Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Expensive Bottle of Whisky

The last time we took an extended break in Delores we ended up moving 300 miles north to Cumbria and changing our lives completely.  This time the break was slightly shorter and the life change(s) are correspondingly smaller.  Well, individually they are, together they add up a bit.

I love whisky.  I particularly love a good single malt.  My long time favourite has been Laphroaig, but following our recent trip there's a new kid in town.   Meet Tomatin - a small but perfectly formed distillery just south of Inverness.  I'd been on the lookout for a small distillery to visit and this fitted the bill perfectly.

We were sadly unable to take the full tour and, owing to the fact I was driving, I couldn't taste much either, but we did have a lovely long chat to the folks there and I tried the teeniest small sip of a version of the bottle pictured above.  A whole lot less peaty than Laphroaig but smooth and slightly spicy with a wonderful hint of peat right at the end.  I was smitten.  So smitten in fact that the miniature bottle I intended to buy somehow morphed into the bottle in the photo, setting me back £50 on account of the fact it's a limited edition finished off in Bourbon casks.  (The lady who sold it to me told me folks usually bought the limited editions to keep rather than drink.  I laughed before I realised she was serious...)

While not eye watering in the whole "expensive bottle of whisky" world, it was certainly expensive for us, so much so that I feel I need to justify drinking it, so here's the deal.  In a little under 2 years I will be 50 years old (??!!!!) - I promise that I will keep the whisky to drink on my 50th birthday but ONLY if I fulfil the following life changing criteria.  (And if you doubt my resolve may I refer you to this blog where we began our new life in the north, in a campervan, in January.)

1.  By the time I am 50 I will have a library.  Not a big library, but a library nevertheless.  I love books almost as much as I love whisky and have always dreamed of my very own library.

We have planning permission to extend our bungalow and the photo above is where my library will be.  Bit draughty at the moment. We need to work hard to raise more funds and take the plunge.

2.  I will finally sort out my veg plots and grow lots more of my own veg.

As you can see we've made a start but we plan to add 4 -5 more plots and get to grips with veg growing and being more self sufficient.  We already have heaps of fruit trees, now we need more veg.  My fingers are not remotely green.  This will be fun!

3.  I will make more use of the fruits and veg that we grow.

I've had a stab at making a few jams in the past.  Failed at pickles and chutneys and slam dunked sloe gins etc.  The cupboard in the picture will be emptied, de-cluttered and filled with jars of jams and pickles by christmas and kept topped up throughout the year as I learn how to make the most of the free fodder around me.

4.  I'll do more creative stuff.  Our first book is out in October this year so that should help.  Just today we've seen the first draft of the cover and we're over the moon.  No photos here yet, but there will be when it's finalised.  I've come away from the writing recently as I've had so many requests for training delivery, which I love but it takes me away from home more.  By the time I'm 50 I'll be doing a LOT more writing and creative stuff.

5.  We'll explore a lot more of the UK.

Delores at Rosemarkie

While we were away I grabbed a map of the UK and, though mildly intoxicated, I felt sure that we'd seen loads.  Turns out we've barely scratched the surface - so my mission is to spend more time exploring all the amazing stuff across the British Isles.  The world is a huge and exciting place, but so often we miss the spectacular sights right on our doorstep.

So that's it - I've got a lot to learn and do in the next 22 months and now I've said it publicly I'd better get on and do it!  (If I'm honest, I'm pretty sure I can manage the 5 things above but somewhat less confident of my ability to keep my grubby mitts off the whisky...)

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