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Kicking the Ice Bucket

31st August 2014 • Dave

Why would I make a pointless cringe-worthy exhibition out of splashing a small quantity of faintly cold liquid on my head at the behest of some other attention-seeking wannabe in the name of some charity that I didn’t really care about a week ago? I know, it’s a hypocritical use of time, bandwidth and water much less a challenge.

The practice of announcing the names of your 3 acquaintances to an overpriced smartphone before making yourself moist and posting it on Facebook reeks of desperate loneliness. One can only hope that the human race will at some point take itself outside, slap itself around the face and get itself some friends.

On the other hand, you have critics desperately seeking notoriety with nothing better to do than spray their particular brand of sneering condescension at other people’s silliness. Where do people get off telling others how to spend our free time, in the garden amusing the kids?

While the scummier part of the gene pool is off busily gambling our savings or designing ingenious methods of torcher and annihilation, how is it that as a species we find the time and energy to ridicule individuals for taking part in what is essentially a slightly sad online wet t-shirt competition?

You only have to watch Arlo’s ecstatic reaction to his dad making a tit of himself to know how much pleasure can be derived from a washing-up bowl and a half-full ice cube tray.

Bickering about which charity is more deserving of the windfall is symptomatic of our social media adolescence. We have only just begun to recognise the power of this technology and its awesome ability to spread ideas. And like television, the printing press or even some ancient religious parchment before, many messages will only be welcome by those with a predilection for nonsense. Imagine the enormous potential of many-to-many communication when we realise how we can use it for more than just poking each other in the ice bucket.

Where’s that towel.

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The Point in 5.1

14th May 2012 • Dave

To answer some questions about our home cinema, here are some rambling about: how we chose our equipment, how it’s setup and what we get out of it.

You don’t have to throw a small fortune at technology to realise that: Hi-Fi, computers, mobile phones, whatever are usually somewhere close to out of date before you’ve taken them out of the box. And with this in mind, if I were buying our home cinema today I would choose differently. So just decide how much you want to spend and when you want your system. No point worrying about everything that may be lurking around the corner.

Some of the factors we considered included: budget, environment, source formats, genres and technical support. What factors are important to you?

Budget – This was to be a big present to ourselves. We had some very generous family and friends give us cash when we married. And as parents at home most evenings, this was our version of wild. Remember your money needs to buy all the cabling and fixtures and fittings. You are not just buying the shiny boxes. You want to leave a couple of quid for actual content. After all, what’s the point if you have no beautifully produced media to enjoy?

Environment – we started with measuring our living room. Mrs W wanted the speakers to blend in with our lovely oak tables. It was also high time to replace our beloved Sony Vega CRT which stuck out hideously from the wall. Windows make it difficult to put speakers to the side of our viewing area. But we can mount speakers behind our sofa. So be realistic about what is achievable in your space.

Source materials included: Sky TV movies and sport, DVD collection, and as we have a 3-year-old, Disney’s finest on Blue ray with lossless Dolby True HD in 7.1 channel goodness. We also like to listen to music stored on our NAS in MP3 or Flac. Our favourite CDs are mostly pop, jazz or acoustic. What do you actually listen to and watch the most?

Technical support – while the best deals can usually be had online, the expense and potential complexity of the system justified taking our business more locally. We could not find a way to have Amazon prices and amazing local customer service. So we tried supporting our guy down the road. You need a plan B if it all stops working.

With all this in mind, we found ourselves in the market for a system which would strike a good balance between a dazzling 5.1 home cinema for movies and sport, also a respectable stereo performer for serious music listening. All within our few K ring-fenced for the project. Where are you prepared to make compromises? Which factors are more important to you?

The other specialist requirement worth mentioning separately, is the fact that AV Receivers are becoming increasingly complex, and I wanted to have a screen reader accessible App so I could operate the interface from the iPhone. Lots of AV Receivers do this now, so worth searching your Smartphone’s Apple App Store for the brands of any AV Receivers on your short list.

