Beautiful summer evenings are always a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they give us Brits a break from temperate climes and let us kick back and adopt the mañana life-style of continental Europe.
But unfortunately Britain only has so many west-facing beer gardens, so more often than not we're doomed to spend the balmy hours standing uncomfortably in a car park or balancing precariously on a crowded pavement.
Fate seemed to be smiling sunnily upon Jon and I, though, when we took ourselves off to Stuart's Table at The Farmer's Arms in Huxley on a Tuesday evening at the height of last month's heatwave.
After a pleasant drive along winding country lanes, we arrived just in time to grab a table in this archetypal country pub's beer garden, which was still blessed with sun at 8pm and full of happy customers.
This is probably the ultimate sunny evening pub - as well as the beer garden where we sat, there are some tables next to the main entrance and also a terrace with a beautiful view across the fields at the back of the pub.
Our only gripe was that our table was slightly too close to a bin gently rotting in the heat nearby. Luckily, at that moment juicy olives with bread and oil were brought to us with the menu and we forgot the smell and settled into mañana heaven.
Stuart's Table - The Farmer's Arms' foodie restaurant - has got the balance of a menu that is sophisticated, interesting but also affordable and accessible.
Diners from Monday to Thursday are greeted with a table d'hôte menu that changes daily but generally features the kind of food you might see in a good French or Italian restaurant.
When we visited, the highlights included fillet medallions with caramelised onions and vine tomatoes or seared tuna with saffron rice, baby onions and bisque.
These dishes come in portions for a hearty appetite and, at £11.95 for two courses and £14.95 for three, a price tag to suit the masses.
On Saturdays there is a chargrill night when you can choose from a hefty selection of meat and fish.
And, being a great British pub at heart, The Farmer's Arms serves up a slapping Sunday roast menu that comes highly recommended from everyone I know in Chester who has been there.
A warning for vegetarians though - there wasn't a single non-fish or meat main course on the table d'hôte menu when we visited so 'phone ahead to see what they can offer you.
Although Jon and I eyed up the set menu, we both decided to choose dishes from the regular menu offered on week nights.
As it was still very warm we decided to skip starters, but they included simple dishes like tomato and mozzarella with basil, oil and rocket as well the more exotic smoked salmon and trout with chive salad, mild mustard and creme frâiche.
My pan-fried sea bass with creamed leeks and prawns, served with new potatoes and a good selection of vegetables, was just the sort of light meal required for a hot summer's evening.
Jon was sold as soon as he saw the customised section of the meat menu, offering fillet or sirloin steaks at the weight of your choice, from 3oz up to a hefty 18oz.
At £1.75 per ounce, his 12oz sirloin wasn't cheap, coming out at £21, but we both noted the good quality of meat and the perfect seasoning.
There was also a selection of sauces available at £2 each.
It was after the main course that the previously excellent service began to show signs of wear and tear.
It took a long time for our plates to be cleared, which we didn't mind, but once we had the dessert menu it took a long period of waving and eye-catching before we could get a waitress back .
The puddings then took so long to arrive that I ventured inside the pub to check they hadn't lost our order.
As soon as I got inside I could see that the problem was only having three or four bar and waiting on staff for a busy night with many diners and drinkers in different areas of the building.
One shattered woman told me she had been working since lunchtime without a break because they had been so busy.
We had already been told they had been that busy for the past few weeks, so I was surprised more staff weren't drafted in to help.
Eventually our desserts arrived - my brioche bread and butter pudding with local Cheshire Farm ice cream was light and tasty.
Jon pronounced his chocolate pudding 'not chocolatey enough,' but after a spoonful I thought it had a strong, bitter cocoa taste, it just wasn't as sweet as he had expected.
He was especially disappointed that the chocolate fudge cookie ice cream advertised on the menu was replaced with vanilla.
By now it was pushing 10pm and it had taken us two hours to get two courses. I had ordered coffee when I went to check on the puddings - in hindsight a mistake as they again took about 10 minutes to arrive.
The coffees were nice, but when I checked the bill and found my espresso cost £3 and Jon's cappuccino cost £3.90, I felt pretty ripped off.
Then, when I tried to pay the bill, the card machine played up and it took five attempts for the payment to go through.
We left at 10.15pm, charmed by the pub but ever so slightly cheesed off that a fairly light meal had taken so long.
Having said that, if you do have to endure a long wait for a meal, I can't think of any better location than this beautiful country pub and restaurant to do it.
* Stuart's Table at The Farmer's Arms, Huxley. 01829 781342 Opening hours Mon 6-8.30pm; Tue-Sat 12-2.30pm, 6.30-9pm, Sun12-4pm, 6-8.30pm.
* Prices: Very reasonable weekday set menus - two courses £11.95, three courses £14.95. Coffees less reasonable.
* Total for two main courses and desserts from the standard menu with drinks and coffee: £56.40
* Best thing: Great food served up in beautiful surroundings. Very reasonable prices if you choose from the set menu.
* Worst thing: Slow service on busy nights, vegetarians do not have a wide choice.
* Would suit: Almost anyone.