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Good evening, Tumblr :)
And HELLO! I do apologise for my prolongued absense - turns out that so many of my dreams all came true recently and I’ve been ejoying life away from the internet with a new-found love. I do still hope to come back properly one day, but for now, I am very much concentrating all of my attention on things closer to home and on making this the happiest time :)
I miss you guys and think of you often - I drop in every now and again to keep up with what’s going on, but haven’t been anywhere near as involved as I used to be.
My love to you all and big hugs,
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Someone fantastic gained +1xp today!
Have a lovely day, M :)
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The Little Things
This week has been the busiest week of work I have ever known. I work for a college, but - unlike most subject areas - our team doesn’t break for the Summer holidays. Indeed, if anything, August has so far seen quite a significant increase in workload.
Couple this with the fact that one of my colleagues is on holiday (we are a very small team to begin with) and you’ve got a pretty full-on situation.
Now, before I go much further, I just want to point out that this is not a grumbling post - you’re safe :)
I don’t mind being busy in my job. To an extent, I’m still in a sort of ‘honeymoon period’ (I only started in June) but the work we do is really rewarding and I’m properly enjoying it. Sometimes, though, I wish I had more time to get everything done.
So, what am I getting at? Well, on Tuesday, a colleague and I spent the entire day in a window-less lecture theatre, enrolling students and wading through paperwork. At the end of the shift, my boss came over and handed us college pin each (see photo). He thanked us for our hard work, and said that he’d been to marketing to get us some presents.
It’s only a little thing, but it really touched me.
I really love my job :)
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A fitting way to bring this Scotland adventure to a close, methinks :)
Thank you for the whisky-love!
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Distilleries put a lot of effort into getting their product just right - from the amount of peat in the malted barley and the number of hours spent fermenting the wash to the shape of the stills and the purity of the new-make spirit, but it’s the ageing process which gets the most attention.
In order to be called whisky, the spirit must first spend at least 3 years in an oak cask (though many distilleries will give it much longer than that).
The shape and size of the casks play a very important role in the ageing process - as does whatever it was that the cask previously contained (unlike bourbon whiskey, which always uses fresh casks, single malt is aged only in those which have already been used for something else - indeed, many ex-bourbon casks are shipped to Scotland for this purpose).
After an initial period of ageing (usually around 8-12 years), some single malts are then transferred to sherry, rum or wine casks for ‘finishing’. This can take anywhere from 6 months to a number of years and imparts certain extra complexities to the flavour of the whisky. (I am rather fond of a nice sherry-finish!)
Whisky is very much about the long-term - a glorious waiting game, full of expectation and confidence in the final product.
Sleeping whisky shown here at Bruichladdich, Lagavulin and Kilchoman.
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As any decent whisky tour guide will tell you: the shape of the still is IMPORTANT.
I got a grasp of the basics, but am still in the dark about some of the specifics. All I really know is that they look gorgeous and that - to avoid explosions (!) - most distilleries won’t let you take photos from very close. Luckily, many of the ones we visited weren’t in production. Even so, the tour guides looked a bit nervous when the cameras came out.
Stills shown here are (from top to bottom) Jura, Kilchoman, Bruichladdich and Ardbeg
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I visited 9 distilleris in 4 days during my Scotland adventure. They all offered tours and I went on quite a few. The process was very similar in each, but with subtle differences (for example the trerrifying mash tun equipment, seen here at Ardbeg (top) and Bruichladdich (bottom)).
I’m still getting used to the idea that it’s not socially acceptable to drink whisky first thing in the morning (and then carry on…)
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A picture of Bob!
It’s been a while since the last one…
I’ve been reading through all the wonderful comments you guys left on the pictures I put up while I was away (and scrolling through the many notes I got since a certain Ms Jeannie featured my portrait of the Queen) and I just wanted to give you all a hug - it’s easy enough: just pretend you’re a short, portly (shortly?) Scottish man who’s generous with his whisky and you’re most of the way there!
Thank you, once again, for the encouragement and the lovely words - and Alejandro, I love you too :)
Also - Hello to all you new folks!
Ps: Needless to say, I did not take this photo.
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Lagauvulin Distillery - Very (very) generous with their whisky at 10 am! Led to a day of weaving about quite merrily :)
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Wow! A lot has happened while I’ve been away (for those who don’t know, I’ve been on Islay and Jura, touring whisky distilleries).
First of all, I would like to thank you all so very much for the many and lovely comments. I wish I had the time to reply properly - let alone catch up with the many fabulous shots which went up while I was gone. I missed you guys!
In brief, some of the things I’ve noticed while scrolling through my dash:
Two years of Textless! Now that’s something to celebrate. Nice work :)
Some excellent work from Trina’s Orange Jello, Skinny’s fabulous Sunset, Roku’s grass and yellow things, Jeannie’s food (of course!), Kristina’s mantis and many more things.
Marty, you’re still the boss and Mr P, you rock my dash!
Alejandro, you know how much I like your things and Manadh, you make me laugh and I love your shots :)
Fat Chance - you win the prize for stunning macro, vintage goodness and learning! And Mercedes, you own all things roses and those Dimensions are supreme!
Zeek - keep trying those new things - you’re onto a winner!
MG, I’m sending all my love to your fallen laptop - may you bounce back stronger.
And Mr A - what can I say? You are king of the sunsets, cigars and all-round adventuring greatness. How did your show go? And some beautiful Leafy Spurge Hawk Moth caterpillars you got there!
Thank you all for the macro-love! The next few shots I post will be in some way related to my recent trip :)
Oh! And I got me some crazy blue tags from somewhere. How did that happen!?
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It’s only because this little guy was so incredibly tiny that I managed to get so much of him in focus (and that only after many, many attempts)
He’s the last of the spiders for now, so you’re safe now :)
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