In 1982, at the age of 7, I was given a rubik’s cube for a present. I think I might have seen the first Rubik’s cube world championship on TV earlier that same year, sparking my interest in it. But with no real knowledge on how to solve it, I think, like many other kids at the same time (or not), took the easier route by removing the stickers and placing them in the right location instead of actually solving the cube or working it out. Unfortunately the stickers were not very adhesive after being removed, and thus the Rubik’s cube was relegated to bottom of my toy box where all the other dysfunctional toys awaited their final trip to a landfill.
Now let me Introduce my friend Matt, whom I met many years later (1998), and who, lets say is a bit of a gadget’s man, and when moving into a share house we had in Geelong had a Rubik’s cube. I cant remember if Matt had ever solved the cube at that stage, but I do remember us spending time trying to solve it. Ive only just learnt that there was a book called ‘You can do the cube’ by Patrick Bossert, that could have helped us all those years ago, but that is the past.
So here we are now nearly 20 years later and another generation of kids born and again a Rubik’s cube has arrived in someone’s stocking last year and the circle completes itself. But this time we are armed with the internet. Mr Rubik and many other people have created websites devoted to helping people solve the cube by simply following a series of algorithms to solve the puzzle, as easy as that! Now, like everything else, its about learning the method of solving it and then practicing until you can beat the current world record holder who solved the Rubik’s cube in an amazing time of 5.25 seconds… Here is a little youtube clip you might like…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwNUmnDu1r8
But as for me, all I wanted to do was solve it, and that’s just what I did… Unfortunately I’d lost my stopwatch, but who’s counting! ūüôā

2016-10-27-09-28-13

There is nothing like an injury or illness that sits you fair and square on your arse with hours of thinking time. Time to reflect about who you are, and what you’re doing, and who is important in your life.

This has been my lot for the past month. Where I ruptured my achilles tendon, and have had not one but two surgeries, and have a few weeks/months still ahead of me til Im up and about, fully mobile again.

As you may have grasped by now, Im a bit of a do-er. I like to get things done. The old saying goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person, well that ‘busy’ person is me. Busy in thoughts and busy in actions. Actually, I hate the term ‘busy’… because you can get ‘busy’ doing anything, you can be ‘busy’ watching tv every day of your life, but I assure you that’s not me. I think with me, it was the fact that one day a long time ago, someone decided to put me in a ‘box’ or pigeon hole me and said that you will be like this and there is nothing you can do about it. I have been determined, completely, on the subconscious level, not to be bound by what others say is my lot or destiny in life. I have wanted to live every day to the full. Mind you this has come at a cost, which I have slowly been realising over the past 12-18 months. But, I think everything you want in life comes at a cost; it can be monetary, it can be time, it can be a divorce. Its like we always have to sacrifice something to have something else. You want a big house, you work your tail off, to work more hours to get more money. You want to work overseas, this comes at a cost of missing your family and friend, the list goes on…
For me, the cost has been ‘enjoyment’. I have forgotten what it is like to enjoy life, to enjoy and be in the moment, of getting to a place of peace, where I can sit back and relax. I think this is partially because I always have so many little projects Im working on, so even though one thing gets finished I need to then focus more of my efforts on something else and then I take on more projects.
Last night, I was sifting through some photos that I have saved on my computer, that I NEVER do! We literally have thousands of photos of our life on the computer, that once they are taken they are loaded on the computer and never seen again. But last night, I spent probably 2 hours going through looking at our family and how much it has grown over the past 10 years! 10 YEARS, its nearly a quarter of my life. I started to see my kids again and who they were back when they were little and it made me sad. Not because I wasnt home with them, or away working often, but because I dont know if I have ever really been there! Does that sound strange? I feel like I have almost no memory of the times when I nursed them out of hospital or took them to school for the first time or helped them learn to ride a bike etc. I feel like saying… but but, Ive done all of this so that they can have a better life, well some of this maybe true, but what constitutes a ‘better’ life, is it more things, is it more experiences, is it a big house, or new t-shirts each week? Who bloody well knows anymore? Life has become so ‘busy’ (there’s that word again) that we dont have any time for anything, we have to plan fucking play dates for our kids! When all that used to happen, was we walked over to a friends house and knocked on the door and asked… can Matt come out to play? What happened to life that made us too occupied to be in the moment? It makes me sad, very sad.
So, what does this mean and how is it going to change my life? How am I going to learn from this? I want to say that I am going to slow down a bit, I want to say I am going to take up meditation and go all alternative therapies, but you know what, Im not going to do anything like that. I am just going to get back into the moment, and I am going to appreciate my family and the people around me every day and go from there. Thanks for reading!

