Well of course we had to visit the Madeira wine lodge – in this case Blandy’s, established c. 1800. It was an ancient building, some bits literally made of knobbly stones. It was very warm, apparently the upper floors are even warmer – in the 40 degrees celsius range. Not sure I could have coped with the fumes. I liked the sense of history. The old barrels and the old vats, with their painted labels and the dark rooms, the wooden floors. They still employ coopers – i.e. barrel makers. That can’t be a common job these days. Of course it tasted delicious – Christmas puddings await ;).


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