In the Be-Gin-ning

Carrying on with my complete lack of SEO friendly titles, let’s go.

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The other day I was called upon to come up with a gin tour completely fresh. This was something of a challenge as, though I rather enjoy it, I’m something of a gin novice. I’ve had a fair amount of gin cocktails and I’ve certainly owned a few bottles of mainstream and small batch gins, but when it comes to the actual tasting of the stuff I’m not that experienced. In the end I muddled through, learning what I could of the history and a little bit about how to savour it and mix the stuff to max out the pleasure possible from what is otherwise a quite difficult drink to get into.

I did all that and managed to impress the two ladies, and then I find out it’s to be a one time thing. Turns out it was a sort of swan song.

This hurt a bit. This was the culmination of a sort of dream of mine. Leading people to a new enjoyable experience is one of my aims. Exposing people to as many fine feelings as they have yet to sample. It’s one of the reasons I’m a tour guide, so I can show people around the city I adore and let them know there is a whole fantastic world out there. There’s crazy facts and interesting places they haven’t yet begun to imagine and a small slice of them are available from my direction. Ending the gin tour as a regular thing before it even began was certainly a blow. But it was a business decision taken in some boardroom somewhere so not really my area to dispute.

Or is it.

A thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while is to work a bit more independently. The current set up for the tours I do is that I’m paying a guy to get people for me then they pay me what they think the tour is worth. There’s a lot of independence in this as I chose the route, the information, and the delivery, but I’m essentially dependent on the guy for the vast majority of the hours. The guy decides the start time. He also decides who works what tours on what days. It’s one of these self-employed freelance gigs where there’s a lot of freedom, but which painfully remind you that freedom is not always beneficial. It’s absolutely something I’d like to keep at, though with supplemental earnings from my own operation.

I’ve got so many ideas for different ways of seeing this city. Tours based around the comfort of the guests, where people with mobility issues or babies have multiple breaks built in to make it easier. Tours where you tell the guide your favourite drink and you get taken to a place, or places, where they do this best, then also add a tour on. Ultra-long tours which function like a fitness workout, or ultra-short tours for if you have hardly time to experience it like a regular daytripper. There’s so much possibility there and I want to see if there is demand for this potential supply.

That’s why I’m to be offering bespoke tours. The gin tour has started me on a path to more independence where I aim to examine every possible way of exploring a city like this and I’ll offer it to people as well as I can. If it requires that I do multiple hours of research before every tour, so be it. I’d rather know everything about this small city than know a little something about everywhere else in the world. I’m sure I can learn that from the million guests I’ll entertain.

The writer of this piece started a new instagram today, can you tell?

Love and Marriage

It’s the anniversary of one of the best moments of my life: waking up next to my wife for the first time. Allow me to explain.

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The place we woke up looked somewhat like a motel, a low-cost lie-down kind of place which represents that classic slice of Americana all the tourists have seen on the silver screen or read about in travelogues. Not the sort of place most girls would dream about spending the first married night with the man of their destiny, and also not the sort of place most mother’s would dream about leaving their daughter to experience the next phase of life.

“Oh my god,” the mother groaned, “I am so sorry.”

The thing is, the place was actually really nice once you got inside. Done over in that international AirBNB style, with a lot of solid greys and a few dark blacks accentuated by very crisp mirrors. An ideal place

The last section has been removed at the writer of this piece’s foreknowledge for how it could develop as he does not want this to be that sort of blog

We awoke in our surprising marital bed to the discovery that I had accomplished the impossible – I’d been a Scottish groom at a wedding with an open bar and had not ended up completely trolley’d. Partly through prior planning and negotiation, often it’s helpful for me to set strict limits on when I can drink and how much. Otherwise bad times can unfold and it isn’t fun for anyone. At the wedding, I didn’t have anything besides a sip of ceremonial kalimotxo until approximately 8 o’clock, thus there was not really enough time to get hammered as American weddings end at 11 or something ridiculous, though they are then followed by an afterparty somewhere else. We skipped that event, in the knowledge that at least one Scot was going to die that night and it ought not be me as that would’ve made for the most tragic headline possible, therefore was the most likely occurrence.

Waking so clear headed and in control was pleasing, and only made more so by one of the most thoughtful wedding presents possible. Kevin, the one who Loves Orts if you know what that means, gave us $20 for breakfast. It’s a tradition which, my slightly sozzled mind at that time mixed with my often imperfect memory stretched over 4 years may be mistaken here, he picked up from his dad who gave him the same gift on his wedding. It’s a good touch when so many pay with bank deposits these days which can take some time to clear. Especially in America at that time when card payments were ascendant but not yet universal in locations like diners.

My Exquisite Wife and I enjoyed classic American breakfasts, she had a pancake stack with copious amounts of “maple”, syrup which might have been imitation or real but who cares as maple syrup is a cartel anyway, and I had bacon and eggs. Americans get a lot of stick around the world for various aspects of their food but there are two parts of the culinary experience they have absolutely nailed where I much prefer them over everyone else, breakfast and milkshakes. Yeah the classic Full English and Full Scottish are tight, but the bacon is often limp and there’s a lot of extra stuff which are unnecessary like fried tomato.