The AV Receiver is the beating heart of your home cinema. Our AV Receiver is the Onkyo TXNR 809. No shortage of online reviews for this one. The big thing which no one tells you when moving from integrated stereo amps to AV receivers is they are usually physically much larger, a good deal heavier and run significantly warmer requiring greater cooling, in my case necessitating a new rack. The big change in the 2010 2011 AV Receivers was the integration of networking features. You can play digital content directly: from your NAS, streaming services such as Napster and Internet Radio etc. and depending on model, you can remote control from your web browser or smartphone. So you’ll see modern AV receivers described as network receivers. I also auditioned: Denon DHT 1912, Onkyo 609 and seriously considered Cambridge Audio 650R, Marantz SR6004 and a slew of other Denons. Sadly had to rule out the budget busting Arcam AVR400. Onkyo came out on top for us in the sub £800 price range because it sounded punchy and warm with movies and just about held its own with Emma’s Michael Bublé collection. A big win was the fact that I can drive most of its features with a range of apps. If I have any gripes it would be the physical size, at around 44 CM square and 20 CM high plus clearance for cooling. Oh and the lack of Airplay meaning I have to plug the iPhone in to the front USB port. Will need a dock.

I did get a warm fuzzy feeling from the fact that Onkyo have recently sponsored Braille essay writing competitions in Europe and North America.

Our new TV is the Panasonic VT30 50 inch plasma panel. I liked the connectivity including LAN and USB, deep Blacks and aesthetics. It feels very sleek having no plastic bevel round the screen edge, like having a huge iPad on the wall. Negatives include: price, not as bright as LCD, and over specified with Free Sat and Freeview support which we never use, and 3D which is still pointless for most content. We’ve also not made much use of the embedded apps for: YouTube, Skype and BBC iPlayer. I have a lengthy short list of other TVs from Samsung and Sony which were ruled out for various reasons. We managed to blag a Blue ray player and wall bracket in with our TV. And the nice man from the shop came round to help install it. Happy with the TV as a package but if I was starting from scratch I’d possibly go for a slightly less ambitious panel. The only thing a display needs to do well is show content, everything else is just nice to have.

If you decide to wall mount anything, do your homework. I know very bright people who saw their pride and joy smashed on their living room floor because they got the wall mounting wrong. Have many screws driving deep in to supporting joists or even masonry. Don’t expect to hang anything more than 1 or 2kg directly off plasterboard because the weight will just sheer down the wall. My TV bracket is on at least 8 screws which go through the plasterboard and right in to joists, and I lifted my own 90KG weight on the bracket before I dared put the TV up there.

A note about the VT50 and the other 2012 models from Panasonic sporting the Voice Guidance feature. For anyone with enough tech savvy to use the internet, TV now and next info plus 7-day listings are easy to come by. Voice Guidance will only be really useful to me when it speaks Red Button services and Video on Demand including apps like iPlayer. My disappointment at buying Panasonic too early and not having one of the 2012 models was short lived. Good on Panny for making talking listings happen, but anyone who is prepared to buy a premium TV for this feature, really expects much more than simply TV listings to be spoken allowed. Don’t you?

Speakers are Monitor Audio Silver Series. RX6 left and right, RX Centre, RXW12 sub-woofer and RXFX surround. Auditioned Monitor Audio Bronze BX series which didn’t have quite enough sparkle for direct 2 channel music listening. I also tried the Monitor Audio Radius speakers for surround but found them to sound crisp but a bit metallic. So bit the bullet and again blew the budget by going for the Silver series. Bi-wired the RX6 left and right for music listening and wall mounted the RXFX speakers. I stopped short of RX8 with its extra base driver because I was going for a big sub and RX8 plus RXW12 in my room seemed like overkill. If you are splashing out on speakers, what is going to rock it for you in your room with your music?

A word on woofers. Sub woofers reproduce low frequency sounds. The “cross over” is the point where the sub rolls off and your other speakers take over. Lots of debate about where to have your cross over set, I like it quite low so you only really feel the sub when something really goes boom! And that’s the point, the sub is about creating ultra low frequency vibrations which you feel in your legs rather than hear with your ears. Your other speakers will take care of bass guitar solos and other general low frequency work. a sub too far in the corner of your room can boom too much, so some positional experimentation may be required. Very low frequencies at loud volumes travel a hell of a long way and will be felt by your neighbours. A bit like when a heavy truck goes passed your house. So get a great sub, but don’t become a complete arse with it. He says. 

