Tweet. Back on line after two weeks off. The last time B and I camped in The Lake District there was this Little Owl that gave us its very monotonous 'Tweet' above us, all through the night. Throwing shoes and cursing in the small hours only had the effect of losing shoes.
This year we had the company of a panicking mother Sandpiper. Tweeting all day. But not, thankfully, at night.
So we've had a lovely two weeks in a tent on a lake. Big 50 year old army thing. We had this old Indian 'Firepit' (from Company of the same name) like a giant Balti to cook on and deter midges.
The deep peace of the Lake soaks into you. As does the rain, of course.
But wine tastes better on damp days. Did you know that? Fact. To do with low atmospheric pressure. More flavours escape from the liquid. So we took every opportunity to let them.
'Room temperature' is a bit tricky outside. So we looked for the softer, lower-tannin reds.
Tarapaca 'Terroir' 2010 surprised us; big but so soft. Ponte del Diavolo – Refosco grape from Friuli, went down well. As did several Pinot Noirs from Central Otago. And Javier Murua's Finca Libertad PN from Spain.
I got sent the recent Chai bottling of Chateau La Brande, Hoddy's pet Castillon vineyard. I thought a 2010 claret would taste tough in the cold but no. Gorgeous with the rack of lamb from the Firepit. Not just me saying it. We had the parents of renowned Bibendum Buyer Iain Muggoch with us that evening. They know their wines. And they loved it.
And of course J-MS had to send me his latest creations. From his own bodega: his wildly successful white Rioja; Altos Blanco. From Le Chai: his J-MS 2011. The cream of his Sauvignon B, which he barrel-ferments in new wood to give it a big Burgundian richness. Loved it.
All this wine arriving … The delivery chap said he'd never delivered to a tent before and was quite impressed by our consumption. "It’s my work!" I say. They never believe me.
For cold, wet nights, with no central - or any sort of - heating, of course nothing beats a lovely old Malt. Of which we have an extensive selection of single cask private bottlings we call First Cask. "Sod central heating", I cry, "give me that Glenkinchie '87, a wood fire and a thick sleeping bag.”