Friday, May 09, 2003

Whisky, and other things

I was just browsing Patrick's blog when I found two little items one after another. If he had comments, I think I would just respond there, but since he doesn't, I'll do it here. Firstly, he pointed to an observation that

Johnnie Walker has over 6 million casks of whisky currently maturing. This is worth more than the total gold reserves of the Bank of England. Which is as it should be.

Oddly, I was yesterday reading "The Xenophobe's Guide to the Scots", which said that "Whisky is Scotland's biggest export (by far). However, this doesn't stop a significant portion of the population from trying to consume it all before any of it leaves the country".

That does roughly summarise the characters of one or two Scots I have known, yes. Single malt whisky is a fine thing, although I find I do not consume as much of it these days as I once did. Oddly, my focus lately has been on drinking some of the more interesting available beers, as my regular readers are no doubt aware.

Secondly, Pat points to a site advertising all sorts of devices that one can purchase for self defence, and observes that

Either this guy is a paranoid schizo, or American cities must be SO MUCH worse than Oz ones. I mean maybe I've been lucky but in my entire life I don't know anyone who has been attacked on the street. (Well not as a grownup. Kids bully eachother all the time.) And I've spent a lot of time wandering around drunk, alone, in what I would consider seedy places like Redfern in Sydney, Australia, or mining towns, in Australia, and South America, and Russia. Not to mention some illegal drug centres in India and steel working towns in South Korea.

I have been attacked on the street twice as an adult. I too have been to some rough places in various parts of the world, but both incidents occurred in what should have been safe places. Once I was walking down the footpath past Victoria Park along Paramatta Road in Sydney (walking from Central Station to Sydney University). A man walked out of a bus shelter towards me, I looked at him, and he hit me extremely hard on the nose and screamed something incomprehensible. Nothing broken, but I was badly bruised and my nose hurt for weeks. On the second occasion, I was walking through the streets of Cambridge at 11.15pm one Friday evening. I was eating a kebab. Someone walking past me for some reason suddnely swung his arm at me, and my food ended up firstly in my face and then on the ground. No injuries, but still reasonably distressing. Rather less disturbing than the first case, as this was someone who was drunk and had been thrown out of a pub at closing time. Still not much fun for me. I use this as an argument in favour of reforming British licensing laws. It's much better to let people leave the pub when they feel like it rather than all at once.

Neither of these had anything to do with an attempt to rob me, or anything like that. One I think had to do with insanity, and the other with drunkenness. As for me as a robbery target, I am male, six feet tall and 85kg, so I probably don't look like an easy target. And I dress in a scruffy fashion and I don't look prosperous, even on those occasions when I am prosperous.

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