Rosemary's Blog

On the Town: a story for Hogmanay.

There are 64 whisk(e)y related references in this tale for the New Year. Some of them are achieved with a bit of licence, and you might like to click on either the audio file below or video link here before you read on to see how many you can catch before you look at the written word! Don't count any duplicates. Good luck - with this and in the coming year.

Big Peat noticed the Scallywag stop to draw breath in a Highland Park. Sitting on a bench, wrapped up against the cold, the Nomad appeared androgynous but Peat decided he was a Glen Mor (than) Angie, and he was right. "I've just arrived here. I came off one of Three Ships that arrived into Alisa Bay laden with Ancient Reserves of Girvan Grain for the Millennium seed bank, with Spice Tree Extravaganzas and Nectar d'Or. It's a valuable cargo so a few of us have been given a couple of days off as a reward for getting it all here safely."

"I'm Peat" said the Scotsman, heavily. "I'm Jim, Jim Beam" said the newcomer in honeyed tones. "Some say this shore leave is the Devil's Cut but I intend to enjoy it. What do you do here on New Year's Eve?" How could this stranger not know of the legendary Scotch Hogmanay celebrations? "Where have you come from?" asked Pete "Well, I'm from Kentucky, but I was in South Africa when I joined the Three Ships. There's a group of us who move about as needed - we all belong to a Canadian Club for experienced mariners."

While the men were talking a group of Signets had been swimming on the pond in a formation, almost like a Cipher, and were now heading towards a Black Bush on the bank. "Look" said Peat "I'm Teeling you that you would be really welcome to join us this evening. Let's go and get Tom". They set offacross the park to the road where they were nearly run over by a car towing a large Kavalan down towards The Circus. After a stop at the florist they knocked at the end house and Tom's partner Dee Ageo answered the door. "Come in. He's in the shower but won't be long". Almost immediately the bathroom door opened and there stood Tomintoul. "Hi Tom, this is Jim" said Peat. "He's just here for the evening and so I've asked him to join us." "That's great, we'll have some crack together and show you a real Hogmanay" said Pete, noticing that Jim was presenting Dee with Four Roses. "He's not leaving his Maker's Mark on her" he thought.

The friends set off in the direction of Great King Street and The Circus where the revellers and Artists Blend together, you can hear the Bells in the old town and there aren't too many Smokeheads and Classic Laddies consuming huge amounts of alcohol by volume too early in the evening. There was the Kavalan that had nearly knocked them over, all set up as an Epicurean bar serving Rock Oysters, Velvet Figs and plenty of drinks. "What will you have?" "Should we start with a Lime Tea or a Fruit Burst?" asked Jim. "Well, don't think they're as innocent as they sound" said Tom. "Look, there's Paul John over there" said Peat, pointing to a guy exuding Brilliance and Elegance on the other side of the road. In a moment of Enlightenment Jim realised that this was going to be a night that he may or may not remember, but that he was going to enjoy it with his new friends, buzzing like bees around The Hive as they tried many glorious drams in the smoke from the Peat Chimneys above them.

Thinking that they needed something to eat first, Jim pulled a packet of biscuits from his pocket and offered them around. "They're Bourbons" he explained. His new friends took and ate them politely, both thinking that they were a little too sweet and smooth compared to their favourite shortbreads.  Then some loud music started BalBlairing out and the friends moved away as householders started shouting and phrases which roughly meant Scapa flowed on the night air.

"Where and how will you rejoin your ship?" asked Tom "Well, I'd thought about hiring a boat to get to Oban but I've been told that it's a Longrow by the harbour master Tobermoray. The Three Ships are leaving Alisa Bay for Port Ellen, Port Charlotte and Port Ruighe so I can join at whichever I get to first. But I have some business I must do over a Flaming Heart. There's a been a misunderstanding and I need to hire a Yamazaki to get to Killchoman. I thought I'd KillKerran, but I am calmer again now" explained Jim, much to the relief of the others.

Just then came AnCnoc as King Alexander III processed by and it started to rain. Another chap had joined them with a spare raincoat. "Is this The MacAllan that Jim can borrow?" asked Tom. It was getting late. "Islay over there under the mack until morning, like a wee Timorous Beastie" said Jim (a little incoherently) "and then I must be on my way. I've really enjoyed this evening and look, here's my Signatory and if ever you are in Kentucky, please look me up. My house is next to a big hoarding in the middle of town, my wife is Douglas Laing's daughter and we call the hoarding Auld Laing's Syne. You might remember that!" he said with a smile as he lay down under the mack and started snoring almost immediately.