The other thing no one tells you about surround sound, 60 percent of a movie’s sound track comes through the centre speaker. and that’s the way it should be. The actors are on the screen and you expect most of the dialog to be heard from that part of the room. So don’t skimp on the centre speaker either.

Configuration – Getting those speakers positioned, AV receiver and display correctly calibrated, even all the cables in the right sockets can all be a ball ache and take ages. As mentioned somewhere above, we decided to pay a little bit more and get everything from a local supplier. This meant they were prepared to help with installation. And the man from the shop used to visit my house if I asked nicely.

In Conclusion – yes I’m smarting a bit from the stupendously large bill. But our system gives us hours of enjoyment and makes us all smile. As a family we are all wowed by the production values in Toy Story or Cars in lossless Dolby True HD. Emma can hear Buble’s swing band sounding punchy and superb in stereo. And I can have the next best thing to going to the match, live football in 5.1 with the crowd all around me.

I had to make some compromises. Audiophile stereo listening being the main one. But how often do I get to do that these days anyway. Maybe that is a separate project for when I have more time.

The point in 5.1 is not having all speakers blasting the same signal. 5.1 is about creating immersive experiences generated by different sounds coming from different parts of the room. If a well-mixed movie playing on some carefully selected and configured kit doesn’t blow your head back or make you go “wow” then you’d be better spending your money elsewhere. If sound effect zinging around your room makes your pulse race then it’s time to go audition some kit!

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Review Cate Cody Salty Dogs Band at our wedding

12th October 2011 • Dave

Cate you really made our dreams come true! The sound track for our big day will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Thank you!

Emma and I married on 16 July, and music played a big part in our day. Our evening reception for 110 guests was held in the dining room of a 16th century country house near Worcester. The music would need to fill the room, but not dominate. We wanted a high quality swing band who would bring a touch of class to proceedings, and still be sufficiently lively to get people up dancing. We wanted some songs that people would recognise, but not be too cheesy or predictable.

We asked around the performers we knew. We spent countless hours searching online. We even tried to assemble our own group of talented musicians. We were starting to feel frustrated that all the music acts we had auditioned were either too rocky, avant-garde, or simply not good enough to meet our high expectations. Then, somehow we stumbled on Cate’s web site, and knew instantly that she was the one.

Cate Cody and the Salty Dogs band is every bit as good in real life as they sound on her show reel. From the moment we first contacted Cate we felt we were in safe hands. If Cate doesn’t reply to your email immediately, the chances are she’s performing or travelling to another gig. So leave it a couple of days. Cate will pay close attention to all your requirements, and will get back to you.

Cate worked with us to select a song for our first dance, and was even willing to consider learning additional numbers, as she was keen to expand her already impressive repertoire.

Cate is the true professional and will think of everything. The band arrived nearly 2 hours before the performance to set up. And even when they started tuning up they sounded completely fresh. An extraordinary achievement as they’d just landed back from a jazz festival in Denmark. Don’t trust any band who doesn’t make sure you have sufficient space, power outlets, and allows sufficient time for setup and tuning.

Cate put us at ease and remained serenely calm, encouraging our other guests to join us, as we giggled our way through our first dance. The American song book is much more extensive than the over-played standards you usually hear at weddings. As well as performing swing favourites you know and love, Cate
Will introduce you to some undiscovered treasures.

The volume of the band and vocals were loud enough to cut through the crowd noise without making conversation difficult. And by the end of the evening the dance floor was full with guest’s young and old having a fantastic time.

Following our wedding, many guests, and even staff at the venue, commented on how wonderful the band was. And asked how we’d found Cate. Make no mistake, Cate will give your event an extra degree of style and sophistication you didn’t think possible.

Cate you helped make our wedding day truly magical. Your performance was the perfect honeymoon preparation, where we danced the nights away aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary II.

