On spring, and dogs


On spring, and dogs


Back when I started this blog, in September 2001 (blogging ancient history), I used to put quite a lot of personal stuff on it. And because I wanted to preserve the privacy of our kids, a lot of the personal stuff was to do with our dog (latterly dogs). You can see some of the posts from following the RTL tag (Rosie the labradoodle). In fact, the video I shot of her first litter of puppies at day 38 is by far my most successful YouTube clip, with 173 000 views so far! Baby animals are truly the key to internet success.

Recently, I’ve been posting pretty much uninterrupted wine stuff. I guess I have got busier. And a tiny bit more professional. This is a shame: it’s not that my life is particularly interesting or special – it’s just that we are all people and if I read your writing it helps me to know a bit more about you. Context helps. That’s one of the reasons I quite like social media, even when it’s just the sharing of the mundane. It’s through this that we get to know each other a bit.

If you read someone’s work, there’s an element of trust involved, and if you get to know someone a bit – even in a digital way – then there are some grounds for that trust. [Not very postmodern, I admit.]


So, a non-wine related post. It’s spring – the best time of the year. Were it not for the winter, then the first warm days of spring would not taste so sweet. It’s a time of year when we look forward in hope for what the summer has to bring. The first evening sitting outside. The first lazy day spent in the park. The 9 pm twilight. The soul-soothing song of the birds. Of course, I am writing from a British perspective, where we spend around 5 months of the year in some form of winter weather. We have proper seasons, and our blue-sky summer days are rare enough that they are all cherished. It rarely gets too hot to go for a run, either.


The last couple of days have been just perfect, and walking the hounds – Rosie and her daughter Puppy – has been a real joy. Dog ownership is like having kids, but with a touch less responsibility and considerably less expense, with the added bonus that dogs love you unconditionally, bear no grudges, and are always happy to hang out with you. It is a big commitment, though, and for the last 8 years, when I have not been travelling, I’ve walked them at least once a day. It’s great thinking time, although it does seem a bit wasteful. What could I have done with all those hours? But this is the wrong way to think. Life is about balance, and dogs help to bring that balance. It’s just so healthy to care for something other than yourself, and relationships with dogs tend to be uncomplicated and rewarding in ways that you can’t quantify.


So, what do you reckon? Is it best to just stick to wine here? Or should I allow the odd bit of non-wine content, in order to add colour and context?

13 Comments on On spring, and dogs
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

13 thoughts on “On spring, and dogs

  1. Jamie, I think it’s great to add a bit of non-wine content. As a self confessed wine nut myself I find your website and blog really interesting and useful. But like you say – including these posts from time to time adds some nice colour and context. Keep up the good work !

  2. There are enough things in life that are dead serious that I sometimes need an escape. Two things that always bring me joy are wine and dogs so I am a “very happy camper” at this spot on the internet. You and and the hounds need to do another patio wine tasting video.

  3. Sure, great to read about life away from all the wine stuff. Not sure about Man City though, grin wink!

  4. mainly wine but good to read other aspects of your life,although pets are boring 🙂

  5. Love dogs. Our lifestyle alas prevents us from having any (children yes, dogs no…) so any vicarious exposure to the joys of having one is fine by me…

  6. Love the blog Jamie! Absolutely agree a touch of the personal goes along way. There’s alot of info about wine out there, tasting notes galore, but not all especially interesting to read even if you adore your wine! This brings wine to life for me.

  7. Nice post. Good to see some personal stuff from time to time. I just spent 10 days in the south of England returning to Australia 4 days ago so typically I missed the the perfect days you described. It was cold drizzly and very windy. Surprisingly enough it’s wet and windy here too but a lot warmer.

  8. Jamie, like many who have replied I have read your blog since the start and related to it because your non-wine posts gave me an idea of who you were, whilst your tasting notes gave me an idea of whether our palates were similar (they largely are). A bit of colour and context of the writer goes a long way to make your posts more relateable and i guess builds a longer term relationship with the reader.

  9. I like it. I think it allows the reader to understand even more lucidly your context in tasting this wines. Wine is, after all, a very personal thing for all of us. I’ve been reading your posts for the better part of two years and really don’t know who you are. Adding a personal touch allows the reader to enter into a relationship in some way with the writer. It humanises the write more and, resultantly, renders the technical writing more personable and more approachable.

    But I’m not a dog man so find something else to write about, damn it!

    (I jest.)


  10. I’m quite new to reading this blog and it seems I have a lot to catch up haha 🙂 I actually came here to get inspiration for my own blog, which while wine-related, doesn’t involve tasting reviews. But as an aspirant blogger it’s always good to read from the established pros, and take a leaf or two from your book (if you don’t mind 🙂 ).
    As for your question, yes, particularly for things like wine that are very dependent on taste, personality, history and all kinds of external factors, having a bit of background info, some personal stories (within reason and keeping most private things, well, private), really make for a good read and a better idea on what you might like, and why.
    Even if we might have a different opinion on certain wines at certain moments, knowing you better helps us understand why you might think differently, and that might actually comfort our choices, or push us to be a little more curious and open 🙂
    Anyway, thanks for all the blogs, and I’ll get back to my reading backlog!

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