It has been a while. In fact, don't think I've gone so long between posts, since I began blogging in earnest a couple of years ago. As always, I have a perfectly good excuse..... A few weeks ago, I received notification from Decanter magazine that Leon Stolarski Fine Wines had been shortlisted for the "Specialist Wine Merchant of the Year" category of their World Wine Awards. As a follow-up to this, each nominated merchant is asked to submit answers to a questionnaire - 6 questions about various aspects of their business, allowing a maximum of 200 words for each answer, the objective being to say how fabulous we are and why. It goes without saying that I wasn't short of things to say - I wouldn't still be ploughing a furrow in the wine business (at the same time as holding down a day job) if I didn't think we were doing good things. But 1,200 words turned out to be a really tough challenge. So much so that it took me a couple of weeks of note-writing and fine tuning to be able to say all that I wanted to say. Frankly, I could have written pages, so the biggest challenge was keeping each bit down to 200 words - which, if you are still reading, is less than it has taken for me to get this far.
Anyway, it's done now - I submitted my entry by email on Wednesday, with a hard copy (together with hard copy wine list, T&C's, example customer newsletters and a few of my blog posts from the previous 12 months) sent just in time for today's deadline. All I can do now is sit back and wait to see what the judges think of my entry. To be honest, I probably don't stand a cat in hell's chance - my "opposition" are Les Caves de Pyrene, Howard Ripley, South Africa Wines Online and SWIG. But at least I know that, whatever happens, I put my heart and soul (not to mention a lot of time) into my submission. I'm not sure what person (or persons) actually nominated me (it wasn't me!), but whoever you are - thank you.
In-between fretting over my submission, and all the other things that seem to take up all of my time, I've been observing the local wildlife going about their business in my garden. Most notably, for the past week or two, I've been watching a pair of blackbirds building a nest amongst the tangled branches and foliage of my wisteria. And over the last few days, no less than 5 eggs have appeared, at an average of 1 each day. I know, it's nothing special - this sort of thing is going on in a million other gardens at this time of year. But it is nice to be able to watch all the comings and goings and to be able to capture a few photographs of the proud parents-to-be and their little hoard................
Hopefully, I'll get to see some of the little critters after they have hatched. They'd better hurry-up, though, as I'm going on holiday soon! I'll keep you posted.
Oh, and I might even write about a few wines tomorrow!