Aye, so, coming up for our thirtieth year trading. We’ve changed the look. It’s good like, a change every now and again. 30ish years ago Judith was a doctor, I made garden sheds, we gave it up to make this wine for you. Still making fruity wines, hands on from start to finish and pumping it out to you guys with a fresh new label. I hope you like it.
We had a relaunch at the Norn (woody) Restaurant in fauncy Edinburgh on Monday night where our wines were paired with designer canapés. I never really knew what they were; canapés. Smidgens of food seemingly; mere morsels. We had to buy kebabs in Perth on the way home. Oneywise, there we were rounding up thirty years of our lives to forty odd industry figures I guess you would call them; retail guys and food writers. Sortay like dragons den but they were fine and we had a good laugh. Who wants to go out on a Monday night drinking wine? Everyone! My favourite bit was Judith describing a fermenting tank of Strawberry that starts off frothing like mad and bursting out of the top if it’s too full (our babies being sick we used to call it), but then settles down to resemble the surface of the human brain.
We’ve been delivering to Scottish Asdas for over twenty years! I have a mental map of Scotland dotted with Asda green. If I ever write a book it will be called Kirkton Gates, for I’ve spent a dogs lifetime waiting at that particular stores delivery gates. Now it’s all over; we’re delivering direct to depot. I’m reminded of a story, many years ago when Naan Meikleour, a very well known and occasionally fierce, lady that worked for us, fought for us, on the sales side, was driving along the Dunkeld road in Perth one day when she was pulled over by the police, blue light flashing; she gets out in a rage to meet them,’What is it now?!’ Boy, says, ‘Asda’s run out of elderberry.’
Tuesday, 9 a.m.
I was looking at these pies in the pie cabinet at the filling station, the girl there was warming her hands on it, the cabinet I mean; that’s what drew my attention to them; the pies I mean not the hands. She’d been out tidying up round about and her hands were cold. Is there anything tastier looking than a hot pie in a pie cabinet? I wanted one. I’ve just let the guys off at the picking and I was filling up my tank.
I nearly said ‘GIVE ME A PIE.’ but I didn’t; coward. The women might have said, “hmm, he had a pie”, but what were they going to do about it, call the police? I came home and poured cold milk on some meusli. What have I become?
Wednesday 4 p.m.
Police- “Are you Ron Gillies”
“Were you looking at pies yesterday?”
“Who told you, the girl with the cold hands?”
“I didn’t have one.”
“But you were looking at them.”
“You do know you’re not supposed to have a hot pie in the morning?”
“Well why are they in the pie cabinet at 9 a.m.?”
“That’s for night shift workers. Why were you looking at them?”
“Look the checkout lady was looking at the card machine and I didn’t want to look at her while she wasn’t looking at me so I looked away to the left.There’s newspapers over that way and I like to scan the various headlines so I can get a rounded, albeit potted, view of world affairs. The pies were on the way.”
“Why is she a lady while ‘cold hands’ was a girl, when they’re of similar age?”
“I don’t know I just like to mix it up a bit. I don’t know what to call them!”
“Anyway I DIDN’T HAVE THE PIE!”
If you have a favourite elderberry tree that’s lost it’s vigour and is basically seek lookin, cut it down. This may revive it. Cut the trunks right down to about shin height (that’s my shin not yours) and just above a set o buds. Here I have done a row what I call the Zulu method after the film, cutting down every alternative bush. The bushes cut will produce no flowers or berries next year but strong new shoots should appear. By leaving half the bushes uncut there will always be something firing while the others are reloading. I wear a canoe helmet as the branches have a habit of falling on my head and there’s no sticking out bits on this particular headgear. See the way I managed to avoid saying helmet twice, oh sh*t. Always cut your elders after Halloween as the witches hide in elders during this time. I once made the mistake of pruning too early and was awarded with a kidney stone which as anyone who has had one will know, is very painful. It was eventually healed by the cool hands of a young lady doctor.
Another good haul of apples for the oor cider. This lot is from Rossie Priory, just four miles along the road from us. I tried to get the pickers in the picture but they were too shy.
If you have apples yourself bring them in to exchange for our produce (or cash to fuel that entrepreneurial fire burning away in there). Alternatively give us a shout and we can come out and pick your apples for you.
The Annual International Bottle Smashing Tournament at the Cairn o Mohr winery out at Errol is upon us once again. This event, which is in its 13th year, started as an entertaining solution to disposing of the mountains of empty Cairn O Mohr wine bottles that accumulates over the winter at the winery every year. Competitors in the event are given seven empty regulation Cairn o Mohr bottles to throw at a two foot diameter rock (the Rock) suspended from a specially netted frame (the Thing)Gents must chuck their bottles from 13 metres and Ladies from 9 metres.
