Saturday, 14 March 2009

Every early morning, just to wake up and put coffee on the stove...*

Ok, a pot of tea then.

Woke up early today, no alarm, unassisted by girning children. How pleasant. Still under the duvet I thought to catch the shipping forecast at 5.54 but it must only be on long matter, an excellent feature followed the six o'clock news. A programme of the type only the BBC can do well, 'Open Country' all about the Snowdon mountain railway, complete with presenter's mic background sound effects of clanking wheels, noisy workmen and rain lashing the carriage windows.

The feature was ostensibly about the struggle to build a new visitor centre at the summit to replace what Prince Charles called 'the highest slum in Wales'...what does he know about slums...or Wales?

It was a lovely, soothing piece which had the strange and for me hitherto unknown effect of making me want to visit Wales. Well, the mountain railway at any rate. The construction director rather touchingly referred to the previous building - buried in stone to help it blend in - as 'like a war bunker meets Macchu Picchu'...I'm sold!

Aztecs...lovely, isn't it?

This audio delight was followed at 6.30 by Radio Scotland's excellent Out Of Doors, another 'out and about' programme. Today's offering began with a trip to the whisky Mecca that is Islay to see the rebirth of the 'farm distillery'.

Such descriptive language has always been the preserve of the Beeb's factual radio output but nonetheless, it's always heartening to hear phrases like 'phenolic qualities' and 'magnificent esters' before 7am. The Kilchomain (and yes, I'll check that spelling later) farm distillery hopes to produce an 'expression' - which seems to be the malt whisky equivalent of a wine vintage - with 100% local barley, so local in fact as to come from the field opposite the still shed. That, we were told will be seriously rare stuff, for the collectors' market. The regular stuff - still super rare - will be a 25-75% mix, the larger share still impressively local, keeping the carbon welly-print down by coming from just the other side of the island.

The whole process seems cyclical, organic and inherently sensible - 'waste' products and by-products of the distilling process being used bsck on the farm as either feed or fertiliser.

The 'water of life' providing enjoyment for the drinker, sustenance for the beasts, nourishment to the land and an income for the it once was, so it ever shall be.

* Roddy Woomble - "Every line of a long moment"

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