One minute my husband and I we were sitting at a table in The Red House in Boughton, tucking into desserts, the next thing we knew there was a third person sitting at our table.
I really don't know how it happened. Did I take my eye off P for just a minute too long, was I boring him, or did we look as if we were having such a wonderful time that Ray Stalker decided to join us?
Either way, Ray was subtle and very good company. He didn't suggest we offer him a glass of our Sipp Mack Alsace reisling (£21) or taste my staw-berry and cream shortbread (I wouldn't have let him if he had), but he did find out what we thought of our evening.
And to think that it all started with a depressing trip down the A55...
Flitting between the Llyn peninsula and Chester this summer has been tough in many ways. It's not the beaches of Llanbedrog, Abersoch and Nefyn, it's more the journey back and leaving the children behind; similar in fact, to a drive to Goodison Park and the prospect of yet another 0-0 draw.
'But look on the bright side,' said P, with uncharacteristic optimism, 'We haven't got the children with us.' And then he went on, oblivious to my muffled sobs: 'We can go out for dinner - just the two of us. I've heard The Red House is worth a visit.'
Oh, the man is merciless. Isn't the only good thing about The Red House it's fabulous position on The Dee? I remember a beer drinker's haven and a great fireworks party every November, but that's about it.
And as we pull up on a Monday night I see that some things haven't changed. Parking is still tricky and the front entrance is still on busy Dee Banks, Boughton, via an unassuming façade, albeit now painted a trendy shade of beige.
But just pause before you go in and take a deep breath (I'd even advise holding hands because you might need something to hold on to).
You know those awful 'Trinny and Susannah, Look 10 Years Younger, before and after' type of TV programmes? Well, someone has got hold of The Red House and given it a full surgical make-over, from top to bottom.
'Bloody hell, where are we?' asked P, gripping my fingers as we tiptoed to the bar.
And it's not just the bar (beautifully lit with any number of wines, spirits and beers on offer), or the tables, leather sofas and cuboid lights on low coffee tables; it's the air of confidence that now seems to bathe everyone in a golden glow.
And if you swivel to the right, you'll see why.
The new owners have knocked the back of the pub out completely and replaced it with a two-storey glass extension that stretches from the bar and lounge area where we were standing, mezzanine-style, to the main eating area below.
It's Pompideau Centre, Lowry Theatre and London's Royal Opera House all rolled in to one.
But I'm getting carried away now. Yes, it's stunning and it's lovely to see someone finally giving Chester the venue that this fabulous view deserves, but it should be about the food too, shouldn't it?
'Or shall we just have a drink?' asked P, looking bemused. There were plenty of people doing just that in the landscaped gardens below, perched on enough decking to float, ship-like down The Dee. But when he saw the menu he changed his mind. (Incidentally, The Red House menu changes every month - according to Ray Stalker - although I didn't know that at this stage.)
My smoked salmon and potato terrine with caper purée (£5.20) was fantastic, made even better by the use of fresh fennel between the layers.
P hesitated over the grilled fillet of Norwegian sea perch but since fish was his main course choice, he opted instead for the ham hock (£4.50). It was slightly bland, but the home-made piccalilli that came with it had a knockout flavour and was nothing like that lurid yellow stuff we used to have on Boxing Day.
I very rarely have chicken when I eat out. There's something about the everydayness of it that makes me move on, but the breast of Goosnargh chicken with an oriental noodle rosti, wilted pak choi and sweet chilli dressing (£12.50) seduced me with its tantalising description. What's a good old Lancashire bird doing teaming up with the exotic Orient?
Well, having a good time, I'd say - although I don't think the rosti worked that well. The noodles tasted hard rather than crispy and I do think it's difficult to beat a traditional potato rosti anyway.
P's fillet of sea bream with sweet potato mash, roasted fig and red wine sauce (£11) was wonderful in all respects, with the sauce not overpowering the delicate flavour of the fish.
We also had one portion of broccoli Hollandaise - perfectly cooked at £2.
I wouldn't usually mention the fact that I'd nipped to the loo when eating out, but I feel I must in this case, as it really was noteworthy. Not my visit specifically, of course, but any visit to the ladies at The Red House is a must as they are a real design statement.
And then as I wandered back to the table, James Powell stepped up and asked what I thought of the taps...
I was still wondering why a perfectly presentable young chap should be hovering by the ladies' loos when our gorgeous desserts arrived and Ray Stalker was making his way towards us.
This was turning out to be an unusual evening - fabulous but unusual.
If I say that by midnight, once I realised who they were, Ray, and James didn't seem sinister in the slightest. Don't be put off by the fact that one or both of them may sidle up and ask a few questions if you choose to visit, they are in fact, joint owners of Red House and doing the best type of market research there is - asking diners what they think.
Ray, a quantity surveyor, and James, a lawyer, haven't given up the day jobs yet, but when they do - and if their next project is Chester-based - then hold on to your hats, because it's bound to be a stunner.
(Incidentally boys, didn't you just buy that large house next door and what was that you said about a boutique hotel?)
* The Red House, Boughton.
* Telephone 01244 324783.
* Reservations essential.
* Best thing: Location, location, location... and the food.
* Worst thing: Nothing.
* Would suit: Everyone and is somewhere that Cestrians can be proud of.
* Bill: For three courses each, a bottle of Reisling and a pint of bitter, plus two coffees, £71.