Going round in circles for Ailsa.

Ailsa of ‘Where’s my backpack’ blog, has given us yet another interesting travel theme. This week she’s posted some of her fun circle pics, and asks us to do the same.

I do of course have a few photos to share with you. Just look at this huge fermenting tank at the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It had been emptied for cleaning, so we were able to look right inside.

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Inside these charred oak barrels that Jack Daniels makes itself in a Kentucky cooperage, the whiskey is maturing in order to perfect that famous rich colour and taste, before eventually being bottled.

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Off to Egypt now, where we witnessed the amazing energy and spectacle of  a ‘Whirling Dervish’. I felt dizzy, just watching him twirling round and round in circles, so fast that he became almost invisible.

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At the Medina in Fez, the sights, sounds and smells were a feast for the senses.This stall had many circular baskets containing all manner of nuts and dried fruit. No tasting was allowed. 😦

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Bignor in the centre of the South Downs National Park in England, is home to the stunning remains of a third century Roman farm and villa. Here you can see a fine example of one of the beautiful ancient mosaic floors.

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When in London, a visit to Harrods is always fascinating, even if one doesn’t buy anything. At the top of  one of the staircases, we came upon this remembrance shrine to Princess Diana and Dodi, erected in 2008, by Dodi’s father Mohammed Al-Fayed, who owned the store for twenty-five years and sold it in 2010 for £1.5 billion.

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The Pillars of Hercules is the ancient name given to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Straits of Gibraltar. I’m sitting underneath the monument at the top of ‘The Rock’, which is the northern pillar.

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Whilst on holiday in San Salvador in the Bahamas, I had quite a successful attempt at the archery. Just call it ‘beginner’s luck’. 🙂

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Here’s another activity I’m not too shabby at. We were on a family holiday in Punta Cana, and I was showing my granddaughter how it’s done.

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This sort of activity is highly recommended after eating too much of one of my decadent desserts which contains enough chocolate and cream to even fatten up Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyle. 😆

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If you would like to see what other bloggers have come up with for Ailsa’s ‘Circles’ theme, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

This challenge invites us to share a photo of something which says, “Mine,” and I immediately thought of a photo I took four years ago, whilst visiting the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We did a road trip from New York to Florida, and then flew to Columbus Isle for a week. On the drive back, we stopped off at Chattanooga for the night, and the next morning decided that as we were in the area, we’d go and see how whiskey is made.

I had no idea what to expect, and don’t even drink whiskey, but the tour  of the distillery, was so interesting.

We had a larger than life guide, who went by the name of ‘Bubba.” I found his southern accent, absolutely fascinating. Here he is in Jack’s original office.

I learned that Jack ‘s first name was ‘Jasper’, and that he was only 5’2″ tall. He died in 1911 from a blood infection, which he got after injuring his toe by kicking the office safe in a rage, because he couldn’t  remember the combination to open it.

Born in 1850, he was one of 13 children, and when his father remarried after his wife’s death, Jack went to live with a neighbour, Mr. Felix Waggoner who introduced him to Mr. Dan Call, a preacher/bootlegger. At only seven-years-old, Jack started work in Call’s store, and so his career began. He was very interested in whiskey-making, and was soon made a full partner in the business. When Jack was thirteen, Mr Call decided that he needed to devote more time to his preaching, and sold the business to Jack. Word soon spread through the town about Jack’s wonderfully smooth and mellow whiskey, and he had to find an abundant source of iron-free limestone water, to keep up with the demand. The discovery of this cave, gave him a non stop flow of spring water, and in 1866, the Jack Daniel Distillery, became the first registered distillery in America after the Federal government began to regulate and tax all whiskey making operations.

With this water, and a special charcoal mellowing process, Jack made his now famous Tennessee whiskey, and the process hasn’t changed in all these years. At twenty-one, he went into the city and bought a knee-length frock coat and a broad-brimmed planter’s hat, which became his everyday uniform from then on.

In one building, the smell of the raw ingredients, was really overpowering, and in another, we got to see and smell the whiskey as it was filtering through the ten feet of hand-packed charcoal. One could get drunk just on that smell. 🙂

The Barrel House was the best part of the tour.

Here we saw rows and rows of oak barrels full of whiskey. The barrels are all made on site, and each barrel is used only once. The empty used barrels are shipped off to producers of Scotch whiskey, who use them multiple times. (The Scots are renowned for their miserliness and penny-pinching.) 😀

This one caught my eye, being labelled “This is MINE!” I don’t know who scrawled that message, but I think it fits the challenge really well. 🙂

Just in case you decide to visit the Jack Daniels distillery, let me warn you that there are no free samples. Lynchburg is a ‘dry’ county, so all we got at the end of the tour, was lemonade, which didn’t worry us one bit, as we don’t like whiskey. 🙂

To see links to more takes on the challenge, just click here.