8 Feb – Whining and Dining


Yesterday evening we went for a wine tasting in a posh London club. It didn’t start fantastically;  we arrived a few minutes early, and then were told that the tasting had been put back 30 minutes because so many people couldn’t make the advertised start time.

Pity they never thought to tell that information to the 50% of attendees who were able to get there on time… So we hung around and then went to the tasting. The lack of organisation continued, no-one really knew how it was supposed to work, some of us had glasses, some didn’t. Then the bartender came around and gave out glasses, telling us that each measure would be poured by the staff.

Still no welcome or announcements on how the evening would work. The sommelier, (in my opinion) was not great at communicating and in fact lost the audience almost from the outset, when people couldn’t hear him and asked him to speak up, he had to reiterate that he wanted them to stand near him.

The wine descriptions weren’t terribly informative and he wasn’t giving a lot of insight; as he seemed a little reticent, I thought I would help him by asking a question about food matching.  He answered that and the tasting progressed. It’s not his fault that he is not a natural speaker or raconteur, he was a bit like a tech geek. He knew all the stuff, but found it difficult to relay the information.

For a second time, when various groups of the attendees, were talking amongst themselves, I asked another question. It was again based around food and what I thought I’d tasted – then I suggested a dessert to pair with the wine and what did he think? He agreed I could taste butterscotch but that my food choice was totally wrong  “No, no no” and the audience started to laugh.

I have to say I was pissed off, I had been throwing him some lifelines, because he had lost his audience and he repaid me by facilitating a laugh at my expense.  In the interests of balance, I don’t think he had any idea that I’d been helping him, or that he was struggling, or in fact that his riposte was ill-considered. To my surprise the more gallant guy standing next to me said, ‘Well I’d love to eat that dessert and drink that wine with you, it sounds a good choice’. Better humour was restored!

The tasting didn’t get much better, the sommelier continued really as he had before and when describing another wine, I did tap my glass to get people to shut up to listen to him. I can be remarkably stupid at times – why should I offer him a hand at all?

It’s fair to say we won’t be going back. And for me now, he is short-sighted, because we go, not often, but regularly, to wine tastings. Now he and his company are off that list – we will spend our money elsewhere…

What’s this got to do with running I hear you ask. Well my challenge for Alzheimer’s has been described as both brave and to be honest somewhat foolish. But the difference I’ve found with my running buddies and friends, is that everyone is supportive.

The best people have come up with ways of me making the challenge, rather than laughing at my suggestion that I can do it. And for that I thank them all. Whilst I won’t be going to wine tastings with them, I do hope to repay their kindness and support with similar when they need it, whether it is running or something unrelated. And so to this morning, when I woke I had lots of messages of support from fellow C25Kers and one in particular gave me a really cheery breakfast.

I dined on that goodwill first thing and now am going for my run…