So yesterday was the best day in my life recently. Many best laid plans did not gang agley and there were surprise events that injected unexpected happiness and joy.
A visit to my place of work by the illustrious senior staff of the University of the Ryukyus sprang a real surprise when their learned President handed me a bag. Inside was this.
Yes, a bottle of University of the Ryukyus special Awamori but joy of joys a bottle of 1977 Ardbeg. Ardbeg is of course the greatest of the Islay whiskies, frequently referred to as The Queen of Argyll.
Gentlemen it is my duty
To inform you of one beauty
Though I’d ask of you a favour
Not to seek her for a while
Though I own she is a creature
Of character and feature
No words can paint the picture
Of the queen of all Argyll
On the evening that I mentioned
I passed with light intention
Through a part of our dear country
Known for beauty and for style
In the place of noble thinkers
Of scholars and great drinkers
But above them all for splendour
Shone the Queen of all Argyll
To be given a bottle of Ardbeg that was distilled some 35 years ago on a cold, grumach Islay day in the middle of a hot afternoon in the East China Sea was too much. My shoulders shook, my eyebrows swat, my liver cried out, my low serotonin made me cry out for instant gratification. How did such a bottle end up in my sweaty hands in Okinawa?
Now here is the rub. Where is the driving rain, the scream of the Herring Gull, the rotting creels, the holed clinker boats, the cry of the lamb who has lost its mother, the sob of the old women beshawled in the ditch, the stench of rotting seaweed, the clatter of empty Irn Bru bottles rolling around in the skip, the grey, the purple, the dark brown ?
Here it is the turquoise, the wild amaryllis, the smack of the Ruddy Kingfisher against the window, the squeal of children splashing in the sea for fruit, the perfume of the prickly pear, the screech of the monster fruit bat and the deal clincher sunshine.
I cannot drink ancient Ardbeg here.