Scottish escape (or soultonic)

Well, if there was ever any doubt in my head that I would eventually move back to Scotland, the last 5 days has eradicated it. The weather has been glorious, the wine stunning (though not, of course, actually Scottish), the company brilliant, the driving fun (though occasionally perilous) and the surroundings of such sublime natural beauty that you would think it was all new to me, rather than my country of residence for 11 years.

I wrote that yesterday. It's grey and cold today. But still beautiful.

It's been a fun-filled trip. The port tasting Saturday was brilliant and we did all drink a great deal of port. And Champagne (to celebrate the lovely Kirsty's new job selling Dom Perignon and Krug to 5-star hotels - it's a difficult life), and claret, and Burgundy and madeira and whisky and cocktails and beer and pretty much anything that didn't drink us first. But it's all about pacing, and while there was merriment, there was little sloppiness. You can't often say that when you start a meal by tasting 7 vintages of port.

Not that there weren't issues. There are always issues. Last minute cancellations were followed by last minute additions and all the numbers worked out in the end, but there was considerable stress along the way. I managed to avoid stress about numbers by concentrating on stressing about food. Again, this proved needless as the food was fantastic. Well, as fantastic as I can say without sounding immodest (and due in large part to Pete W's help). There wasn't enough cabbage, but I'm happy to blame that on Pete C as he's addicted to raw veg. He eats raw potatoes. The bits we cut off because they're green. It's gross. There's a reason why it's called the "deadly nightshade" family of plant. It's not called the "yummy-raw-and-green" family, is it?

So, after epic amounts of washing up Sunday, I went for a run and then we decided to have a meeting. Now, when the executive of the Naughton Dining Club meets, we usually have to have something to refresh the palate and stimulate the chat. So we opened a bottle of nice, old Champagne. Which was nice, but we were still thirsty. So Pete C grabbed something special and we drank that. Which was nicer. But I felt guilty that Pete C had donated such a lovely drop, so I decided to grab something special and we drank that too. Which was really, really nice. And from my birth year. 3 bottles of bubbly and we'd kind of stopped the meeting and more focussed on what take away we were going to get. We decided on Chinese. Then we tried some more wine with the Chinese and watched Love, Actually, basking in the cheesy goodness of it all.

Monday was a beautiful day. I don't recall very much of what we did, but it was nice. So was Tuesday. I think Pete C pretended to do some work Tuesday. But that may have been Monday. Tuesday was quite beautiful too.

Yesterday I had a picnic in the Luvians garden. This in itself is a minor miracle as the Luvians garden used to boast the foliage density of a rainforest in Papua New Guinea. I kid you not. The newly cleared and soon-to-be-turfed garden is a miracle scorched earth gardening.

After the picnic I drove down to Manuel House and got caught up with Gilmour and Gilli. Their news was a bit mixed - some good, others bad. Can't chat about it here, but there are some deeply awful and unfair things in life.

Today I scribbled some cool ideas in my notebooks while waiting in an industrial estate in Glasgow. Inspiration comes no matter where you may be. Be ready, willing and able to take it when and where it comes.

I'm off to pick Jo up from the airport and travel back to Fife. The adventure continues.

Saturday afternoon, the table set for a lovely port tasting and dinner.

Saturday evening. Port tasted and dinner in full flow. The beard was there. Fear him.
Post tasting and dinner mess. Much to clean.
So much port even Tiny and Lara were exhausted.

The walk the next day. Fortunately Dundee isn't as ugly from a distance.
Kirsty takes the road less travelled. And finds her hangover the less for it.
Pete C and Kirsty decide that copious quantities of Champagne are the way forward with regards to battling hangovers. I'm inclined to agree.