Tuesday 22 May 2012

At long last

So much for good intentions.  Late last year, I determined that I would post more frequently and look, 6 weeks pass.
Much has happened.
The inaugural Spirit of Stirling Whisky Festival passed off very efficiently and successfully.  It seems that the small, "hand-knitted" festivals are working best in Scotland.  Whisky Magazine seems to have given up the idea of Whisky Live! in Scotland and has gone for a different Format, Whisky Luxe! with highly priced tickets (£150.00 a day) and in Edinburgh in September.  Obviously hoping to catch the tail end of Edinburgh Festival tourism.
Have moved the Scotch Whisky Trail Certificate course out of the college.  The chaos students experienced over the past 3 years when attempting to enrol has caused this.  On top of the fact that the students on the Advanced course wanted it on a Thursday or Friday and the college is not open on these evenings.  So I am taking them to The Good Spirits Company at 23, Bath Street, Glasgow.
We only announced it last Friday lunchtime and already, the Advanced has 16 confirmed students and the entry level course 12, so both will go ahead.  Minimum 12, maximum 22, over this number, the students' benefit reduces.  I know why educational campaigners argue for smaller class sizes, because 25 and over, the lecturer/teacher's focus gets dissipated.
Delivered the course for a group of 5 interested enthusiasts from South Africa: 3 days in the classroom and 2 days at distilleries.  Worked well, although some of the content had to be compressed and they went away happy.
The Cutty Sark Whisky Academy programme continues with students recently from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the US and the Caribbean.  More next week from Europe and Turkey.   A a result of this course, it seems that I am now famous in Brazil.  I must get over there and see for myself!
Have allowed Robin Tucek to persuade me that it is sensible and financially attractive to publish the next edition of The Malt Whisky File ourselves.  Have started work on this, but am nowhere near as far through it as I had hoped to be at this point.  Voluntary activities are getting in the way,
The Clackmannanshire bid for Fairtrade status which I am leading has been successful so far, but I am still waiting for advice about certain aspects of the application form which I had targetted to submit by last Wednesday.  We have been very successful in achieving a very high level of media interest, so I am hopeful that I will achieve the goal by end June.
Have tutored a couple of Fairtrade wine tastings for the Co-operative, one in Falkirk and one in Perth.  Both went very well and am receiving requests to deliver the same evenings at other venues for the Co-op. 
Also delivered a Greek tasting for The Scottish Wine Society.  Opened a lot of their eyes to the quality coming out of Greece at the moment and confused them with Greece's indigenous varietals.  I also did something very unusual, the tasting was three whites, three reds and finished with another white.  When I ordered the Gerovassiliou wines, I ordered the wrong one.  The final wine should have been Ovilos Red, what I got was Ovilos white, a blend of Semillon and Assyrtiko.  Fortunately, this is a stunning wine and still stood out above everything before it, including Gervassiliou's Avaton which In thought was magnificent.
I have been appointed a Director/Trustee of Forth Environment Link, a local environmental charity for which I have been a volunteer for 4 years.  They are doing great work to have a network of orchards across the Forht valley and about to campaign for improved cycleways around Stirling.  The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign has been going for some years now, but experience, such as that at our recent Delph Pond Biodiversity Day, shows that the public is still pretty ignorant about it.  Thus I am represnting FEL at the Tillicoultry Gala in June.
Saw a great day of rugby at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow. Kirsty's first experience of rugby as a spectator.  The HSBC Glasgow 7s.  Naturally, Scotland were beaten, sadly, but we saw some exciting and adventurous play from some world class players.