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To Blog or not to Blog

“Why DO you do it?” asked a friend of mine the other day (no names no pack drill but he has commented on here a few times). It’s a question I’ve never asked myself. “I just kind of enjoy it I suppose” I answered pathetically. Then he said “It’s just like Friends Reunited or Ebay or whatever” it’s a fad – it’ll pass. People will get fed up reading the shite you write sooner or later”. Ooooh! wounded I was.

So it started me thinking why DO I do this? Well I’ve never been one to hold back an opinion so expressing them is a kind of safety valve I suppose. The equivalent of being in an empty room and banging one’s head head against a brick wall and shouting, only a bit less painful and a little quieter. Well it was a bit like an empty room when only a few souls ventured in this direction. For whatever reason readership has been gaining steadily particularly in the last couple of weeks. The blog stats zoomed through 20,000 yesterday and sitemeter is showing more than 300 visitors yesterday and today.

The real reason I do it though is a combination of the above theraputic balm and the chance to be creative. That might be expressing an opinion on current events or writing a song. It could be as simple as posting a video and a one line comment to go with it. If it gets a reaction by a comment then you know you’ve connected with someone and had at least a marginal influence on their day.

The creativity can be done when the opportunity presents itself (In my case usually in the morning between 6am and 7:30 when the rest of the household are still crashed out.)

“You’re a sad man – your obsessed!” was my friend’s (well I think he’s a friend!) parting shot

I’m not am I? God I’ve been worrying about that for days now!

;)

Travel Advice Required

We’ve decided to take a short break in London. Can any of you experienced travellers tell me the pros and cons of Easyjet? (Glasgow/London) Is it worth the extra to go to Gatwick? if not, is Luton or Stansted the better option? It LOOKS like a no brainer as Luton is so much nearer Central London. Any advice gratefully received.

Now it’s the Dram Police!

“Distilleries could be barred from serving a dram to visitors at the end of tours under Scottish Government proposals to tackle alcohol abuse.

Scotch whisky bosses believe tough restrictions on promotional activities could undermine one of Scotland’s biggest earners and the tourist industry in rural areas like Speyside.”

The full story is HERE

I am reminded of a story recounted by a friend when the chancellor recently put extra tax on malt whisky, supposedly to discourage the “drink culture”. He said he had seen two shellsuit clad youths in burberry baseball caps in the supermarket discussing whether to go for the Ardbeg or the Glenlivet.

Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down The Crazy River

Fantastic song though from this position 21 years later you can play cliche bingo as the video progresses.

Bigrab’s Whisky Recommendation – Aberlour a’bunadh

I have actually mentioned this whisky before on the old blog but it merits a mention in my recommendation series because 1) It is a very fine Speyside whisky 2) It is cask strength ( 59.6%) 3) It costs just over £30 which by comparison to other normal strength single malts is very competitive indeed.

It really is a similar colour to the photograph and comes in a very attractive bottle with a wooden topped cork and a wax seal. Some people don’t worry about such faldera but I think it all adds to the experience. For example, Glenfarclas 105 which I have featured before is a very similar product to a’bunadh but the presentation of the latter I think gives it the edge. The “whisky bard” Robin Laing was moved to write the following song about it.


The following is from the Aberlour Website

Aberlour a’bunadh is a natural single cask strength malt whisky. Taken directly from specially selected sherry casks it is bottled as simply as possible without the use of modern filtering methods or the addition of water. The three main characteristics that distinguish Aberlour a’bunadh from the other single malts are:

Original Cask Strength means that the whisky is bottled at the strength of the cask, which in the case of the first batch of a’bunadh is 59.6%. Not diluted, the whisky possesses a greater aromatic complexity. Most malts of the old days were cask strength.

Not Chill-filtered. Today most malt whiskies are chill-filtered to prevent the whisky becoming cloudy when adding water or ice. This process, which did not exist in the 19th century, removes some richness and mouth feel as well as some fruit and sherry character. Aberlour a’bunadh is a true replica of the old days’ malts.

Only the best Sherry Butts, which previously held oloroso, have been selected by Douglas Cruickshank, Aberlour’s Distillery Director. These casks are the rarest and the most precious used for whisky maturation. Again, they were used in the old days when sherry was imported from Spain in casks which were then left empty sitting in UK ports or ships.

Tasting Notes…
A 19th-century-style whisky matured exclusively in Spanish oak Oloroso sherry butts, then bottled at cask strength. Dark, luxurious and powerful; a superb after-dinner malt.

