Jun. 10th, 2011 06:11 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Today I took delivery of the new Ardbeg Committee bottling called Alligator.

It is limited to two bottles per Committee member, so I bought two: one I shall lay down for the boy, and one I shall drink with chums, starting tomorrow.

Anyone can become a Committee member: just sign up. However the distillery can't ship to much of Europe and North America because of EU and US tax rules, alas.

Ardbeg: to my mind the best of Islay.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
So it looks like we're going the full whack bidding on this house we want, some two roads away from us here in leafy East Dulwich. I say leafy because the streets are full of the blighters; Autumnal and golden; sodden in the rain and adhering to cars, pavements, walls, and shoe-soles. Our golden October has extended somewhat: and this part of London has only today turned chill, with small but noticeable bite in the air. Keats' season, or Eliot's season, it is its own thing, but yet also harbinger of winter. And mayhap we move to a bigger house in the New Year.

Plans for Christmas. Somehow to include the Mother.
Seeing the New Year in at Hackness with Fra and Cressy et al.

In the meantime, I had a gig with the 'Wedding Band' on Friday.
Orchardleigh House in Somerset.

I took my new Line 6 Pod X3 Live out for its first live airing. I knew that this was going to be an interesting test because:

1) The nature of the venue (pretty small room) and
2) The set-up requirements (set up between meals) and
3) Costs (cheapo gig, bid because we weren't getting much work when it was booked)

Ergo, we went minus a PA and engineer. Jane had bought an interesting bit of kit: one Bose L1 Model II PA for the vocals and sax. The band had to rely on their backline apart from Martin, the drummer and our leader, who played acoustically, and could still have overwhelmed the backline and PA at any point he chose. Dexterity and taste from the recognised beast in the band (it's in the job description: drummer - ride motorcycle through hotel bedroom window into swimming pool - ask anyone who's ever been in a band) is not expected, but with Martin....well, he's just too damn good to let a cliche overwhelm him, however much fun it may be to do so.  I'm going to start calling him 'The Colonel' though in fact he's much more like a perfect Adjutant: his organisational and motivational skills have kept the Wedding Band in work and getting to and from venues for almost twenty years. It wouldn't work without him, and this stripped-down-system experiment was his call.

Got to say it was a bit good, actually.

Jane's piece of kit worked really well in the small space. We all turned down: I could get decent sounds at listenable volumes with the POD, though without some of the more interesting programming I had done for the GNX3. Such is. Good and usable sounds nevertheless.

My ongoing wrestling with EVH's 'Beat it' solo continued with mixed results.

We sight-read, first time played without rehearsal, 'I've got you under my skin'. Which I should have known; but most published versions are in Fm; Frank S did it in Ebmin, and I'm too occasional a player and arranger these day to transpose easily in my head. As an aside I used to have a guitar in my hands for four-to-six hours a day every day, and kept musical arrangements in my head like I had previously (in another life in a decade or more before) kept bridge hands. These last four or five years have left me rusty beyond embarrassment. And it's not going to change. And I'm not certain how bothered about it all I am anyway.

So some small wins then.

Today we went to the Whisky Exchange and I bought a brace of Ardbeg's Airigh Nam Beist and a single cask they decanted from the barrel into a 40cl bottle for me called 'Ord Mor' ABV 62.5%. I've had this one before last month, and so it must be coming to the end of the barrel. I almost bought a brace of them too, but the three bottles were already hitting my wallet to the tune of £170-(mumble)-odd. I can only drink one of the Beists as the other one is to keep for twenty-one-odd years, give or take however many months.

So, another small win there too.

Scored the tiniest amount of weed for high-days and holidays, but actually feel no need to smoke it regularly.

Blimey, it's wins all round: of expensive kinds, admittedly.

Now comes the biggest test of all: the scan. Fingers crossed. Let's hope our luck is holding....
johnny9fingers: (Default)
Saw a house on Saturday morning that seemed to fit the bill. They want £700k for it. Depends on what we get offered for our house.

Apart from that small social stuff has happened, as per usual. I have to go to the Whisky Exchange to get some more Uigeadail, as I'm running out. I've managed a bottle in two weeks: evidently I need to cut down a trifle.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

So you know I've got it bad when I'm blogging about this place

SWMBO bought me an Arbeg 'Supernova 2010' and has signed me up to various tastings. I think I have her permission to drink myself to death, should the notion occur to me.

johnny9fingers: (Default)

The Missus and I were up early yesterday to drive the Mother to Swansea, on the road to her ferry at Pembroke Dock, where she embarked to Ireland to visit the rellies and attend weddings and such like.

I'm never at my best in the mornings, but it doesn't do to dwell, my dears.

For some reason or other The Wife wasn't in too chirpy a mood either. Small spat ensued but we got to the Mother's for 6.15am. Then I drove to Swansea. Which is only two hundred miles or so. Madame and I said farewell to the Mother and headed for the sights of Swansea before taking a train to visit some of her old Uni chums who live in Bristol.

Amongst the delights of Swansea I can heartily recommend the Oxfam bookshop. They know roughly what stuff is worth, though they can rather under-emphasise the condition of the book when estimating a price. I bought a Folio Society edition of 'The Compleet Molesworth' to replace the last lost paperback I leant out, and a couple of slightly overpriced Pratchetts.

We changed trains at Cardiff and got into Bristol by about 2.15.
Taxi to chum's place: near Clifton and rather nice.
Found an independent wine shop of repute but two streets away and bought a brace of Picpoul, and a big Sicilian red for our hosts, for we were staying with them the night. Then I stupidly asked about Armagnacs....after ascertaining that he didn't have anything that interested me we moved on to Whisky. Like a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat, our wine-shop chappie produced a bottle behind the other bottles: it was an Ardbeg Corryvreckan. And you know what, even given the premium he had evidently placed upon the bottle (which amounted to a 15% mark-up) I found I could not resist. So bottles in hand we returned to our hosts: who despite small children were abrim with bonhomie. All bundled into Our Hostess' car and over the Brunel bridge to pay a visit to our Host's parents and swim in their pool: it being a hot day and small humans needing to fill every waking moment with activity, less they turn into noise making machines of hysterical grumpiness. A bit like adults then. Hosts parents are pretty much as one would have imagined: goodlooking upper-middle-class oldsters of intelligence and some wordly accomplishments and success: and nice to boot.
Returned to Clifton-ish for supper. The evening was spent in civilised company, with good conversation, food, wine, and eventually, after cheese, we cracked open the bottle of Corryvreckan.
One of the best, if not the best.

I feel I've shelled out slightly too much for everything I paid for with money this trip, But the spirit of these odd holidays has meant that I've had a pleasureable experience whatever. Now to rein my horns in, I suppose. Time to do some practise.


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