Thursday 3 May 2018


So having returned from a few days in the wilds of North-West Scotland (startling weather, fantastic scenery [see pic], Deuchars, Tennents and some whisky) it's now time to get down to the business of transitioning into a more spirits'n'beer-driven and slightly less wine-driven mode of consumption (see More Gin). Slightly insanely, I've decided to approach this as an exercise in administrative bureaucracy, with a full internal Steering Committee - me, essentially - overseeing various sub-committees and, where necessary, individual working parties; also, essentially, me. And, possibly, strategy forums and/or enabling teams.

First question is, what kind of targets do I want to set for myself? At present, I would guess that my booze input is 80-90% wine, with the rest beers and spirits. Do I want to get this down to 50-50 or is 60% wine, 40% the rest, a more realistic ambition, certainly in the initial six-month period? Come to think of it, is six months realistic? Or is it unambitious? Or over-ambitious? Should I refer this to the Strategy Mapping Group or is it one for the Inner Goals team?

Either way, I'll have to put the problem to the Finance and Procurement Sub-Committee, or to the Health and Social Services Sub-Committee, or, more likely, both, in order to get some kind of useful steer on possible outcomes. Finance and Procurement can run the numbers on how much it's going to cost to go over to a more grain-based intake as opposed to a largely grape-based one. My hunch - and indeed, my hope - is that I'll make some useful cash savings, based on a typical weekly input paradigm (note to self: should that be paradigm or regime?) given that Tesco will sell me 70cl of blended Scotch for £11.00, which should last a week at least, whereas a couple of 75cl bottles of wine usually cost £12.00 or more and last maybe five days. Fizzy water to mix comes in at 17p for two litres, so that's okay. Gin a touch more expensive, not least because of the tonic water. Half a litre of Greene King IPA - should I want to go down the beer road - is , on the other hand, £1.24: another clear saving, if beer is trending that week.

Health and Social Services, on the other hand, have a trickier issue to work on: will I be fatter as a result? Wines contain a lot of empty calories and carbohydrates; but so do beers. Some beers are relatively light on the carbs; others are stuffed with them, so HSSSC (Health and Social Services Sub-Committee) is going to need to focus on this one in a timely and robust manner, albeit with a markedly longer (say, two months) time frame in which to make its investigations. I may also have to get Inner Goals to do some initial hands-on research into fatter and thinner beers, in an effort to manage the potential weight gain downside. At the same time, will I be a more or less objectionable human being if I drink less wine? If I've spent the evening tucking into a 14% red, the following morning can find me, frankly, both stodgy and unattractive. I know this and I'm not proud of it. But I have a feeling, an intuition, that staying with grains might improve (or should that be limit?) my performance in the loathsomeness department, to the extent that someone else might notice this improvement/limitation, specifically my domestic coalition partner or wife. So that's another one to watch (not sure how to quantify this: maybe with output from Inner Goals? Or input from External Relations?). The input, or do I mean output?, from this is going to be particularly interesting.

One other area to focus on in these, the initial stages of transitioning: the cultural inheritance. The less garbage I have to read about wines - fine or otherwise - the happier I will be. On the other hand, there's plenty of sanctimonous high-end guff written about whisky, gin and beer: earthy and fresh as a forest; some talcum powder in the semi-dry finish; jasmine, muguet and foaming butter, I'm not making this up. There is a large and pretentious cultural hinterland associated with even the dumbest ales and this, while not a deal-breaker in its own right is not something to ignore. So it's one for the Arts and Culture Sub-Committee to keep track of, reporting directly to the Steering Committee, naturally, but with a slightly different remit from those embraced by other sub-committees or input/output groups. Which reminds me: what does the Strategy Mapping Group actually do?



  1. What would a 50-50 split actually mean? What are you measuring? Volume of liquid, volume of alcohol, time spent drinking, financial outlay, pleasure returned? A few months ago I tried moving away from wine to a largely gin and cider based diet (different nights), but it was a statistical nightmare. Whatever the merits of other booze might be, absent of any Exchange Rate Mechanism back into wine, they don't seem worth the admin.

  2. You are of course absolutely right. Copybook instance of cart before horse. And I very much take your point about the statistical mountain it could generate in any event. Damn. Can I get back to you on this one..?

  3. If a bottle of whisky lasts you "a week at least" then you're not doing it properly.


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