Oilskin Notebook

So I’ve gone back to physical notebooks. There’s something to be said about bunging emails back and forth as notes, or thumbing something into your iPhone as record, or even moving things about on Scrivener, but actually, to physically write down ideas in a notebook is something I haven’t done for a while. It’s a step back to how I used to do things. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, it’s a lovely notebook.


Allotment Year

Allotment 2013

We got our allotment last winter (January, I think) and we’ve pretty much done a full year of it. The above photo is a before and after collage. It’s good to see that we made a lot of progress – there’s still loads to be done, but we got it into good shape and ate some decent food, all in a busy year of getting married.

This was personal therapy, too. I spend a lot of time behind a computer screen, and working on an allotment shook all that artificial stuff out of me. Things were real and tactile on the allotment. Senses were stimulated – not just sight and sound, but smelling, feeling. During this year, I started taking online arguments far less seriously than I used to. I won’t say I withdrew from digital communities much, but the allotment certainly helped put things into perspective. It allowed some proper thinking time – or sometimes just not thinking at all. That made writing far more liberating and enjoyable than it had been. I think I started using the internet differently as a result: without being so immersed in stuff, it just seemed like one huge culture of mock-outrage to generate hits and advertising revenue. Anyway, suffice to say, this has done my mind some good. Doing Real Stuff – in whatever form that may take – is probably the best writing advice I can give now. It keeps your head pretty much in the right place.



Catullus 12

While everyone else is laughing & drinking
you extend
    a surreptitious claw,
    towards the table napkins
of the negligent…
    an unattractive habit
you misguidedly think funny.
You demur?
    I assure you
it is at once squalid & unattractive.
Ask Pollionus, your brother
a boy crackling with wit
who would give a substantial sum
to disembarrass himself of your talents.
Expect, Asinius, a bombardo
of 300 hendecasyllables, or
return my napkin –
    of small value itself,
but a memory of friends,
    Veranius & Fabullus,
who sent this set of fine table linen
from Spain,
    a present cherished by Catullus
at his own Veraniolus –
as Fabullus mine – must always be.

From this translation of Catullus‘ poems.


Latest Whisky Reviews


I haven’t posted any reviews from my whisky site lately, but there have been quite a few – mostly whiskies from Islay, as well.

First up was a limited edition Lagavulin, which I actually won in a competition (it’s worth a good couple of hundred quid, so I’m extra happy with this).

Next up is a young Islay distillery, and a young offering from them – the Kilchoman 100% Islay.

Speaking of young Islay whiskies, here’s a Bruichladdich distilled from grain taken from just one farm.

And finally, a really tasty 21 Year Old grain whisky – the Clan Denny Girvan 1992.