So there I was sitting on the Cross-benches, in the middle of the I.D. Cards Bill, arguing with the Minister of State, when my PDA reminded me that it was time to slip down to the Commons to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wines and Spirits.  I hadn't foggiest idea of what to write for this blog, Christopher and Nick were after me and my mind was as fertile as the tundra.
The general consensus, apart from a bit of party-political point-scoring, was that it was only sensible to let people have a drink in a civilised fashion at a time that suited their work or entertainment pattern. Some figures were bandied around like "a 15% increase in binge drinking last year" - but a 15% increase from what - if it was 20 cases before it makes 23 now, if it was 100,000 then we've got an extra 15,000 parties which have gone over-the-top.  The trouble is that the tabloids will have to justify their campaign by finding some drunks tonight, regardless.  Personally, I think it's the amount of spare cash you have in your pocket that decides how much you'll drink - there's already enough time to get completely sloshed if you want to.  People will either get drunk as quickly as they did before, or drink more slowly as they eke out their hard-earned pennies in which case they will not get as drunk.  There are already laws which forbid publicans serving alcohol to drunks.

The wines were fine - for white I preferred the La Motte Chardonnay 2004 (Western Cape) and everyone liked the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2002 (Simonsberg Stellenbosch) best among the three reds, but it was nearly twice the price of the others.  A bit tannic, I would have laid it down for a few years and then seen if it would rival a good claret.

Then back to I.D. Cards.  I still don't understand how a card, for the next ten years mostly issued to middle-class citizens who want passports or driving licenses, and with no reference or link to the Police National Computer helps with "the prevention and detection of crime".  They want to use fingerprints to check your I.D., so why not just check the police computer directly?

Better have a bottle of good wine before they come to get you.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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