A thousand thanks.

Visit Cate’s website at:

Dave and Emma Williams, Worcester

–Message from Cate Cody–

Wow, I’m speechless…you really were the perfect clients! The thought that has gone into writing this is so kind and I’m obviously delighted and also very proud that you were so pleased with the band. I shall forward your comments onto the others we truly enjoyed your wedding because there was such a great atmosphere from the start and everyone made us feels very welcome. We’re really glad we were part of your special day

Thank you again

Cate xxx

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A man’s home is his castle?

8th February 2009 • Dave

Persimmon homes seem to think so. Each type of house design on the new Hamilton Grange Development in Worcester appears to have been named after an ancient British castle: Lancaster, Manorbier, Newark, Powderham, Richmond and Tretower.

As far as our budget is concerned, many of these designs may as well be actual castles. But, unbelievably we have now exchanged contracts on a brand new little Persimmon castle of our very own! We are due to complete at the end of Feb. It’s so close now, I can almost taste it. But we’ve been here before, and I’m trying to contain my jubilation for a couple more weeks before we get our mitts on that all important bunch of keys.

There is a lot to be said for and against new builds. On the one hand, new builds: tend to be more energy Efficient, have no upward chain, can be customised to suit our requirements and have 10-year warranty against structural problems. On the other hand: less house for the money, fewer fixtures and fittings as well as horror stories about other defects aka snags. That said, we have at least 4 friends who have recently bought older houses, and they all seem up to their ears with: plasterers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc. I’m sure it’ll all come good for them in the end, and I’m confident our new-build won’t be completely without it’s problems.

So which design do you think we went for? Do you care? NA me neither. Ultimately, it’s about doing what feels right for one’s family. Staying in the apartment with Emma, Arlo and Eden was never going to work. A month after Arlo’s birth, that’s all too obvious. Known and unknown problems not withstanding, this feels absolutely bob on.

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Vitamin K or not to Vitamin K

4th January 2009 • Dave

Just one of a gazillion decisions Emma and I will need to take in the days and decades ahead. It did not take us very long to realise that this parenting lark is a bit of a mine field!

We had a superb xmas and new year thank you very much for asking. Themes included: food and drink, plenty of long walks to work off some of the food and drink, oh and a couple of rounds of Scrabble to make sure our brains didn’t completely seize up. We also made the most of the opportunity to enjoy a few lie-ins in advance of baby feeding and nappy changing at the inevitable 3AM.

Our 2009 promises to be a busy one. Baby should be on his way within the next few days/weeks. On the house front we’re subject to contract … again.

Before any of that though, I’ve got to take care of a xmas tree shitting pine neegles all over the carpet.

Right I’m off to eat Jam Roly-poly and watch Lark Rise to Candleford.

Top of the year to you and your’s.

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Weddings in June

12th August 2008 • Dave

Two weddings within two weeks, a handful of birthdays, my flat going on the market, my first professional twenty twenty cricket match, Lenny Henry at the Swan Theatre, one or two changes at work – there have been very few dull moments lately!

This post, should you choose to read it, is written by a slightly sleepy man sitting on concourse F at Philadelphia airport. For the past 18 hours I have been traveling to the American Council of the Blind’s annual convention being held in Louisville Kentucky this year. So I’ve found a moment to blog, so better crack on.

Quay Mill, a renovated water mill constructed somewhere near Cambridge in the 18th century, was where my friends Kimberley and Luke tied the knot in mid June. Congratulations to you both! Very many thanks for inviting Emma and I to celebrate a truly wonderful day in such a superb setting with such a legendary bunch of people.

The short ceremony , in which Luke’s grandmother reminded us that marriage was about the big things and the little things, was closely followed by a photography fest plus Champaign reception on the hotel lawn. The wedding breakfast featured beef plus a considerable quantity of red wine who’s identity escapes me. For the meal I was seated with some of Luke’s friends, who now maybe former friends? I miss heard Connor’s name and addressed Connor as Cameron for the duration! Doh. I met a man partially responsible for the web site and proceeded to give him a grilling about accessibility not equating to usability yadda yadda yadda. A student of architecture got an ear full on the relative merits of medieval Cathedral design. Oh yes I’m just the bloke you want on your table at a wedding! Luckily: the bride, the groom, the mother of the bride, the father of the groom and the best men all came to my rescue by entertaining and moving everyone with witty and erudite speeches of there own. The cake was cut and the dancing commenced.