The winners in both classes are those who break most bottles off the rock. So far no-one has succeeded in breaking more than four bottles in one round. This is the only event of its kind in the world and indeed people from all over the world have competed in it, last year we saw some eighty contestants.
This year the tournament will be held on the first Sunday of June, which is the first day of the month. Anyone who wishes to take part can turn up at the winery on the day and must register before 12.30. If you would like more information about the competition please contact the winery on 01821642781 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s one. I was delivering to Gleneagles hotel one day (woooo). I don’t know if you’ve ever been there but it’s a classically grand sort of place, not dead ostentatious or anything, not as fancy as you would think but just displaying a laid back grandeur, secure of its position in the world. The back door, where you take the deliveries, is just like a working like kind of an area, people running around. There doesn’t seem to be any particular heavy security thing going, like you might expect from a prestigious establishment catering for the rich,famous, international world leaders and that, (aright,aright we get it) It just seems to be run by these fast moving, ready swearing, capable kind of lads. Get your goods in dump them down and get out. I’ve been there before. Listen, I’m not the worlds best delivery driver and I’m possibly the worst. This time I’m in there with the cases, drop them down, get my line signed and I’m on my way out but there’s a glass topped door in the way. I’d never noticed it before and it’s shut, like a swing double door job and it’s, locked shut. I can’t see how to open it. I looked up gormlessly at this baldy boy in reg workies coat behind a window and he looks fiercely back and points and mouths at a button back the way a bit. I spin round in my panic and see some couple of button like things. There’s one that looks like a clowns nose. I’m not pressing that. So I pressed the other vaguely familiar looking button rapidly and turn. It crunched a bit. I didn’t think much of it at the time. The door opened. I heard this piercing sound like a fork lift reversing bell or similar. I jump in the van and I’m away . After a bit I thought, was that a fire alarm?
Wiz up Kingoodie me and Simon spotted a cracker o a yelly aipple tree hinginoor the bankin. Loaded. An unhandy site though but we decided to go for it. Taen ten bags of , in aming nettles an that, stung tae bits but we’re well used tae it. Now this was defin etely on no mans land by the road so dinnae be gien us it. We christened it ‘Kingoodie’ fur future ref.I popped through ti the other side and here’s this wee beauty o a rid aipple tree in someone’s garden. I shouted ‘aipples,’ and then realised there’s someone standing there. I sez, ‘I’ll buy these aipples aff ye. He’s like,’ Ah well I’d need tae see Boab, he’s just awa.’ Right fine, there’s no that many oan it anywise. Boy comes alang later. I’ve seen Ian, he says it’s aright, thir jist wasted anywy. So picks it and carryin them oot. Younger lad comes in says ‘Wha said ye cid pick them? I’m like, ‘Jim and Ian, Boabs no here.’ He sez aright Ians ma dad. Carries it a intae the van. I takes a couple o boattles cider tae Ians door; it wiz oanly the one bag of that tree (the singin, ringin tree) wurth technically one bottle. He’s like whit aboot Boab. I sez ye could share them, (Big boattles) thinkin social like. He sez yi might gie us anither ain. Chancin get! How minny fowk own that bloody tree?
During a break in the filming. He’s a braw lad , Paul Hollywood, and he really did like the wine. He couldn’t stop drinking it; it’s a wonder we made it through the set. The programme will be out sometime in November.
I don’t shave that often. I’ve a mirror in front of the sink like most homes and I suppose I look at my face but I don’t think about it beyond finding it familiar. Usually I use a shaver but sometimes it goes too far and shaver becomes plucker. So I’m looking for my razor blades but my son must have been pinching them. For all the nanograms o chin fluff he produces I don’t know why he bothers. No matter how many I buy I never get to use them. Anyway he’s away to Uni now so I can relax; away to Asda to try to buy a new razor. I’ve nae idea which handle goes with which blade they’ve all got different names no wonder everyone’s going around with beards. I used to think it was terrorist chic but I now know it’s the terror of buying a handle/ blade mismatch. I end up buying one that’s got six blades with it , at least I’ll get six shaves, that should do me for a year. Apparently they are the most nicked thing, razor blades. Kind of dashes any idea of scruffy shoplifters, they’re actually quite well groomed. Maybe they have to be to get away with their trade. Maybe they pinch them for their debonair mates or sell them on the street. I’ve never been offered any.
‘Here, hisst, pal, chief, want to buy some quality razors blades at an affordable price?
‘Hydro five, power select, power needs control for ultimate comfort?’
‘Oh go on then you’ve sold it’
Anyway I bought this one out of Asda, Son comes back for the weekend, opens the brand new packet and starts using them! Mental.
We’re out picking a lot of apples for Cairno cider at the moment. Look out for us in a tree near you. Don’t shoot