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denouncing the thing as a fake and a blatantly obvious video hologram. I mean, I didn't,
obviously, but if I'd seen this after a Blue Moon or two, I might have.
There's a restaurant and bar, corporate hospitality spaces and a well-stocked shop
selling loads of whisky and the usual collateral-association stuff of the trade; whisky-fla-
voured socks and that sort of malarkey.
It's actually a decent introduction to whisky as an industry and a drink. For purists
and people who've done a lot of real distillery tours it's basically beside the point, but it's
not designed for that sort of person anyway. And it does make some telling points, such
as mentioning the historical chance that led to the phylloxera blight crippling the wine
and therefore the brandy and cognac industry in France just at the time the whisky makers
were properly able to take advantage of the fact and push their product as a fitting substi-
tute for these more established - and indeed historically more respectable - spirits.
Izabella is from Poland and while we're sitting drinking our Blue Moons she writes a
postcard in Polish to our friend Gary Lloyd and his wife Christiane, who I'm going to see
at the weekend. Roger and I write two postcards. Bought on the Royal Mile, these have
been chosen for maximum Bonnie Scotland kitschness, Roger's showing a plate of hag-
gis, neeps and tatties with a glass of whisky, mine a pair of cute Scotty dogs and some
sprigs of heather. The point is the two postcards only make sense read together because
we've swapped every second word. Under the influence of the Blue Moons this seems
like just one of the wittiest things anybody's ever thought of since Mr and Mrs Wilde
conceived the boy Oscar. We are also spookily convinced of the rightness of our wheeze
because when we write our messages out on the backs of beer mats before committing
them to our hideously kitsch postcards (proper writers always do a draft first, after all)
they are, coincidentally, exactly the same length.
The three of us have already lunched well at Viva Mexico on Cockburn Street - best
margaritas in Edinburgh - but shopping, the tour round the Scotch Whisky Centre, the
Blue Moons and intensive high-concept postcard writing leave us fit for a decent din-
ner too, so we head next door to the Café Royal Oyster Bar for food (and some Chateau
Musar - you need something robust and powerful to cut through to your taste buds after
carpet bombing them with the multiple warheads of a Blue Moon).
Roger and Izabella fly south and a few days later I head in roughly the same direction,
taking the M5 to Chester to see Gary and Christiane. I'm taking them their wedding
presents; they got married a few weeks ago in Sorrento, Italy, and while we were in
Bruges earlier in the year Ann and I bought them some small things for their house. We
could post the presents but I want to talk to Gary about music stuff (this, plus the fact it's
a long drive, is one reason Ann doesn't come with me).
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