It was during this breakfast I reflected on the craziness of it all. There I’d been, a starving graduate failing repeatedly at life who’d accidentally lucked into a couple thousand pounds and used it to mistakenly book a flight to Prague for 3 months longer than intended, and I happened to meet someone who loved Scotland had been tired of doing a job I still don’t understand and I don’t need explained anymore, who’d moved to Russia to escape monotony then discovered the horribleness of suburban Russia was slightly worse than monotony so she moved to Prague. We came together like a cliche, an accident wrapped around a misunderstanding, sprinkled by my self-interested desire to cut hostel costs by securing a girlfriend, and her desire to take a walk on the wild side with the sureness that she could always quit me if she wanted.

At that moment the universe was so crystallised to me I could pick out events that hadn’t even happened yet. I knew we would have a girl, who would be perfect and would look just like me. I knew we would get a dog who wore eyeliner like an Egyptian pharaoh. I knew I’d spend the rest of my life loving the lot of them like it was all I had going on because in many ways it’s all I’d ever need to have going on. And at that moment I knew that at some point I was going to write about that feeling of knowing exactly how everything will turn out and it would all be fine, and it would culminate in a piece of pedantry which felt appropriate at the start of the piece but as it drags on and gets more elaborate feels slightly off in a stream of consciousness end of Ulysses sort of way but probably not a masterpiece.

This is the anniversary of me first waking up next to my wife because obviously we got married the day before and I’m only writing now because my anniversary was yesterday and childcare prevented it. Breath it in, kids. I’m the ghost of Christmas future and I’m here to tell you everything will be fine in the end, and if things ain’t fine, it’s not the end yet.

The writer of this piece is certain he’s revealed too much, but it’s all he knows.

Awake Until/Up At

Possibly among my least SEO friendly titles but who cares, I’m here to please the 30 people who read this, not Google

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Talking to my friend Ryan, a tour guide of great skill, I had a small epiphany. There is a time in your life you go from Awake Until and move to Up At. He was tired because he was Awake Until 6 and I was Up At 3. The difference is, I assume, fatherhood.

For I, too, once had the joy of nights that late. It’s certainly been a while since I’ve delighted in the pleasure of drinking and dancing to the arse-end of the next day as for the last 2 years I’ve been waking at the arse-end of yesterday. Am I jealous? Maybe a little bit. I like drinking and dancing and the like.

Now though I don’t know if I’d have the capacity to manage nights so late. Just the other day my early morning was caused by having literally three drinks. Three drinks at the wrong time of evening and I wake unfailingly at stupid o’clock. Now I feel great jealousy for the people who have one bad experience of alcohol and stop forever. But then again, then they never get to feel the thrill of discovery of a new gin and tonic combination or a different whisky.

I guess it’s just that one derives pleasure in different ways at different points in life. One thing that remains consistent is the need to take fun in life wherever it is available, nurture it and feed it water that it may grow into a stronger force which chases out all ills.

The writer of this piece should nap more

As the Time Slowly Passes

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Wow, so it’s been a while since I posted and longer since I posted daily, so what’s brought on this excitement to start a post with, literally, wow? Truth is, I’m a little scared.

Scared because a clinical psychologist said I’d slow down mid-20s and here I am knocking 30 and it doesn’t appear to have happened yet, or it has and I’m too slow to notice. Such things worry people if they have an unspecified level of brain damage. Hopefully the psychologist was just guessing on that front but she’s proven stunningly accurate in her estimation of my brain like a regular one on two glasses of wine.

I’m scared because as well as unspecified brain damage I have unspecified expenses due. When I have a clsarr target in mind I can get it done but when it involves My Exquisite Wife’s ability to remain here and may include lawyer fees besides admin, I’m a bit out of my depth and I’m just hoping the right money and bits of paper will suffice.

Scared because I’m rapidly approaching 30 and what do I have to show for it besides an awesome wife, tremendous baby, excellent dog, good friends, dream job and a few initial forays into investing? Which is roughly to say though I might not have it all, I have everything I consider worthwhile.

This is a big part of why I haven’t been writing. It would be easy to blame time or the baby, but the fact is I have tons of time and the baby is the best. I’ve just not been writing because I am thoroughly content with everything and more contentment does not breed content production.

For this next month I will be slightly discontent to create more posts, all to examine life moving into my 30s. Several great people only began their pathetic greatness around this time and I Have the advantage of a loving family.

Come join us to the beginning of a new odyssey

The writer of this piece is bigger on the inside.

Love, Actually as reviewed by someone who fell asleep 5 minutes in and woke up for the kid from Game of Thrones running through an airport

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The writer of this piece has actually seen all of Love Actually and thought it was fine, probably more deserving of a 7/10 on account of its great casting and solid writing, but he is on a budget for words and saved them all for this final section. Hey, how are you? What do you think of my rating?