New year drams, butties, chips and laughs by Paul Mclean of MCLEANSCOTLAND Whisky Tours

New year drams, butties, chips and laughs

It was early new year, 2019 had no long disappeared into history, a new whisky year was with us. The food provided by my host (who had well disappeared) was good, it was a platter of “nibble food” to be taken as when needed and returned to. I was, I knew, in a bar. Wee sausages, cheese squares, odd bits of pie, for some reason salad, baby triangle sarnies and every now and then a plate of chips appeared. All liberally taken with various liquid refreshments. By 2am things were becoming a wee bit bleary, events unfolding in slow motion. Still standing (or flopped in some cases) were myself – just, Specky (he wore the strangest pair of goggles), Hamish one eye, Dagger (why he had a Skean Dhu nobody knew), Mary the Mouth, Billy the barman, Shameless Shona, the Crab (a fisherman), wee wonky Wilma and Danny the man. A group brought together by the drinks behind the bar, survivors until now.

There was a rumour of a party up the road, not for me, I was ready for bed, but a chat was goin on about who would go. As I dondered about looking for the boys room, I almost fell over Paddy the Piper, strewn along three seats half on half off, he had long given up. Out cold. As everyone knows, a piper gets free drinks when playing, Paddy played all bloody night! Returning from washin ma hands, the curled up triangle butties looked appealing, I bit into the now crusty salmon buttie with delight, one more dram and me fer bed. Smiling like the village eejit, I asked sober Billy for “a dram for the road”, I have known him a good few years, he said this was on the hoose and passed a wee Glencairn over. I think he had had a case of the hic cups when pouring it; it was almost to the brim. I looked at the dram, looked at Billy. He looked at the dram and looked at me. Both sets of eyebrows raised and I headed into it. Bootiful, a delicious 18 year old Glendronach, one of my favourites. It must have been an hour later some of this dram was still there, conversations had gone from football, politics, holidays, tourists to drinks. Many topics were joined and confused, we ended up almost arguing about a football playing politician who couldnee sing to save his life. By this time we had lost Danny the man and Mary the Mouth had fallen asleep, head on the bar. Shameless Shona was still trying it on with anyone awake, trying not to be conscious, I started slowly sliding from one end of the bar to the other, near to the door. My room was upstairs on the next floor, this was going to be difficult. Takin it slowly, I thought it better to go hands and knees, so as no to fall over. Getting to ma room was fine, but where was the key?

I woke up hours later with a mouth like a donkey’s hoof, needed some hot tea. As I was waiting on the kettle to boil I noticed a book on the bed – aye, I hadnee managed to sleep in the bed, just on it. Who had given me this? A book to love and read a hundred times “the fall of the house of Campbell”, someone last night knew me well. I spent most of what was left of the morning reading. Went doon for a bite to eat, then continued the book. A grand end to a grand evening in Speyside. More to follow.  No animals were injured in the telling of this tale, a few humans maybe? PAUL MCLEAN/SEAN DALEY

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