Emma and I had traveled across by train from Worcester to Cambridge early on the Friday. Having taken a quick look at the venue online it was clear to us both that Quay Mill was somewhere to be savored. This country hotel successfully blends original architectural features, rustic furnishings, fantastic food, a wondrous whisky bar featuring no fewer than 40 single malts … Heh I’m not on commission. Needless to say Emma and I enjoyed every moment making full use of all the facilities including several trips to the full size swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna.

In all sincerity, Kimberley and Luke’s family and friends were: warm, welcoming, friendly, funny … And bent over backwards … Steady … We felt part of the family. Thanks everyone.

Two weeks later it was my sister’s big day in more ways than one. Not only was it Catherine’s wedding day but she chose to marry on her 30th birthday! Below is something approximating to my Brother of the Bride speech delivered on the day.

“Good afternoon everyone,

You have all helped to make my sister’s wedding a magnificent occasion. I could spend the rest of the weekend thanking everyone. However, I am under strict instructions not to. But I will say it to you when I see you. Thank you!

Catherine has kindly invited me to say just a “few” words. A task which some of my harsher critics may liken to throwing a red rag to a bull. Aren’t bulls color blind? When I was trying to put this together, I found that there were so many words from which to choose and so little time in which to choose them.

There’s the one about baby Catherine. Apparently she used to scream quite a lot keeping her two-year-old brother awake at night. An outrageous family legend has it that her 2-year-old brother used to smack baby Catherine’s bottom to try and stop her crying. Just as well Catherine does not scream quite as much these days! You’re never too old.. mate…

There’s the one about When Catherine was 5 and fell off her bike. Nothing remarkable in a little girl grazing her knees. Not Catherine though, no she was admitted to hospital after the side of her face caught the handle bars which pierced her cheek! Ouch. I think Catherine became slightly more cautious after that. Although it didn’t stop her bragging to me about the incident. Secretly I remember being slightly envious and seriously impressed that my little sister could be so brave and make light of so much physical discomfort.

there’s all sorts of stories about when we played together as kids. When Catherine and I were children we had a car mat. The image on the mat depicted a small town including: roads, a school, a police station, fire station and houses. For hours on end we would push matchbox cars around on the mat, debate the finer points of interior decor, and pretend that we both had jobs, and our own homes a couple of miles apart. We loved that car mat.

Anything missing from the car mat, such as the odd stage for a rock and pop festival, would undergo an elaborate design before Lego construction commenced. Even then we couldn’t really see the colors of the Lego bricks too well, so our constructions would rise from the carpet, indiscriminately using every brick of Lego we could lay our hands on, towering a good 7 or even 8 inches in all their garish multi-color glory!

As is sometimes the case with siblings, collaborating on major construction projects does not always pass without instant. Occasionally their would be miner disputes. Following demolition during the salvage operation, conflicts could potentially arise regarding the respective ownership of the various building materials.

One day some well-meaning soul decided to divide our Lego based on the color of the bricks. Catherine would be allocated all the blue bricks, (about a third) and I was allocated all the red (hmm about two thirds). Doh, yeh that went well. Think I probably owe you a couple of 2 by 4s mate.

In our teens, Catherine and I gained a not completely unfounded reputation for throwing the occasional outrageous party. We were once reprimanded by the local constabulary for having people on our roof and threaten with eviction by our landlord for, and I quote “beer stains on the sealing”.

there was the one when Will first came to stay over with Catherine and I in Lancashire. I’m not really sure Will knew what he was getting into, think he got a bit of a shock … no really. Will attempted to change a bulb in one of our dodgy light fittings and almost electrocuted himself! Not quite the impression either of them were hoping to make.

