladies from Deva Tuk Tuk [pictured above] and Ronnie the tub tuk dog.
Intrigued? Here’s a preview of my story:
The regal statue of Queen Victoria eyes the eclectic crowd with arch curiosity: petrolheads and boys racers mix with family groups.
There are serious tyre thumpers, blasting techno from behind their darkened windows, a proud owner posing for selfies next to a rare example of an Alfa Romeo 155 and classic car owners taking torque next to the caffeine-buzzing coffee cart.
It’s like an event at The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, without the tweed, pencil moustaches and copies of the Daily Telegraph.
The Cannes Film Festival marks its 70th anniversary this year. The event runs May 17 to 28.
I’ve always been a French film fan — ever since taking a module in French cinema as a student at Leeds University.
I was in Cannes last weekend, indulging my interest in cinema and French culture, to preview the build up to the festival.
I was there on assignment for France Magazine.
Touring the attractions for a cinephile’s guide to Cannes, I found the handprints of Pedro Almodovar [pictured above], the president of the jury for this year’s festival, outside the Palais des Festivals.
I also followed a trail of film-themed murals around the town, including giant facade-dominating images of Buster Keaton and Alain Delon.
Cannes is not an obvious weekend-break destination for Brits but, I discovered, it’s compact, culturally rich and pleasantly spring like — even in low-season February.
Here’s a preview of my story:
Cannes has been closely associated with the glamour of the world of cinema’s cornerstone event since the origins of the festival in 1939. The red carpet, today rolled out in front of the Palais des Festivals et des Congres just off the Boulevard de la Croisette, retains a frisson of Hollywood glitter. Not bad for the town that provided the backdrop to Meg Ryan’s French Kiss and Mr Bean’s Holliday.
Look out for this and more stories from the trip in May.