12/9/14 - 12/9/14
Today was the big day - Pat's birthday! Well, not really, but he got an email from Laphroaig saying happy birthday, so we figured we'd go with it. And what better way to celebrate than going where Pat had always wanted to go - Laphroaig.
Pat was instantly at home there - from turning the barley, to tasting the wash, and bottling the final product, he did it all. It was an absolutely fantastic hands on tour, and we all walked away at the end of it with our own bottles of carefully selected, carefully bottled and carefully labelled bottles of whisky. To top it off, the guide even accused Simon of faffing! Which led to an interesting discussion of the word "faff" with a fellow tourist, as well a discussion around the Scottish independence referendum. Of course.
Pat then used his 'birthday discount' to make a few choice purchases, and we posed the question to another tourist - how many Aussies does it take to take a photo? We put our wellies on and stomped our way through the peat bog to claim our square foot of land, and also the rent we were entitled to!
We drove to Bowmore for some lunch and a spot of shopping (you may play Islay Monopoly with us if you ask nicely), then dropped Pat at Bruichladdich while the rest of us checked out a craft shop and had further discussions re: Scotland's potential independence (with a Scot of English heritage).
We went back to collect Pat from Bruichladdich, and celebrated his sobriety with a gin and tonic. Botanist Gin, naturally. Next stop - Podsiadly! We invented the Waving Game, whereby you had to guess if the oncoming vehicle would wave to us or not. Belinda was quite good at predicting it, Neville just kept assuming everyone would wave.
Our accommodation for the night was the Storm Pod. Excellent glamping opportunity. A brilliant demonstration of how to use space efficiently, and a true test of our friendship. For the record, we're all still on speaking terms. The owner came down for a chat and told us about his whisky investments before we headed to the pub for dinner and live traditional music. The music was fine, but the sound quality was atrocious - some serious distortion going on. It wasn't long before we were distracted by a local who wondered if we were going to Jack's 21st, and if we would like to buy some cows. He had a microphone on him to solve the sound problems, but apparently the singer wouldn't have a bar of it. Eventually he vanished into the night and we were free to go home and pod off.