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Dr John Hawkins

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Nothing Short of Fabulous

Posted on 2004/10/12 21:28:32 (October 2004).

[Tuesday 12th October]
Today was one of those days where everything went my way, to an almost spectacular degree. I had my first ever driving test, 10 years later than it really should have been, in the morning. I had set myself up to fail miserably - I was pretty convinced I wasn't of a sufficient standard to pass. Despite having made no end of mistakes on the lessons prior to the actual test, something just clicked in me when it came to the crunch, and I drove nigh-on perfectly for the 45 minutes or whatever ot takes. I passed with an almost clean sheet. I have always been blessed in the past with the ability to do well in exams. I hadn't previously thought this would transfer to practical rather than written tests, but it seems it did. There are a lot of things I am bad at in life, but it seems tests really are my forte.
Given that my test was at a slightly awkward time, I had booked the whole day off work, on the basis I would not be back in time to do a decent afternoon's work. I had originally planned to go into London to comiserate my failure, and despite the surprise turn-out that I'd actually passed (and I'd like to reiterate it was my FIRST TIME), I stuck to my London plan. I spent the latter part of the afternoon touring intersting and historic pubs in London, preparing for a forthcoming pub crawl. I went through quite a few - maybe ten -ish, so clearly statistically speaking not all of them were that great, but a good handful were real gems.
The real high point, in terms of my already over inflated ego, came at the last establishment I went to. In a rather blazé fashion, I strolled into El Vino - an upmarket wine bar, on Fleet Street. Having inspected the window, it appeared they had a small but very respectable selection of malt whiskies, which it appeared to their credit were in fact their own bottlings. Predictably I selected their Islay malt - a 12 year old Bunnahabhain which had been finished in sherry casks, and as such tasted a bit different to the "regular" Bunnahabhain I had at home. Superbly the manager came and sat down next to me, and asked me what I thought about their Islay malt, which prompted a discussion about whisky in general. As a wine expert, but not so much of a whisky expert, the manager was keen to hear my humble opinions on malts. This very specific area was one in which I felt like I actually had something very valuable to say, for a change, and I heartily recommended to him that he bought in some Port Ellen, as it was very much the in thing right now. I was even able to give him some information on stockists, prices, and the sort of ages he would do best to aim for. I really felt like he took my suggestions seriously, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if withinm a few weeks the regulars at this fairly famous Fleet Street bar see Port Ellen on the shelves.
All in all a downright spectacular day, for which I am immensely grateful.

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