As H wrote yesterday, I’m in Arizona. It’s stupefyingly hot to a New England boy—mad dogs and Englishmen weather—but I couldn’t be happier. My jet lag is finally fading (this must be an age thing…I don’t remember week-long jet lag before turning 60), and the ankle is feeling better, even when flexed. Life is good. Actually, one of the basic facts of the last 27 years is that my life is always good when I’m with H.

Like all docs in training, H is putting in long hours both at the hospital and at the books. This ability to focus and work hard is something she shares with both her husband and her mother. Her dad, on the other hand, prefers a less demanding regime, which is one reason he enjoyed the TGOC so much. He realized even after his few days on the trail that the Challenge is essentially a two-week party interrupted by occasional strolls for recovery. (A runner would recognize this as a sort of interval work.)

I wasn’t with these charmers all the way across, of course, but it is true that I never saw Phil Lambert or Alan Sloman without a glass or tin in hand.

I’d never been a whisky (or whiskey) drinker, but at Sourlies on the first evening, Martin offered me a dram of Glen Morangie. And it was good. At Kinbreak the next evening I found myself holding a mug of hot chocolate in one hand and a cup of whisky in the other. Here, Mike Mitchell, David Gray, and Michael Maloney are drinking either David’s Highland Park or Jules Eaton’s McCallen. And they were both good. (And not half bad with chocolate!)

At the banquet, I sat with walking mate and benefactor Jules, later joined by Darren Christie, and Kev Baldwin. We all had a great time (everybody did—a wonderfully cheery event), and despite what the photo seems to indicate, I can too handle evenings out like a gent.

So, although I’m not about to give up my lifelong pursuit of truly good, truly cheap wine, I’m now a devoted whisky drinker, too, and the cabinet now boasts a bottle of The Macallen (just one more thing I owe Jules thanks for). I’ll be remembering and toasting all my new Challenge friends with every pour. Cheers, all!


Chin-chin — 1 Comment

  1. Oi! You what? I heard that!

    I’ll have you know that Phil & I had a particularly difficult crossing this year – From setting out we only managed evenings in pubs on two occassions until we made Braemar! I put this down to Very Poor Route Planning. (The capitals are very important here)

    Next year I shall be planning the route…

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