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a thinker. Some would say that I’m an ‘ideas man’, others might say a bit flighty, or even that I’m going through a bit of a renaissance, and maybe even a midlife crisis. Maybe I have¬†to agree with them?

In my short 40 something years, I have gone through a few phases, nothing too extreme… I haven’t been a vegan or a vegetarian, I haven’t taken a sabbatical or gone on a pilgrimage to some exotic spiritual place… but I did go through a christian phase which lasted, let’s say around 15 years… Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m completely done with christianity but, I’ve stopped regularly attending church¬†and all the things that go with the ‘church’ life.

Now I don’t want to offend any christians or devalue religion’s place in society as a result of my experience, but I do have some concerns about the modern day religion and its hold on humanity, and how it limits what we as humans could really achieve, if we weren’t so inwardly focused. When you become a christian, you start from a very weak baseline, you are told in many ways that you have sinned (even little kids) and that you have to repent and give your life to Jesus, and all the people who haven’t, now, and throughout history have gone straight to hell!

Now, I’m not declaring here and now that I am an athiest, as I do still believe there is something out there, that is greater than you and I, that¬†does keep the universe and the galaxies beyond, in perfect harmony, but I do want to take a reality check on the whole situation. And after speaking with my friend Adam today, thought I would put it on paper before I lose thought.

I know what I’m about to say may be mocked by scientists, and religious zealots alike, but I think it’s worth putting it out there. So, I’ve been thinking about how the world works, over the last few years and how everything is too convenient. Everything is too perfect. Our amazing planet rotates at the perfect speed around a heat source (the sun) and gives us seasons (except if you live in Melbourne :)) that allow us to grow trees that help us to breath by carbon dioxide being absorbed into trees and giving off¬†oxygen. And we grow and make food that provides energy to our bodies, and we have a food chain that has a natural hierarchy… All this and it happens by accident… or does it??

I have never studied Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (maybe I will in the future), because in the christian world, to side with or agree with Charles Darwin, is to side with satan himself, and this would make you a non believer and destined for hell. But the more I think about it, the more the theory of evolution is ok. Whilst I do not personally believe that I descended from apes, because if we did, then how are there still apes running around? But if that is what some scientists believe, then fine. The fact that¬†Charles Darwin and every scientist who has ever lived has been curious into who we are, how we got here, the natural world and the worlds beyond, should be considered a good thing, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t we as humans, with an amazing brain and curiosity be able to explore and challenge our existence? Shouldn’t we have the right to fearlessly be the best we can be? What is wrong with that? I want to say, at least Charles Darwin and other scientists weren’t charging across Europe killing non believers for the sake of their¬†theory, as certain people did in the crusades years ago.

It really upsets me when I see really brilliant people start attending church, and then spiral down a slippery slope of self doubt and inferiority, and never achieve what they want to achieve because they are told that what they are doing is not God’s will… It’s shameful, and it’s not just restricted to christianity, I’m sure.

So with that said, one of the main reasons I wanted to write this post is to share with you a theory I have, which probably goes against the christian theory too, so here goes:

Imagine if, the world as we know it, ruled by an external life force has us all on a time loop. Everyone knows that the world is¬†two thirds under water, and only a third being above the water which is the land we live on. Now we’ve probably almost been to every square corner of the earth above ground, but apart from a few marine scientist who have been exploring¬†beneath the oceans and making new discoveries, one thing is certain, the ocean is still an¬†absolute mystery.

