Well, Well, Well

Last night I was dragged along to a wine-tasting event, The Chiswick Wine Society Christmas Extravaganza 2008 (Monday Edition) by a good friend of mine, Damaris.

Among many other attributes, Damaris is an 8-time veteran of Chain Gang tours – she hasn’t done all 7 tours like the legendary Taras, but she’s a repeat offender on our Bordeaux and Dordogne trips.

Years ago, at a wine-tasting event, we met a fabulous guy who runs wine clubs, tasting courses and runs his own wine business. Lots of people do that, but Tim Syrad is the guy I’d trust to turn anybody on to wine. Damaris, a Chiswick Chick these days, joined Tim’s Chiswick Wine Society, and as an occasional visitor I was delighted to be invited along yesterday.

We tasted some lovely wines, a vintage champagne alongside a Bollinger Special Cuvee, 2 first-vintages, a Super Tuscan from Montalcino and a sublime Vosne-Romanee from Nuits St George in Burgundy. On the way out I got chatting to Tim who mentioned that he kept up-to-date with the Chain Gang through his wine clubs.

A bit puzzled, I asked him how that would be, and it turns out he has plenty of Chain Gang cyclists among his tipplers. Which is how he came to introduce me to Richard Seeley and Judy Carr, 4-time Chain Gang veterans (Burgundy, Provence, Bordeaux and Umbria )!

Taras and I are the only people in the whole world who know they’ve not done our 2 best tours . . . answers on a postcard please. I’ve never met Richard or Judy, and here they are sat in the same wine-tasting, what a treat. It was so difficult setting up The Chain Gang – I don’t think anybody really believes the feeling of joy and screaming delight when somebody says “I’d like to cycle with you again”. If you can understand that, then imagine how it feels to meet two 4-time repeat customers out of the blue on a December night at a wine-tasting.

Words fail me. Great to meet you, Richard and Judy, and thanks for making my week.

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