“The Special One”


Hey and hi. Here I go again with my limited knowledge of ‘the beautiful game’. So as you may or may not know, Jose Mourinho is about to be named manager for Manchester United. There have been a few glitches though. Yikes. I hate glitches. You see, apparently,  image rights negotiations are delaying Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester United Manager. As it has emerged that Chelsea still own his name as a trademark and could demand a six-figure sum from United before any deal is concluded. But really, this issue will not scupper his appointment at Old Trafford. Thank goodness. Mourinho is expected to be named as Louis Van Gaal’s replacement after the Dutchman was sacked on Monday DESPITE winning the FA Cup. Football is crazy. I don’t even watch it and I know very little about it. But you wouldn’t know it. Hah.

Oh, I nearly forgot why I even started this blog post. Ok, let’s do this. They call Jose Mourinho ‘The Special One.’ Yes. Why? Please give me a break. Is he really that special? While I was not looking-has he found a cure for breast cancer, the Zika virus and Lyme disease? Am guessing, no. What has he done that is so spectacularly wonderful? Please enlighten me. Please and thanks.

Well, believe it or not, Mourinho gave himself that name/moniker. Yes, yes he did. I could have told you he was arrogant (and I have done so in previous posts). When Mourinho moved to Chelsea in June 2004, he held a press conference upon joining the club and said, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m the special one.” Can you believe he said that? So, the media has dubbed him “The Special One.” I would like to give Mourinho the benefit of the doubt here-I mean, his first language is Portuguese and English is not his native tongue. But sorry, most Portuguese speak English perfectly well. I don’t think there were translation issues here. The guy is just arrogant. Yes, yes he is. But anyway, Good luck to him. I may not like the guy but I don’t have any ill will towards him. So yeah, that is why he is called ‘The Special One.’ And knowledge, is power, people.




University Fees (UK)

Female graduates

Salutations. University Fees. Uggh. The end. But seriously, everyone bemoans University Fees-both here and in the US. Tuition is WAY too high. In fact, I had a cousin who recently graduated from Princeton University. And while Princeton is a great school, its tuition fees are eye-wateringly diabolically high. In fact, if my cousin were to rob a bank, lets say that I would not be that surprised. For real.

Here in the UK, University Fees have had an interesting history. Tuition fees in the UK were INTRODUCED across the entire UK in 1998 under the Labour government as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities. Yes. Please read that again. Later on, tuition fee caps rose with the Higher Education Act 2004-under the Act, Universities in England could begin to charge variable fees of up to £3000 a year for students enrolling on courses as from the academic year of 2006-7. Wow. Then when University fees rose to 5K people began to loose their minds. I found it amazing. I thought those people should have been grateful to only pay 5K. But then again, if one was never expected to pay tuition then had to commence paying tuition, then I can see why they got mad. I get it. I don’t understand it, but I get it.

Current situation

Universities in England will now be able to increase tuition fees above £9000 from Autumn 2017. Yes, ‘Autumn’-they don’t say ‘Fall’ here. Anyway, it is believed that the increased tuition will ensure high-quality teaching. Further, the plans aim to encourage more competition and better consumer value for students. The government will announce in 2016-2017 which Universities are allowed to increase their fees. Sorana Vieru, vice president of the National Union of Students, said students would be “outraged” at the prospect of tuition fees being increased. Well I suppose so. Better not apply to ANY American Universities then. Don’t even think about Princeton.

That being said, maintenance grants/loans are available for students. Of course, you have to repay your student loans. Duh. One last thing, if there are any American college bound students looking to study abroad for F-R-E-E well then, Germany is your best bet. Look into it, I would if I were you. That is all.








Greetings. When you visit London Town (and I hope you do) why not stop and visit Devizes? Oh, you are not familiar with it? Allow me to wax lyrical about this beautiful place located in Wiltshire. Devizes is a market town and civil parish in the heart of Wiltshire, England. Pictured below is Wiltshire- a county in South West England.

Devizes serves as a centre for banks, solicitors and shops and also has an open market place where a market is held once a week. In addition, it has nearly 500 listed buildings (a listed building, in the UK, is one that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest), some notable churches, a Town Hall and a green at the heart of town. Its development grown around the 11th century Norman castle.

Brief History

Devizes Castle was built by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury in 1080, but the town is not mentioned in the Domesday Book (a manuscript record of the ‘Great Survey’ of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror) as the castle was on the boundaries of the manors of Rowde, Bishops Cannings and Potterne became known as the castrum ad divisas (the castle at the boundaries), hence the name Devizes. Further, on John Speed’s map of Wilshire (1611) the town’s name is recorded as The Devyses.  The first castle on the site was of the motte and bailey (fortification of wood or stone) form and was probably made of wood and earth but was sadly burnt down in 1113. A new castle was subsequently built in stone by Roger Salisbury, Osmund’s successor. Devizes received its first charter in 1141 permitting regular markets. The castle changed hands several times during the civil war between Blois and Matilda in the 12th century. In addition, the castle held important prisoners, including Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror in 1106. Robert was kept in Devizes for 20 years, before being moved to Cardiff Castle.