So my theory continues…¬†the world is an organism and allows us (humans and animals) to be here on the planet and carry out what we do. Remember nothing that is on earth can leave earth (except by spaceship) and nothing except heat and the occasional meteor makes its way¬†into the planet from outside, suggesting to me that everything we do on this planet happens in cycles. As we dig up minerals and use them for our own needs, they eventually end up back in the ground under tonnes and tonnes of fill such as landfills or tip sites.

Now, humans and animals also need water to drink and grow food, so there must always be a source of water to ensure that everyone on earth can drink and grow food. As the population increases it is my theory that the Arctic and Antarctica release water into the ocean and atmosphere which inevitably becomes fresh water and part of the weather cycle, providing always just enough to sustain us.  As the population increases so too does the melting of the polar caps until we reach a point of equilibrium, or we have the maximum amount of life on earth that the earth can sustain in food and water.

I think at some point, we as humans do something catastrophic to our planet. Be it, altering the climate too significantly (climate change (underway)), killing ourselves with nuclear weapons or just plainly become extinct as a result of over consumption,¬†having¬†used up the natural resources available to us that bind the planet together and keep us balanced. Regardless of the event, our planet ultimately resets itself and gets rid of all life, except maybe a few, just enough to start us off again. The ‘event’ that ensues results in an overall change to the balance of the planet. A great flood covers the earth (as a result of the complete melting of the polar ice caps) as often spoken about in biblical terms with Noah, or alternatively in pagan history with Gilgamesh – see this link http://www.icr.org/article/noah-flood-gilgamesh/ for a bit of a history lesson.

After the flood, the third of the planet that we currently live on falls beneath the new ocean and a third of the ocean bed rises to form a new land mass above the ocean that ultimately becomes habitable. Thus restoring a 2/3 ocean 1/3 land mass balance. The flood waters subside and due to the reduced heat of the planet and low population the polar ice caps refreeze to form the arctic and antarctic again.

Now imagine if you have the Amazon forest (carbon rich organic matter) and all of a sudden you dump billions of tonnes of water and rock and sediment on top of it and leave it for say 10,000 years (a cycle) it is all compressed, becomes oil that then becomes the next generation fossil fuel. This is evident with coal and oil being found in both oceans and land areas.

Now, while this blog does not go on to explain all of the intricacies of my theory¬†it does set the scene for some discussion and comments – as I said in the beginning, I’m an ideas man, so you come up with the rest! Enjoy!

 

 

The worst thing about an injury that immobilises you is there is no training period for using your new temporary mobility aids.

Never did I need this more than on Thursday of last week when I was given the go-ahead to commence being more mobile and take up residence on the couch, but with the aid of crutches. I had just finished dinner and organising my nephews and my kids to wash the dishes in the kitchen as our dishwasher has given up the ghost; when all of a sudden my crutches slipped on the tiles causing me to plant my right foot (injured one) on the ground to prevent the fall. As I struggled to keep myself upright, I relived the whole rupturing experience again, next thing I know, Im on the floor writhing in pain.

Fortunately, my wonderful sister Naomi (who is a nurse) was visiting, and went straight into triage mode and helped me by keeping me calm and then providing me with some pain relief and getting me back to bed.

Prognosis. I visited my surgeon on Friday РMr William Edwards (http://www.willedwards.com/) who is fantastic, and managed to squeeze me into a late notice appointment, ordering me then to get an ultrasound to assess and prepare me for the new way forward.

Whilst this is a huge setback for my recovery,¬†Im now clambering around to find other people who’ve had the same experience so that I can glean from their experience in the hope that I can resume a¬†relatively normal and active life post achilles surgery. Ive even joined an achilles tendon recovery¬†blog (https://achillesblog.com) that¬†has other people with similar experiences. I need all the positive thinking techniques I can get as I am a bit worried about how it will turn out. So please send me all your positive energy thoughts and prayers! Much appreciated! Thanks for reading.

 

Im not a gym junkie or star athlete, but I do love to participate in sport. I have never pursued lessons in any of the sports, and even as a kid I was only able to attend a few sports (cricket, football and tennis) due to a lot moving around, divorce, no money and my mother failing to get her licence, until we all left home.

