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Reasons to be cheerful?

Thinking of material for “The Masters Blog” is becoming increasingly more difficult as Lock Down continues – as you are all about to witness, if you read further.

Looking on the downside, if that’s all we do, only serves to remind one of what a horrible, almost hellish, situation we are all in at the moment, and tends to focus our thoughts on what we cannot have or cannot do.

Whilst retaining a clear perspective of how difficult times are for many, and without wishing to minimise the impact the illness and deaths have had on our society, I have been trying to look on the bright side.

Monty Python fans and those of a certain age might have expected that I might focus on something else, but I have been strangely drawn to the music of my youth in lockdown. 

Sound familiar to anyone?

For some reason, after listening to an “Ian Dury and The Blockheads” song the other day, I felt that another of his songs “Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3” was bound to have some deep philosophical message that I could harness for my blog and decided to investigate further.

I discovered that the song was written and recorded in Italy during a break in their tour, after a sound engineer had nearly been killed by electrocution, and was merely a list of things that made Ian Dury happy, in the circumstances.

The opening lines 

“Why don’t you get back into bed”

“Why don’t you get back into bed”

Which are repeated many times do seem strangely apposite for lockdown in a funny sort of way. A good start I thought!

However, there was nothing more inspirational than admiration for a wacky genius that could include his like for “The Bolshoi Ballet”, “Hammersmith Palais” and “Cheese and Pickle” sandwiches (amongst many other things that I couldn’t possibly print here) all in the same song and persuade us to buy it!!

I did think about a re-write for Covid but you will no doubt be pleased I didn’t. A Burns/Dury Auld Scots/Cockney Slang fusion mix was considered in-appropriate!

On reflection, my reasons to be cheerful are many and I consider myself fortunate in the circumstances.

Part 1

The Livery continues to function, albeit in a very different way.

Zoom and Skype have taken the place of The Sanctuary and Vintners Boardroom but the same feeling of fellowship and sense of purpose exists in the meetings I have been involved in.

We held a Master & Wardens meeting on Thursday past and it was great to reflect on just what is still going on in lockdown, whilst continuing to think of ways to further our engagement with our members in the future.

Our Charity work has been driven right to the top of the agenda and our work with The Drinks Trust has been a source of motivation to further accelerate our work in that field.

As I write this, the Distillers On Line Charity Auction is getting underway and again I feel that is something that we, as Distillers, can be hugely proud of and I hope will be something to make us all cheerful by the end of it.

Grateful thanks to Chris Porter again and also to Liveryman Sukhinder Singh for hosting for us.

We are continuing to engage with our Educator partners and studying ways to develop these relationships in both the short and long-term.

Recent communications from both London Scottish and HMS Montrose illustrate what a great bunch of people we have in our Military affiliates and their interest in our Livery. New CO,s at RNAS Yeovilton and 603 Squadron are opportunities to further expand our network and I look forward to meeting them both soon. Even if its only for a Zoom Dram!! 

Part 2

At a personal level, the cycling training continues at a level that would have been impossible otherwise and we now have 10 riders signed up for our September assault on London. I am definitely cheered by that response. 3 are non-Livery at this stage and certainly one has already expressed an interest in joining!

Whilst I am missing out on the world class hospitality that London Livery events are famous for, and that is a major disappointment, I am enjoying the time to exercise and the benefits that brings.

Part 3

Being at home has also allowed a much deeper appreciation of Nature, in all its glory, all around us here in Auchterarder.

Whether it be seeing and enjoying the Azalea bush coming into bloom from start to finish or the local hillsides alive with yellow broom and witnessing he almost unbelievable vividness of their colour, one realises that one missed much of that in  most other years.

I’ve also been able to spend more time with my dog and she is thoroughly enjoying having everyone at home too!!

  The Comms team have been desperate to have some dog photos in the blog and last month provided just the perfect opportunity. We were joined by a house guest for almost half the month as Jasmine, who is the sister of our three years old Labrador Rosalita, came to stay. This wasn’t a deliberate breach of lockdown as Jazz normally stays here whilst “in season” given the breeding male at home!!

Apart from being virtually identical, they are virtually inseparable. Jazz and Rosa stick together like Lycra (sorry) and provided lots of lovely photo opportunities. Another “Reason to be Cheerful – Part 3”

Finally, I do hope this finds you and you loved ones safe and well.

God Bless