So, this is a rather special post for me as it is the 100th post that I have made on this website!!
To borrow a cricketing metaphor, consider this post the equivalent of a batsman reaching his century with an inside edge that narrowly misses the wickets and scuttles along to the boundary, who then sheepishly raises his bat to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd (apologies to any readers for whom cricket is a subject that they don’t know anything about…).
As ever when you reach somewhat of a milestone it encourages a certain amount of introspection and reflection. I started writing this blog out of curiosity more than anything else. It has encouraged me to seek out experiences, be that meals, wines or holidays, that I can write about and will hopefully be of interest to my readers. These experiences take up my time and (often) my money, but I really do feel all the richer for having partaken of them.
That brings me on to you, my dear readers, I have been blown away by the wonderful feedback and comments that I have received from you on my posts. It may sound a little clichéd, but without the knowledge that people are going to read my posts and, dare I say it, even enjoy some of them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near 100 posts; after all, each of these posts take a good couple of hours to write, edit and compile. I have had many an experience where I have met someone who I haven’t seen for a long time and they have told me that they like following my adventures on the blog, which really does make it all worth it. I have even had people tell me that following a post of a restaurant that I have reviewed that they have gone to try it out themselves – which is quite frankly incredible and truly gratifying.
As well as my family and friends who follow this blog, there are the people who follow it online, or follow me on Twitter, and through our correspondences it really has felt that I have gotten to know these people – I would even class many of them as my friends – something that some people would find somewhat incredulous. However, it truly is one of the marvels of the modern world that as a wine- or food-lover from the UK you can share these passions with people from all over the world and learn from them about exciting things that are happening where they are.
I have also been fortunate that my blogging has put me in contact with some wonderful people and given rise to some incredible experiences that I take a great amount of pleasure in writing about and sharing with my audience. There are too many to list all of them, but recent favourites have been getting to visit Gong Bar in the Shard and drink the cocktails of Zdenek Kastanek (with obligatory poncy photo – see right…), going to the launch night of a new gin brand, and tasting very old and rare sherries at the Wines of Spain tasting.
My blog has not been without its naysayers, which I feel that now would be an opportune moment to address. I sometimes get told that my blog sounds “pretentious”, to which the only response possible is, of course, “Pretentious? Moi?”!! (I hope there are a few Fawlty Towers fans amongst you…)
I have a real problem with people who talk of pretension as it seems to suggest that certain experiences, meals or the like are too good for me. I am a strong believer that there is no experience in the world which is too good for me or anyone else. Money is usually the differentiating factor, it all comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for something – I am fortunate in that I have (for now anyway) a disposable income that allows me to go to nice places for dinner and to drink nice wine, and I want to enjoy that and share my experiences with anyone who wants to read about it.
So, what for the future with my blog? To continue the cricketing metaphor, now is the time to re-apply myself and focus on pushing onwards to look to make a “daddy century”. I have crossed a fair few restaurants off my list that I have wanted to visit, fortunately (unless you are my wallet or my liver) I have added plenty more restaurants to this list that still await my visit. I have trips planned to Nathan Outlaw at The Capitol and Purnell’s in Birmingham, as well as a visit to Sandeman Port House in Oporto over the next few months.
Furthermore, there is plenty of wine that I have yet to try! I am in a good place in that I now get invited to come to many different and interesting places for experiences that will hopefully broaden my gastronomic and sensory horizons and I will continue to do my best to reproduce these for you.
I will finish here with a further thank you to you all for your continued encouraging words and support. I really do appreciate these and it helps to spur me on when I am finding it difficult to find the motivation or time to write these posts.