20 questions #9: Cheshire Wine School

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Wine school founder Richard J Smith started his life of wine back in 1990 has been featured in The Daily Mail, Cheshire Life and Cheshire Living and he regularly writes for online lifestyle magazine So Cheshire. The Wine School was recently chosen as one of the top 100 small businesses in Britain as part of the build-up to Small Business Saturday in December.

1. How are you ?  I’m fantastic, thank you. I hope you are too. After all that’s happened this year, we don’t ask each other this question enough.

2. Who is your hero ? Joan Collins – an amazing woman and the last of the Hollywood greats and still showing us how it’s done on and off screen.

3. What would be the title of your autobiography ? It would have to be ‘Cin Cin!’

4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Turn off my phone – it sounds easy, but when you’re self-employed you have to be available even if you’re on holiday. 24 hours without email or messages would be bliss!

5. Fav album of all time? Madonna’s Immaculate Collection – it’s the first CD I ever bought (showing my age now – what are CD’s these days?!)

6. What would you sing on karaoke night ? Hey Big Spender, every time!

7. Where do you see Chester in 5 years time ? I hope thill thriving, with many who have had to close due to COVID back in business, and I hope with less people being so negative – we have a fantastic city yet so many people constantly moan about it on social media.

8. If you could change one thing about Chester what would it be? I would love it if the original market building façade could be rebuilt when the Forum is demolished – even if just as a focal archway leading to whatever will be planned for behind it. Look at what they’ve done with the Humbolt Forum in Berlin and you’ll see how they’ve rebuilt the original form one side and created modern architecture on the other.

9. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life? Oh crikey – I doubt anyone would watch it! Probably Simon Bird who played Will in The Inbetweeners. (I will probably regret this)

10. Are we alone in the universe ? We can’t possibly be.

11.  What three items would you take with you on a deserted island? A bottle of wine for sure, a good book and a decent wine glass.

12.  Name 3 things you hate. Hate is a strong word, so more dislike I guess. Pips! I can’t stand them, so strawberries aren’t for me haha. Online negativity – I wish people would have more feeling for how hurtful to others their words can be, knowing they would never say it to someone’s face. Un-necessary roadworks – definitely highlighted by the recent bus lane fiasco. Better thinking and planning and we’d have way less traffic jams and less pollution from cars going nowhere and we’d all get things done on time.

13. In your darkest hour what gives you comfort? Not really comfort, but I never forget that no matter how bad things are, or seem, that sadly, someone, somewhere is always worse off or having a worse time. So I think about whoever that might be and that they can work through it and then look at working on a fix my end.

14. What is the greatest memory of your life ? Going back to question 2, it has to meeting Joan Collins for the first time.

15.  What was the last film you saw and was it any good ? At the cinema it was Downton Abbey and it was really disappointing. With all the money Hollywood threw at it, it could have been so much better.

16. Are we out of the woods ? Absolutely not!

17. What is your favourite fantasy creature? Definitely a unicorn!

18.Which person, living or dead would you take for an independent coffee or drink? My grandad – just have five more minutes with him, I’d give anything.

19. Favourite place in the borough (specific) ? Upton – apart from being home for me, we have the zoo next door, it’s walkable into town in nice weather and easy enough to get to anywhere else and we have the Countess Park too – a lovely oasis of calm to walk around.

20. If you could time travel, where/when would you go? I’d love to be a fly on the wall in ancient Rome – unless I was loaded I don’t think it would be somewhere I’d want to stay around for too long, but to see the amazing engineering and construction and what it would look like in one piece would be incredible.

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