I played cricket for a few seasons having been able to catch the bus to Heathcote after school, and wait to be picked up after dark, when my step father finished work.

I played football for a few seasons in my adolescence due to having friends who lived close by, able to give me a lift home after training and to the games, sometimes the car was full and I missed out as there was no way of getting there.

I played tennis for a few seasons when I was about 16, til I was 18 or 19 because I was able to catch a lift to the venues by the other players, who were all in their late 30’s or early 40’s with kids of their own. The tennis courts in Axedale were just down the road so I could ride there on my bike or walk there in a few minutes.

For some strange reason sports was the lowest priority of my parents, and thus I fought ‘tooth and nail’ to do the sports I did. We used to live in a place called Barnadown on a property that my step father was managing and I played cricket in Goornong. So to play, I had to ride the 8-10 kilometres in the morning to leave my bike at the coaches place, and make sure I would beat the bus, so I could catch it en-route to school. After training I would ride my bike home with one of those dynamo powered lights which only gave light if you kept the wheels going. The roads in central Victoria back then left a lot to be desired, and so every time there was a car or truck coming I would have to pull all the way off the road to be sure they would not hit me.

To play football when I lived in Barnadown, I would sometimes ride my bike the 25 km to the venue (when we played at home in Toolleen (Mount Pleasant). I would then play in my under 17’s game then also play in the reserves and then ride home. I was super fit… I dont think I was very good, but I always liked participating in the team and even though we got flogged most weeks, I just loved playing, running around and having a kick.

When I got my licence on the 15th January 1993, (a day etched in my memory banks as one of the best days of my life), I had freedom. I could go where I wanted and when I wanted! However with my age and having just finished secondary school (year 12) I had to get a job. At that stage of my life, and with everything else on my plate, University was not an option, I didnt value education as I do now, so I drove around to different places in search for a job, with nothing more than a piece of paper with my name, address, home phone number and a couple of lines about my work at McDonalds and on a farm – that was my resume. Now this blog is not about my career from then on, what Im telling you is that I had to get a job and with no experience and no leverage, I had to take what I could get. This meant working when and where I was told.

I started work at Axedale Sands and Gravel and this job had sporadic hours and I needed the overtime, so this took priority over my sporting career (if you could call it that). I also had a girlfriend and so I made that a priority too. That was just it, sport was and never was a priority of mine or else I would have made it work. I instead chose to do paid work and that allowed me to get better at that side of things and make more money, which was, and is still a priority of mine.

The fact that sport wasnt a priority to me didnt change the fact that I enjoyed it. So in the years since getting my licence, I have played a few seasons of various sports. This was always combined with catching up with my friends and enjoying a beer or two after a game. I played a few seasons of tennis, cricket and table tennis. I also like mountain biking, rogaining – which is like competitive orienteering and hiking.

I do like to stay fit, but the days of owning a 6 pack, or caring for one for that matter are gone. I think the whole fitness industry is ridiculous to be frank. It preys on the weakness of people and causes people to cough up huge sums of money, knowing full well that unless the person is completely obsessed with fitness the rest of us are just paying for the ‘privilege’ of saying “I go to a gym”, it might be once a year but I still go.

So, we were at a friends place a few months ago now and one of the friends of our friends was telling us about playing tennis in a competition on Thursday nights. My ears pricked up! I said, ‘well if you need a fill in let me know’. He (Steve) said ‘really’? we have players pull out all the time and we have to forfeit, so be ready for a call! I was thrilled. Mind you I hadnt played tennis in a competition since ive been married which is nearly 10 years and before that maybe once or twice in a few social games with a mate. Armed with the fact that I ‘could’ be called up the following Thursday, I went a bought a racket. Sure enough the call came on Wednesday evening… ‘Owen can you play in Eltham tomorrow night?’ ‘I’m there’!

Rocking up on the Thursday night was great, I limbered up as best I could, a few little hip flex moves, stretch the quads, move the hips and arms around and I was good. We won the game that night which was great, I played a few good shots and I was back… thank you muscle memory! I continued to play for the next few weeks and was accepted as part of the regular line up. We lost a few games too and I thought, if only I got to practice some shots and watch the ball onto the racket we could win every week… white line fever… can you see it?