Will’s commitment to blind county cricket and now an international Blind football career not withstanding, Will has stood by my sister through thick and thin over the past 11 years.

During that time Catherine’s academic achievements have included her BA with Honors in English from the University of Central Lancashire. I even got my hair cut for that one!

Catherine has remained fiercely independent, qualifying with her first guide dog Kresta and recently with her second dog Oak.

Catherine’s Professional career started in fund-raising with the National Library for the Blind before moving into a student support role with the University of Worcester.

Following a project to raise awareness of disability in Portugal, together Catherine and Will were recipients of the National Millennium Volunteer Awards.

Catherine and Will have taken them selves off to numerous gigs including the Glastonbury festival, holidayed on the Isles of Silly, and last year enjoyed a city break in Paris.

Has anyone got any idea where they’re going for their honeymoon? I think it’s probably a closely guarded secret, although my money was on Oswaldtwistle.

Now here’s the cheesy part mate!

As well as being my sister, for 30 years Catherine has been one of my best friends. Catherine has always been a phone call away, she has literally bandaged me up when I’ve been bleeding and hugged me when I have been heart broken.

Alcohol makes Catherine giddy, flamboyant and mischievous. But most of the time my sister has tremendous poise. Catherine is: caring, considered, courteous, cautious and compassionate.

Will has not tried to change Catherine to make him happy. Will has expanded Catherine’s horizons, introducing her to new music, cinema and ideas. The less said about Dawson’s Creek and Friends the better.

In conclusion, I am extremely proud and honored to have Catherine as my sister, and now Will as my brother in law. I have nothing but admiration and respect for their individual and joint achievements, not least of which is their first 11 years together.

Catherine and Will are just as indecisive as each other. As their family and friends we will always be frustrated by the length of time it takes them to make even the tiniest of decisions. However, we can be confident that any decisions they do make, especially the big ones, are absolutely the right ones.

To Catherine and Will!”

So there you have it. I’m all wedded and blogged out for now. Two really tremendous days and two really tremendous couples who I am sure will continue to have many happy years together. Righty I’ve got a flight to catch.

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Rocktober so far

7th October 2007 • Dave

Just catching up with email blogs and pods after a busy couple of days.

Thursday morning saw me dragging my sorry arse into the shower at the crack of doom, 5AM to be exact, to get the train to London to speak at Tech Share. There was a lot going on in DAISY, digital tv, mobile phones, web 2.0, and much more to keep me busy over the couple of days of the conference. Probably not such a good idea to burn the candle at the other end as I basked in a torrent of abuse from a gang of rowdy rugby players from Australia and New Zealand in the hotel bar at stupid o’clock. “The only thing worse than a pommy bastard is a blind pommy bastard”!

Friday afternoon I went East to Ipswich to visit with Clare and Martin. Little did I know their would be a fire engine ablaze (doing what it said on the tin) close to the railway line somewhere on the A12 which would take me and my fellow passengers on a coach diversion into deepest darkest Essex. I got to Ipswich eventually although it would have been quicker to come back to Worcester.

The Dove then the Rose and Crown supplied the bulk of the evenings entertainment. Yours truly scared off a few locals by hammering out a couple of numbers on a freshly tuned piano before we headed back to Martin’s Penthouse which everyone knows is situated above a row of well appointed boutiques. Needless to say the whiskey was flowing like the crystal streams they say flow in heaven. It wasn’t long before Roberts was burbling somewhere on the kitchen floor and I was slump on the soap her putting the world to rights with a gentlemen from the United States.

On Saturday Gordon Brown didn’t call an election and Martin redeemed himself waking a morose me with tea and toast then posting my hangover into a taxi bound for the train station. I changed in Cambridge for Birmingham and had the company of various amusing groups of passengers. There were the chavs who between arguments sang along to banging tunes emanating from a mobile phone. The little boy and girl who tickled each other and resisted the attempts of their grandmother to get the kids moving when it was time for them to disembark. The German lady accompanied by an extremely enthusiastic mail student from Stockport.

