Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 31 December 2012

Get fit: the best thing I did in 2012!

The old facade with new block in distance

Looking back at 2012 at my highlights of the year I certainly have to include winning a Born Digital Award for the best investigative story and the IWC Personality of the Year. However, the best and most important decision I made was to get fit again.

Too many hours in front of the computer and not enough exercise inevitably took their toll. Fortunately when the restored Forest Hill (London SE23) pools opened in mid-September, I decided to use the new fitness gym included in the new facility as regularly as possible. Less than four months on I can certainly feel the benefits: my blood pressure is down dramatically, I have lost five or six kilos and I feel a lot more lively. 

History of the Forest Hill pools here and here. Details of opening.

I intend to continue exercising in 2013 – this will be a New Year Resolution that I will keep!

Entrance to the new section of the pool

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Loire photos: some from the 2008 vintage in Sancerre

Vincent Grall: picking baskets with pomace  

More from the archives:

Picking baskets on pavement

Sorting@Vincent Grall

 Pinot Noir

Roger Champault@Champtin

Sauvignon Blanc@Henry Natter in Montigny 

Vineyards above Montigny

Henry Natter and family

Loire: more photos from 2008 – a ploughing contest near Montrichard

On a rare hot summer day at the end of August 2008 we came across a ploughing contest in a field close to the road between Montrichard and Pontlevoy. Most of the competitors had small ploughing machine rather like rotovators with a plough attached, although there was at least one tractor pulling a plough. 

 Changing gear

Vintage tractor and plough

 Box-fresh kit for No 22

 Machine No 25 being guided by No 22
 Another red machine

 No 22 again

 Spectators (above and below)

Loire: some 2008 photos mainly Chambord and Gué Péan

The enormous hunting lodge of François I (above and below)

More photos from the process of rationalising photo files – all from 2008 mainly late August.

Boats and Chambord

Detail of the forest of chimneys of Chambord

Little village of Chambord

 Château du Gué Péan from a distance

Château du Gué Péan closer in (above and below)

 Back to January 2008: François Chidaine in his cellar at Huisseau 


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Fife: snow on Thursday

Snowy crags of Bishop's Hill overlooking Loch Leven 

Overnight snow provided some wonderful fresh soft snow on Bishop's Hill above Kinesswood. 

Looking down on the snowbound golf course

 Snow on the hills but nothing on the flat

Loch Leven

Down towards the loch

The Fife coast beyond the snow

 Large lemon meringue above the loch

Loch Leven (Fife): Boxing Day views

 Loch Leven with the mist and low cloud lifting

On Boxing Day morning the mist soon came down along with some misling rain. However by mid-morning it started to lift and the sun came out lighting up the Loch and the surrounding farm land.   

 Mist rapidly disappearing