Barry finished his work at Montana as one of the vintage cellarhands last Friday. While there he took his still in and made what’s known as ‘grappa’ by fermenting grape skins in water with added sugar, then distilling the mixture. I found a good description of this on-line:
“Grappa is a uniquely Italian drink. Traditionally, made from pomace, the discarded grape seeds, stalks, and stems that are a by-product of the winemaking process, Grappa has been around since the Middle Ages. For generations, Italians have sipped this "firewater" after meals and even added a little to their morning espresso, to "correct" it.”
The alcohol produced when Barry brewed this potent substance was about 81% proof and smelt like drain cleaner to me! I believe that he and some of his work mates had a drink or two during their leaving bash on Friday afternoon (not with their morning coffee I hope!) and are amazingly still here to tell the tale!
I have 8 working days left and finish my contract on 14th May, so also have a few days off to get things packed and sorted before we fly away on 18th May. We have tenants moving in on the day we leave, a (temporary) home for our cat, have borrowed a small sum as a mortgage on our house, and just a few odds and ends to tie up before we depart including my work’s leaving party at a bar in town on Saturday 15th May (no grappa involved!).
We’ve bought annual memberships for the National Trust and English Heritage this time; we missed visiting so many places last year because we couldn't afford to pay all the entrance fees so we’re hoping we can make the most of anything close to the canals around Birmingham and the south this year.
So we’re almost ready, time will fly by …