I caught up with another mate (Ivan) and he mentioned he’d love a hit of tennis too and so we arranged a regular fortnightly Monday night game. I rang around finding a place to play, with Ivan on one side of town and me on the other, I wanted somewhere central. So where else in Melbourne, than good old Melbourne Park, you know, where the Australian Open is played. Unfortunately centre court was unavailable and so we were ushered to one of the indoor courts with no grandstand seating. Again after a few stretches and limbering up, we were into it and decided to have a game as all men do… who is going to win bragging rights! About 4 games in and POP!!! Im on the ground rolling around in agony. Someone has just thrown a brick at my leg but turning around no one was there! I knew instantly what I had done… My right achilles!

I lied on the floor of the tennis court for the next hour and twenty minutes in pain just trying to stay still and putting up with Ivan’s jokes about me being old etc… Never did I realise what this was going to mean for my life for the next 3 months and up to 6 months. If only I could take back one minute and pause for a longer drink, a rest, run around and pick some balls up, would that have changed the result. Maybe we couldnt get a court, or something else become a priority… but no, it had happened and I am lying on the floor in pain, waiting to go to the hospital.

Im now 14 days into my rest/recovery period which sees me not able to get out of bed til Thursday, with strict doctors orders to stay in bed 23.75 hours per day. I had surgery last Monday and Thursday is my first post operative appointment, hoping that the swelling and recovery is going to plan.

For the family this has had a huge impact, I am the primary carer for our 3 children, its my job to get them to school each day and pick them up, whilst running my business, allowing my wife to be the main breadwinner of our household. Fortunately, I have an amazing wife (Lisa) who has gone above and beyond to do the best for me and our kids while I recover. She also has a very supportive workplace who has allowed her some time off to take up the slack where we are unable to arrange care for the kids. This has made my wife’s life (hell) very stressful, which upsets me and Im sorry for, but she is taking it in her stride, which is great.

Ive been waited on hand and foot for the past 14 days, which is something that I could never get use to. I have so much to do for my kids,¬†my new business, my work and around the house which¬†is going to have to wait while I recover, however long that may be, much to my dismay, but I will be back! I dont really know yet what to tell people yet for how to avoid this type of injury, but when I do, i’ll let you know! Thanks for reading!

On the 22.2.08 my/our little girl came into the world and what an amazing day that was and will forever remain. Yes little M was born safe and sound, weighing in at 7 pounds and 10 ounces in the old speak (3.465kg), and so you would be safe to say that the last couple of weeks for L and I have been quite busy, and I am happy to report that we are making the transition of being DINK’s to SIWK’s very nicely. Sorry that is a terrible acronym but if you know the correct term for single income with one child then let me know.

So after a couple of attempts a few mates and I went out for an afternoon lunch to ‘wet the baby’s head’ which means basically that a few of the boys go out on the town and have a few beers to celebrate. However, in an effort to always provide my readers with some education, I managed to find someone who thinks they know what they’re talking about and has provided the following description for your reading pleasure: Since the 1600s, the verb ‘to wet’ has meant to celebrate by drinking, though the earliest use of ‘wet the baby’s head’ as such dates only to the 19th century. When a baby is baptised, its head is literally ‘wetted’ by the priest, so the custom of fathers inviting friends to ‘wet the baby’s head’ is just a sort of secular baptism, as it were.

Well there you have it spoken like a true champion or rather a really good bullsh*t artist who got himself out of another bit of trouble with the missus, very believable, don’t you think?!

So the boys and I headed out for lunch (quite civilized) a few beers and we end up watching some footy and then going to Crown and Casa Del Oro to purchase a cigar each. Casa Del Oro is located in the Crown complex and there is a shop that is a humidor, which means that the cigars are out in the open for close examination. Not being the expert in cigars yet, I stuck to a cigar that I had smoked before the Partagus no.4. There aren’t too many places these days to have a cigar and so we went to a place at Crown that has an outdoor balcony. We continued our conversation and enjoyed a nice glass of scotch to celebrate the occasion. I think the days of having a big night are over for me, but I must say I am glad. An afternoon with a couple of friends, a nice meal, a few beers, a cigar and a scotch, what more can a man want, and what a wonderful occasion! Here‚Äôs to M!!