I arrived relatively safely in Birmingham where I met with friends for a Japanese meal at a Teppanyaki restaurant. If you have not experienced Teppanyaki then I highly recommend it. Not only is it great food, but hugely entertaining.

It’s back to the office for me tomorrow.

Hope all’s well in Internet land.

All the best.

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Islay impressions, photos on FaceBook

21st September 2007 • Dave

I have many fond memories of my week on Islay attending the Bruichladdich whiskey academy.

The people of Islay were warm and friendly, the air was clean and the food was fresh. I was able to get my hands dirty gaining practical experience of all aspects of whiskey production from barley to bottle. Malting, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, filling, warehousing, bottling and needless to say tasting.

The throb of the turbo prop twin propeller aircraft landing me on Islay; the strength of the stiff sea breeze coming in off the Atlantic; the sweet taste of malted barley grains. The clacking of the mill making grist; the thunderous power of thousands of gallons of water filling Mash Tuns; the smell of fermenting yeast in washbacks; the hiss and heat in still rooms; the piece of damp and dark warehouses; the weight of bourbon barrels and sherry butts; the rhythmic clinking of the bottling line; the gentle tinckle of drams of aged single malt whiskey in nosing glasses; the unrestrained laughter of students at the university of life; these impressions of Islay and her people plus many more memories will stay with me for a very long time.

Just as well really as Mr Martin Roberts and I are now joint owners of a barrel of new make spirit which is maturing in a bonded warehouse overlooking the atlantic ocean. It should be ready to drink some time after the year 2017.

Oh and did I mention that my favourite new word is “reflux” – vapour which falls to be redistilled resulting in only the lightest cleanest vapour making it to the condenser.

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Post 425, FaceBook and other stuff

4th September 2007 • Dave

I have finally succumbed to peer pressure and signed up to the Book. Now I am looking for way to integrate this blog with my FB activities. Grgrgr. Everything else is ticking over just nicely.

Online – I’m enjoying the BBC iPlayer and 4OD as well as Audible where I just bought a Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon.

Offline – The Whiskey Academy on Islay bookended by weekends in Preston is fast approaching. I am wondering what to pack and what not to pack. When travelling for work the choices are pretty clear: suits … check, Dolphin shirts .. Check, laptop … Check, bag of smartphones and accessories … Check. But a week on a remote Scottish island in September is a different prospect entirely. I’m hoping to squeeze in a guitar lesson and pub quiz before I go, neither of which is likely to offer any inspiration in the packing department.

In randomness – Don’t look now but Liverpool are sitting astride the English Premier League! Oh and lest you forget, I am 31 in 45 days! I just bought some nectarines from the Co-op. Think I may go and try one.

Fascinating eh? This is why I don’t blog much!

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Name dropping

21st August 2007 • Dave

The 2007 Edinburgh festivals are almost over. :sniff.

Entertaining house guests, (wait all year for one and then 4 come along at once) plus pending trip to Islay, oh and not forgetting the monster mortgage are all milking my various lines of credit to the max! Consequently I cannot realistically run to a quick trip up to Edinburgh this August.

What could be described as the disability media is doing its level best to make everyone feel like we are there though. You can be the judge as to whether r not they are doing a good job? Those of us who have been know there is no substitute for bingeing at the Fringe. Bar, stand-up comedy, bar, stand-up comedy, bar, play, bar, comedy, bar, sleep was all in a typical day when I went in 2005. I can’t imagine what the attraction is for the Ouch and In touch teams? Anyway to the name dropping.

On-demand until 28 August In Touch features Chris McCausland – stand-up comedian with whom I went to school and college, and Sally Clay who I may have fancied the arse off once upon a time. That was before she went off to posh music college and started using all that fowl language! Anyway, they are both talented in very different ways. What with busy schedules all round they sadly do not see anywhere near enough of yours truly!

Ah well, life’s a shithouse! Maybe I will save my beans and try doing Edinburgh next year.

Anyway, gotta run as my fingers are recking after
guitar lesson number 2. I’ve got two new chords and we even started a bit of picking. It could be wishful thinking but I am convinced I am starting to sound slightly less crap than I did last week. Watch this space.

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