Colour
Deep, rich amber.

Nose
An intoxicating aroma of mixed spices, praline and spiced orange, harmonising with rich, deep notes of Oloroso sherry.

Taste
Orange, black cherries, dried fruit and ginger, spiked with dark bitter chocolate and enriched with sherry and oak. Full-bodied and creamy.

Finish
Robust and intense, with bitter-sweet notes of exotic spices, dark chocolate and oak.Aberlour a’bunadh is currently available in France, UK, Duty Free and is soon to be exported to other countries around the world.

Firstly try neat and then add a little water to taste (or not as the case may be) Try some with a good quality dark chocolate. Superb.

Lets Start the Week With a Laugh.

This guy sticks his head into a barber shop and asks, “How long before I can get a haircut?” The barber looks around the shop and says, “About 2 hours.” The guy leaves.

A few days later the same guy sticks his head in the door and asks, “How long before I can get a haircut?” The barber looks around at shop full of customers and says, “About 2 hours.” The guy leaves. A week later the same guy sticks his head in the shop and asks, “How long before I can get a haircut?” The barber looks around the shop and says, “About an hour and a half.” The guy leaves.

The barber looks over at a friend in the shop and says, “Hey, Bill, follow that guy and see where he goes.” In a little while, Bill comes back into the shop laughing hysterically. The barber asks, “Bill, where did he go when he left here?” Bill looked up and said, “To your house.”

And staying on the barber theme, this time in New York.

A Buddhist monk goes to a barber to have his head shaved. “What should I pay you?” the monk asks. “No price, for a holy man such as yourself,” the barber replies. And what do you know, the next day the barber comes to open his shop, and finds on his doorstep four gemstones.
That day, a priest comes in to have his hair cut. “What shall I pay you, my son?” “No price, for a man of the cloth such as yourself.” And what do you know, the next day the barber comes to open his shop, and finds on his doorstep four freshly baked teacakes.
That day, Rabbi Finklestein comes in to get his sideburns trimmed. “What do you want I should pay you?” “Nothing, for a man of God such as yourself.” And the next morning, what do you know? The barber finds on his doorstep…………………………. four rabbis!

You Bet!

I don’t bet very often, in fact hardly at all but I tend to put a few quid on when I get a strong feeling about something. Yesterday I put £10 on Russia to win Euro 2008. This was based purely on one match (Russia v. Sweden) in which the Russians looked happy, cohesive and bloody deadly. They just look like a team whose time has come.

In last night’s game against Holland, Russia again had the look of winners. Arshavin looked absolutely brilliant as he tore the Dutch defence apart. I heard a statistic that last night’s game produced 51 on target shots which is pretty amazing. Fast forward to tonights game between Italy and Spain where Spain edged through on penalties after a turgid boring 120 minutes. Last night’s game between two northern European teams was honest, attacking, full of incident and fast flowing. Tonight’s Mediterranean contest was niggly, mean spirited, boring and predictable.

Whilst flair and excitement is no indicator of victory, I sincerely hope Russia dispose of Spain in the semi final. It’d be the right outcome regardless of my tenner.

We’re Number One!

On the list of the Top Scottish Websites .My joy is tempered somewhat by the fact that the site seems to be broken. Before it was broken TBLFP floated between 14th and 9th.

The Tree Menace – Latest

The Daily Mash

Thanks to Steve B in Arbroath who is an old friend who keeps sending me stuff. He recently sent me a link to The Daily Mash which is a satirical online newspaper. Here’s just a taste:

THE violence at the Uefa Cup final began much earlier than was thought, probably in the late 17th century, officials said last night.

Image

Uefa said the ring-leaders included King William of Orange and his horse

A Uefa investigation has revealed last month’s violent scenes in Manchester were directly related to tensions arising from the Battle of the Boyne, which took place near the east coast of Ireland in 1690.

It is now believed the conflict was sparked not by a faulty big-screen television, but by a series of marginal differences over the correct method of worshipping Jesus.

Uefa said the violence then continued on and off for another 180 years until it was formalised with the establishment of Rangers Football Club in 1872.

Jean-Marie Le Blanc, Uefa’s head of riots, said: “The violence in Manchester has deep, complex and incredibly stupid roots.

“It seems to based on an entrenched hostility towards Papal doctrine and an insatiable lust for the blood of ‘fenians’.”

He added: “If we want to prevent this kind of violence we must establish a single, agreed method for the worship of Jesus across the continent of Europe.

“Oh yeah, and booze – don’t give them any booze.”

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