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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.

Categories: Personal, travel
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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.

Categories: Personal, travel
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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!

Categories: Personal, travel
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