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A First Visit to the Laverstoke Gin Distillery on its Opening Day

The entrance to the Mill

The entrance to the Mill

I had some errands to run in Basingstoke this afternoon; on the way back I stopped by the new Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Laverstoke, next to Whitchurch, Hampshire (or Overton depending on your allegiances).

Today was its first day open to the public. It is wonderful to behold.

Thankfully you don’t have to pay to see the front area (exteriors and lovely River Test) and to enjoy the shop and bar (open til 6 for cocktails) – I didn’t have much time (or the inclination to pay £15 without bringing the family along too – kids to age 11 can get in for free) so the cocktails will have to wait until next time…when we cycle over!

The staff were all very welcoming and quite receptive to ideas put to them (!) about incorporating silk from the Whitchurch Silk Mill into say silk ties for their uniforms; and a nice ribbon for the £100,000 crystal bottle of gin (and lesser items).

The staff are all encouraged to cycle, walk, take the bus, or car share to get to and from the site. They’re considering putting on a bus to shuttle people from the Whitchurch and Overton train stations too. The managers and staff that I spoke with also like the idea put to them (!) about reducing the road danger along the B3400 with the creation of space for cycling ie a segregated path (several cycle into work already).

Laverstoke Mill gear at Kingfisher day centre, Testbourne (Feb 2003)

Laverstoke Mill gear at Kingfisher day centre, Testbourne (Feb 2003)

They said the bicycle storage building will open up in the spring after the last of the building works are complete. Whilst I was in the bar, the place was unofficially launched: a just-filled glass of gin cocktail was accidentally smashed (not by me!).

The company has rejuvenated the Mill and made it a place to behold. They won the BREEAM award for their “best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation” and rightly so from what I saw and what I heard from the staff on site.

Aside: Earlier today we toured Testbourne – rated an ‘outstanding’ school by OFSTED! – as our son Tolii will be starting there next year. The caretaker told me that the big gear that used to be on the pedestal in front of the ICT building had come from the Portal family who refurbished the Mill a few decades ago now. Unfortunately, a lorry driver banged into it in the mid-2000s and toppled it over, breaking the massive cast iron gear. Presumably it got carted away and melted down.

My short video on YouTube: Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery opens in Laverstoke, Hampshire

A python takes me slithering down many a rabbit’s hole

A long time ago, in a company far, far away, I wrote some gawk. That”s geek talk for some code written in a UNIX shell that uses an extension of the ‘awk’ tool. There was great rejoicing amongst the software team as tasks that once had to be done manually were now automated. I eventually moved out of that area and into the world of object-oriented C++ coding and had a good run of a career on that (taking me around Canada and the US and then to the UK).

Then, I met a wonderful woman who knew Matlab and soon we were married (there were other reasons). Matlab as some will know is a wonderful tool for processing, calculating, and plotting mathematical formula applied to data. The tool is script driven – no need to writing complicated C++ code for every little step along the way.

Slithering Snake!

Now, I’ve begun my transition from C++ into Python, a powerful, object-oriented scripting language not unlike Matlab in the way it works (so I’m told).  I’m catching the wave of version 3.4 whilst many programs are transitioning from the older, popular, but incompatible, version 2.7. That’s geek talk for you got to start somewhere and it might as well be with the latest. » Continue reading A python takes me slithering down many a rabbit’s hole »

Let down by BT again

Why did a CEO send me some crisps? Find out...

Why did a CEO send me some crisps? Find out…

The popular UK telephone and broadband company towed me along for months during my contract renewal, but then when I looked at my bill this week I saw that they broke their promises. Along the way, they broke their promises to the people in the town in which I live, too.

Separately, a CEO sent me two three boxes of crisps this week. More on that later.

» Continue reading Let down by BT again »

Snape enjoys Tosha’s piano practice

Our cat Snape. What can we say? He is a very social creature – loving to get right up close for attention. If that means enjoying Tosha’s piano practice right there on the keyboard – within easy petting distance – then so be it!

Video of the fun below (or watch on YouTube HERE)…

My dad’s creative way to tell someone to ‘go jump in the lake’

My dad, Brian, had a creative way to tell someone to ‘go jump in the lake’ (other phrases exist).

Here’s a video I just found in my archive – I filmed the brief interview at Heathrow airport while we waited for his flight back to his home in Toronto. My camera at that time was an Olympus C5050 digital camera that had a 320 x 240 “high resolution” video format…well it was considered “high resolution” at the time! It even recorded audio!