I was thinking the other day, that now that our house has finished being renovated that for me the work has just begun. I did a bit of walk around the house and started to put together a list of things that had to be done. Very overwhelming! As I put the list together, I kept thinking about the TV show (one of my favorites) ‘My Name is Earl’, and his karma list that he put together to right the wrongs that he had done in his life. Although my list doesn’t really go into the whole karma thing, I thought it might be a good way to present all of the things that I have to do around the house, and for each thing I do, I’ll blog about it…

Here is my list!

Please note, due to finances and time required to complete some of these items this list is in no particular order:

  • Remove old shed
  • Build new shed
  • Connect all down pipes to storm water
  • Wire in surround speakers in the ceiling
  • Build the side fence (left side)
  • Build the side fence (right side)
  • Put in a new exposed aggregate driveway
  • Walkway over heating unit
  • Level the backyard
  • Build new front fence
  • Install ag drains (to extend around new part of house)
  • Install new storm water drains (to extend to the new part of the house as required)
  • Fill in pits to provide levels for storm water drainage
  • Paint the roof
  • Dig out the concrete in the back yard
  • Install new letter box
  • Build cot – flat pack I think
  • Install new path in the front
  • Pave the side of the house (narrow side)
  • Create a new front garden
  • Plant trees front and back
  • Do something with the awful nature strip tree!
  • Install a new clothes line
  • Render and paint the boundary wall (the neighbours shed is on the boundary)
  • Clean the gutters (ongoing)
  • Plant new grass
  • Extend height of back fence – sorry Flo
  • Install new curtains in M’s room
  • Build attic in the ceiling/roof space for storage
  • Build furniture – very exciting
  • Make a train table for model trains – its a boy thing!
  • Fix L’s sunglasses
  • Install floorboard pads on the bottom of the furniture
  • Fix things that break… This could be anything, from hair straighteners to chairs and tables, to plumbing items and really anything ‘the wife’ tells me to.

So as you can see I have quite a bit on my plate, to my good friends it’s been nice knowing you, if you need me I will be in the garden or the shed and doing stuff around the house.

Hi there again,

Thanks Coolio for your comment, I too look forward to tasting your wares when I am next in Brisbane, I think it will be in June, in time for a nice glass of port and a romeo and juliet on the deck… hmmm! We men are very simple creatures aren’t we!

I have been looking around for some tips about port and how to get different tastes in the barrel. I came across a good website from another fellow port drinker,so have a look at his link and you might get some ideas. Port link
I think all in all it’s trial and error, but there are several people who will tell you different techniques about how to start a port barrel. Some people say to put brandy in the barrel for a few days prior to adding any port, others will tell you to just rinse the barrel with water and then put the port in.

The thing to remember I guess is that you should plan to have this item of furniture in your house for a long time and you will probably be able to try a few things along the way without it affecting the longevity of the barrel. Mix in some brandy occasionally, some sherry maybe, and some different types of port.

I personally, the novice that I am, have just put about 4 bottles of tawny port about 150ml of french brandy and half a bottle of sherry, and now having waited a couple of days, I am happy to report that it is really tasting good.

Have fun in your trials and let me know how you go!

Port barrel preparation

Posted by: Owen in Post 30 1 Comment »

Last year my wonderful wife bought me a fantastic gift, a thing that I have always wanted but never really been in a place permanent enough to warrant something of this stature, elegance and style… I don’t know whether you have ever read a description about a port barrel like that before, but that’s how much I treasure it.

With any new thing, it is good to gain an understanding of how it should work and sometimes if you’re lucky you might get some instructions, most of which I never read but I hear they are a good read… However when it came to my port barrel, I wanted to know how to ensure that it doesn’t leak and how to be able to appreciate this for many years to come.

