It was a beautiful sunny spring like day here at Bladnoch although it's still cold especially in the shade and not a great day for sitting on a forklift truck. Snowdrops are out and the daffodils have popped up a few inches. I've got behind with quite a lot of the gardening and the snowy weather a few weeks ago seems to have destroyed a lot of our cordeline pines and all the spiky bits have flopped down.
I spent an hour or so painting the white lines in the car park ... that was preferable to being in the warehouse.
I had lunch with James, manager of Arran. He dropped off a cask for us to bottle for its owner. He was driving a new or relatively new 8 seater vehicle which is used by Arran visitor centre and has a nice bit of advertising on the side. Transporting a hoggie in it is not good for the carpet. If I'd had a camera, I would have taken a photo of it down here at Bladnoch and put it on our website under the caption, "Arran seeks the secret of good whisky ... at Bladnoch" I don't think it would be a good idea to use our rusty Ford Transit van for promotional purposes. James brought me a nice bottle of 12yo Arran which I'm going to open shortly ... when you work in a distillery there is something a little unique about getting whisky out of a bottle rather than a cask.
I've said before somewhere that it's always interesting to compare problems and solutions and we do have some similiar problems but I have to admit that Arran is considerably more professional than we are. James has a similiar role to myself in that he's not just involved in the distillery but also the Visitor Centre and also marketing. He's off to Whisky Live in Japan next week. He also understands business, the need to make good whisky and good profits.
Needless to say both lorries bringing in casks today arrived at the same time .... lunchtime, this causes a little bit of chaos.
With some difficulty we manage to conduct a three way conversation between myself on the forklift, John and Hugh rolling the casks into the warehouse and Carntynes lorry driver rolling the barrels off the lorry. It goes something like this, The driver shouts something to me as he rolls the barrel on to the forks and then walks back up the container for another barrel; I reverse back with the cask and transport it about 15 metres and roll it onto the ramp, I tell Hugh what the driver has said, Hugh rolls the cask into the warehouse, passing John who is arriving for the next cask. Hugh quickly shouts the bit of gossip to John as they pass each other and John gives me a response for the driver. This off-loading work lasts about an hour and is interspersed with John, Hugh and myself all enquiring regularly from the driver how many casks still remain ... soul destroying work which could easily crack up weaker mortals.
I went for a short stroll over on the runway at Baldoon at 5.30 pm. By 6 o'clock the sun was below the horizon but the sky was lit up with some magnificent colours and the leafless trees were dark silhouettes against the light ... really beautiful. Thousands of geese were still flying around and very noisy, high up in the sky, like long threads stretching for miles, the thin lines making fantastic ever changing stick drawings in the sky. I feel sorry for anyone working in an office in a city, you are missing out on some magnificent wildlife.
It's going to be a very cold night tonight.