The day after I bottled the Winter Solstice 2016 Mead, I had scheduled a day after Burns’ Night lunch with some fellow offalteers from around the labs. Two of them had just returned from a group retreat in Devon where they, when not brainstorming how to push back the frontiers of science, went on a winery tour. From this, they brought me back this bottle of professionally made mead (unaware that I was making mead at all). Hooray. So, now I have the baseline of our immature mead tasted at bottling AND this bottle to tell us how it actually should mature. Exciting.
And, intimidating. This one is very crisp and clean and slightly sweet with a hint of fresh mint. It would be great with a splash of club soda and, while I expect our run to mature to something like this, ours is much drier and may benefit from a shot of simple syrup along with that fizzy water spritz. We’ll see.
For the next couple of days, though, this is our dessert beverage. Yum.
At the end of a logistical note from a former visitor to the lab who was returning after a few years to gather some data to answer reviewers’ concerns, she asked a dangerous question: “Do you need anything from the States?” At the end of my reply, I took a punt with, “No, nothing from the States, thanks. I like decent bourbon, but I can get that here.” Then, I hoped for the best.
And, very nearly the best came out of it: a bottle of Colonel EH Taylor Small Batch. No complaints, mind, as a bottle of Evan Williams (even the green label) would have made me quite happy … I can GET decent bourbon here, but it costs a fortune (factoring in the exchange rate, I could buy more than 3 bottles of this in the States for what only 1 would cost here).
And, it IS remarkable booze. Bottled in bond, 100 proof, and evokes wisteria, magnolias, kudzu, and the heat…the glorious, Southern heat. I try not to review things that deserve a proper review. Here is a lovely one if you really want to know what an expert thinks.
I, on the other hand, love to have something like this around for when a doubting visitor asks what I mean by ‘good’ bourbon. I can then hand them a glass, neat, and stammer over the words, “well, this one is all right…see what YOU think.”
Numbers, or so, listed in bold and underlined.
Everyone has shit to talk about 2016, and so do I; but, I’ll minimise that, here. I finally sprang for two new pair of running shoes to replace the pair, featured in the photos here, that I picked up in Chattanooga in September 2015 and subsequently added 2253 running miles on before retiring them last weekend (with walking, as these were my usual day-to-day shoes, these had much closer to 4000 miles on them).
Over the Christmas break, we watched a shitload of TV and a bunch of really cheery movies (highly recommended of these are the drama Martha Marcy Mae Marlene and the documentary The Coming War With China. To recover from those you might want to find Twenty Feet From Fame. But, we also caught a bunch of shit tele and some old stuff. In keeping with the theme of the year, we downloaded a collection of the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and spent the entirety of each show playing the middle-age white person version of Jew-Not-A-Jew (aka the straight person’s version of Queer-Not-A-Queer) by pointing at each corpse we spotted on screen and saying, “DEAD.” “Bob Hope. DEAD.” “Joan Rivers! DEAD.” “Gary Shandling, DEAD.” (By the way, that’s Not A Jew, Jew, and a little of both).
So, instead of the multitude of other celebrity deaths everyone is banging on about, here are the 17 I noticed but did not eulogise (and some of whom you may have missed):
17 January: Blowfly, 76
2 February: Bob Elliott, 92
16 February: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93
6 March: Merle Haggard, 79
3 June: Muhammad Ali, 74
17 June: Fred Tomlinson, 88
22 August: Toots Thielemans, 94
29 August: Gene Wilder, 83
8 September: The Lady Chablis, 59
16 September: Edward Albee, 88
30 September: Hanoi Hannah, 87
18 October: Phil Chess, 95
2 November: Dolores Klosowski, 93, American baseball player (Milwaukee Chicks)
7 November: Leonard Cohen, 82
25 November: Ron Glass, 71
22 December: Miruts Yifter, 72
25 December: George Michael, 53
In a similar vein, here are the other numbers of my year…
Obits actually in the blog: 16
Swindon’s Stagecoach Bus Depot in Old Town
Robert Ford, Madman Mayor of Toronto
Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field in apparent murder-suicide
The jihadi sparrow
The villages of Longford and Harmondsworth
America, the not so great pre-Trump version
New Years Honours of Note: 1 (for the name): Mr Fabulous Flournoy, (MBE)
Mileage (running): 1589.8, quite the slack year — the least in two decades of keeping track
Pub write-ups 1 January thru 30 June: 38
Pub write-ups 1 July thru 31 December (we moved house 28 July): 216 (254 for the year)
Recipes, such as they are, published here: 5
Brunswick Stew and BBQ Sauce
Malted Milk Ball Hot Toddy
Chicken Breasts done as if for Pakoras
International trips: Except for returning from Cork, technically a 2015 trip, 1 (Bremen)
Marathons: 1 (Wales Marathon)
Other races: 0, but a few planned for 2017
Weight (high): 169 lbs (12 stone 1 pound, Winter drinking weight)
Weight (low): 150 (10 stone 10 pounds, at the Marathon)
One of the profs I work for at Oxford picked this hat up for me in Japan because it said something about running and it was fucking hilarious.
It seems that something went wrong at the hat manufacturing plant and random words were programmed into the embroidery machine. A former colleague sent me a similarly funny menu from China a few years ago, so I think it might be a result of Google Translate applied to Asian languages.
Regardless, I can’t find anything online that this collection of words might mean:
Fly On The Horizon Like A Cloud
It continues shining exceeding a time
[As a matter of fairness and transparency, that’s my breakfast to the right in the photo: a sausage and a potato patty on brown bread drizzled with Marmite. Brits are indecipherable, too.]
It seems the Phantom Defecator (June 2015) is still fouling the facilities at work:
Momentarily excited until I realised they hadn’t just renamed the Adult Film Awards conference in a bid for respectability:
The departmental canteens are generally abysmal and I don’t know why I continue to hold out hope for a decent fish and chip lunch at them after the experiences at the Chemistry Research Lab, the University Club, or the PCR Café in Department of Physiology. I was finally rewarded for my patience with the broiled plaice offered at Biochem Café. Mind you, the chips and peas were still an abomination.
(Note: this post is a continuation of the 2014 Chippy Challenge, with all related entries linked to this map)