Having just moved into our newly renovated house and having still a few unopened boxes around the place, I was impatient to get my port barrel off and running and so I was looking around for the instructions and when I thought that they could not be found, I hopped onto the next place that has all the information you need – the internet and Google! however, it seems that there isn’t a lot of information about port barrels on the net and so I thought that now having found my instructions I would share you what these instructions say so that if you are ever googling port barrel preparation, you could come and visit my blog on the way.

So I don’t infringe any copyright rules – I wish to first provide you with the source of my information – the instructions come from the ‘Cooper Import Company’ they are importers of hand crafted wine barrels and they are located in 23 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford, Victoria Australia.

This is suitable for the storage of Port or Spirits, but unsuitable for red or white wine which has not been fortified.

This is based on brand new barrels that have not been used.

Preparing the Barrel

  • When you buy a barrel it has often been sitting on the shelf for some time and the oak may have dried out considerably, to give the timber some hydration, fill it with water.
  • If the barrel leaks, leave the water in it for the oak to ‘take up’ moisture and stop the leaking.
  • Empty the barrel and let it drain completely
  • Pour into the barrel a quarter of a bottle of Old Tawny Port, roll it around several times and empty it out
  • Fill it with the Port you have selected or blended to be kept in the barrel
  • If the barrel still leaks empty the Port out, refill it with water and leave until the leaking stops. In most instances this will not be necessary.
  • Remember that patience is necessary at this stage, and is the key to successfully preparing the barrel.
  • Never immerse the barrel in water as this will turn it black

So there you have it, pretty simple isn’t it. I don’t know what really happens after that but mine has water sitting into it as I am writing this and I will be getting some Tawny for it tomorrow. Let the years roll on. I have heard that that after a while of putting port into the barrel that it gets a film on the inside of the barrel and assists the new ports that are added over time to have better flavours, even not particularly good ports can improve after being in a matured port barrel.

On the instruction sheet that I was given with the port barrel it has named a couple of port blends that can be used and I dont mind sharing them:

Dry – Fairly alcoholic style

  • Three and a half bottles of Tawny port
  • One bottle of Fino Sherry (very dry)
  • One bottle of St. Agnes Brandy (375ml)

Sweeter, less alcoholic style

  • Four bottles of Tawny port
  • Half a bottle of Fino Sherry (very dry)
  • One bottle of St. Agnes Brandy (175ml)

Please note:

  • The blend can be sized up or down depending on taste and the volume of the barrel which does not have to be full
  • The blend will take time to marry in and provide a smooth drinking port. Some evaporation of the contents should be encouraged, as this hastens the marrying in process.
  • You should also try other blends such as specialised liqueurs, spirits and other suitable liquors.

I think it is just trial and error and time that will put your barrel in good stead. Enjoy your journey. Let me know how you go.

Fitness freak!

Posted by: Owen in Post 30 1 Comment »

This year! 2008! I am going to get fit, not that I am not already ok, but I have always wanted to invest some real time (and money if I have to) to get fit.

I have been quite fortunate over the last couple of months, as I have had the luxury of being able to ride into the office every day and then commute from the office, being able to leave my car in the carpark. Doing this has become a forced exercise regime, which is what I need, especially for those mornings when I think… arghhh! just five more minutes… with a 40 – 45min ride in the morning, I really need to get away early.

I have also done what I have never done before, yes some of you will be amazed, but I now have a gym membership. This is predominately to help me through the winter months, but also to put my money into it, which then makes it personal. I am also excited about the possibility of learning some more about how the whole muscle and weight thing actually works.

Apart from my initial stiffness and not being able to move some mornings, I am slowly getting used to different forms of exercise. In recent weeks, having moved closer to the city, it isnt really worth riding because it is only around 4 k’s each way, but when I run 4 k’s it has a different effect! I have also found a little gym in the apartment building we are in, which is nice and close til my new gym is finished being built.

So wish me well, cos i’m going to need it! Unlike our house reno’s and the photos that I attach, I wont be doing the same for this exercise, but I may sign some autographs when I make it onto Mens Health one day… ha ha!