The theatre of enjoyment.

Money is only useful if you spend it on something you’ll remember.

My daugher has just turned seven years old, for her birthday she received many presents and gifts of money which all children do these days, certainly the ones in my social circle, all of which whilst appreciated by both her and her mum and me will be forgotten in months, such is life.

For her main present we decided to get her a laptop, an extravagance so close to Christmas I will grant you but she loves playing Roblox (look it up) and was borrowing her mum’s to play it, buying my wee one a laptop allows all three of us to game together, it’s like Lego or dolls or whatever else without having to clean up, it’s brilliant fun, the look on her face when she realised what she was opening will stay with me until the day I die, she knew it was a genuine big thing and I think for the first time really understood that buying something like that was a big deal, I’m writing this on a laptop with a crack on the screen I can’t afford to repair or replace and she gets the sacrifice made.

For me one thing will always stick in my mind about my own life.

I went for a night out with my wife in Edinburgh, the idea was a cocktail, meal in Number One Balmoral and then a show, the one cocktail turned into a couple, the meal in the Balmoral was perfect and we asked if we could get a room, on the last weekend of the Festival and there was one room left, in the Balmoral, with a view right across the Castle for the Fireworks, the show went out the window but what a night, the next day I was sent out to buy sensible clothes for my wife as her cocktail dress really wasn’t a Sunday afternoon in Edinburgh sort of affair and then we ended up doing lunch in Harvey Nichols. The night cost a fortune but I will never forget it, it was perfect in every single way.

I’m sure we all have these stories and memories and I’m sure most of us have spent a fortune trying to achieve something and never really feeling pure joy because there is so much stuff out there and so little of it actually means anything.

The other night I was talking to one of our surgeons, at my work rather than my personal medical team, and we were talking about the theatre of nice things.

This all came about because I asked if I could have a wee go of his pen, which was a beautiful Mont Blanc fountain pen. I have a fountain pen but this was beautiful and such a joy to write with and we got chatting about the theatre of nice things.

A nice meal out isn’t about the food it’s about the service, it’s about the presentation and the wine, the tables and the plates, it’s about the theatre of it all, I get looked at like I have just torn my own eyes out when I talk about a nice meal out, people can’t believe that anyone would spend that much on food, entirely missing the point, of course.

Stuff is stuff, a pair of shoes can be replaced as of course can a bottle of whisky but the memories of doing something worthwhile with our money makes life worth living otherwise you’re just existing.

I don’t have people over for a dram, Christ, I barely leave the house either for a drink but I often give whisky out to people I work with, it’s always great to get some feedback on drams I’ve enjoyed and sometimes it gives me the opportunity to talk about whisky.

Describing a whisky, in reviews or in person is a touch of theatre for me, sometimes, if a bottle of spirit really moves me and others try it and it makes an impression on them it sticks with me, when someone replies to my reviews saying how much they enjoyed reading my nonsense it means more to me than any trinket ever could.

We need to take time to appreciate things and to enjoy what we work for, a tea party with my wee girl, making sandwiches, selecting the sweets and making the tea and setting out the fine china and teapot, or preparing Sake, the decanting and then the pouring into the those wee cups. Or pipe smoking, the selection of the tobacco, the careful packing of the pipe and the lighting,  it’s all theatre and it means so much to do these things and hold those memories, I can only talk about the things I enjoy doing, you will have your own, I hope.

Whisky is the same, selecting the bottle, sourcing something new or just picking up a bottle of an old favourite, the popping of the cork, something I find even more enjoyable with a bottle of fizz, the pour, the wait as the spirits breaths for a while, the first nosing, the first sip the new experience or the familiar feeling, those memories will stay with you forever.

I feel sorry for people who don’t understand this, it’s not about how much money you have either, I am not a rich man, but it’s about using that money wisely, to give you memories, maybe it’s foreign travel, spa days or heading to a football match just make sure you take it all in because when we’re all old and sitting in our comfy chair with nothing but our memories, well, better make sure they’re decent memories, huh?

The Captain

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