The town has had churches since the 11th century and has 4 Church of England parish churches.  The oldest is dedicated to St John the Baptist and was founded in 1130.

From the 16th century, Devizes became known for its textiles-initially white woollen broadcloth but later the manufacture of serge (a type of twill fabric), druggert (coarse woollen fabric), felt and cassimere /Zephyr cloth. In the early 18th century, Devizes held the LARGEST corn market in the West Country of England (and also traded hops, cattle, horses and of course various types of cloth). Further, before the Corn Exchange was built in 1857 the trade in wheat and barley was conducted in the open, with sacks piled around the market cross.

In closing, Devizes is a lovely place with lovely people. You should visit. I would if I were you. Here are a few pictures of this magical place. And pictures do not lie.

 View of Caen Hill locks, Rowde, Devizes, Wilthsire

 Back in the day

  Long ago

Wadworth Ale is quite strong, but you should try it…


The rag and bone man (scrap metal dealer)

The butcher the baker and the rag and bone man who rings his bell and shouts ‘any old iron?’. I know you were waiting for the candlestick maker, but this is 2016 not 1816. The supermarket experience in the UK is made up of going to the butcher, the baker and others. Yes, we do have supermarkets but we don’t do Costco or Sam’s club.

Going to the butcher for the first time was a bit intimidating. There was meat everywhere perfectly tied with string. A fly buzzed hazily and the butcher behind the counter was burly and butch with thick sausage-like fingers. He wore a kind gap toothed smile and wiped blood on his apron. Get. Me. Out. seemed to resonate through my body as my vegetarian status was quietly contemplated. I must admit, I felt a bit lost. How could I order what I wanted when I didn’t even know the proper names of sections of the cow (or other animals)? Further, nothing looked familiar and of course nothing was cooked. ‘Hello Madam’ chirped the butcher, as he grinned broadly at me. ‘What are you after today?’ I thought sheepishly to myself-I am after the EXIT sign-can you please direct me in that direction? Am pretty sure he could smell my fear-I was in a butcher’s shop after all. He spoke to me politely. I told him what I was after and how many people were in my household. He proudly showed me his best cuts of meat and even told me how to cook them! It wasn’t so bad, my intermediary-err…my butcher educated me, helped me and wrapped my meat up nicely for me.

Next stop, the bakery…this was more my territory. The baker was a middle aged woman with bright shining eyes and ruddy cheeks. It did not escape me that she was generous around the middle. I liked her immediately and knew I could trust her. With my life, if needed.  We spoke politely about the weather as I ordered a 4 Marlborough buns, 3 Eccles cake, 2 Egg custard tarts and 1 Mince pie. I left happy and was pretty sure I would be visiting the dentist in the next week or so.

‘Any old iron?’ the old Gypsy with pockmarked skin called out as he drove his white van up and down the neighbourhood. What? He wants scrap metal? I just give it to him and then our transaction is complete? Yes. Weird but ok, I am cool with that. I recently heard a story that a couple had been cleaning out their kitchen, so they put their washing machine and tumble dryer in the front garden-a sort of temporary resting place. In the UK you will find the washing machine and tumble dryer in the kitchen. Weird. Don’t even get me started.  Anyway, the couple later returned to their garden to retrieve their white goods, but quickly realised that both items were gone. They had not heard the cry of ‘any old iron?’ as their washing machine and tumble dryer were subsequently scooped up by the scrap metal man.

The butcher, the baker, the rag and bone man and me. Welcome to England, mate.

Blair on BREXIT

Image result for image of tony blair                                                                                                                              Image: Jewish Business News

Hello and hi. Well, well, well…look who is in the news today. I am not normally in the habit of giving war criminals my attention-but I could not help myself today. Well, it is a free country and if Tony Blair wants to speak, let him speak. I did listen and tried hard not to judge him too harshly. Well, I did try.

Tony Blair has been speaking to the BBC regarding BREXIT. I wish he himself would BREXIT. But no, instead, he has decided to remain and share a few of his thoughts with the British public. I am not sure why he felt the need to comment on BREXIT. He had his time as Prime Minister from 1997-2007, to speak about issues pertinent to the UK. Kindly, exit stage left Tony. Please and thanks.

The former Prime Minister told the BBC that the outcome of the BREXIT vote was a “catastrophe” and that it was vital to study the ‘real-life implications.’ Yes, we know that already, Tony. We certainly don’t need you to remind us of this. Blair also added that he had accepted the verdict of the referendum. So glad. But he recommended, looking again at BREXIT, when “we have a clear sense of where we’re going” he told the BBC. Good grief. I certainly hope that Theresa May did not hear this interview, but am guessing she did. Later, Downing Street said that they were “absolutely committed” to seeing BREXIT through. Of course they are.  The British people voted in a referendum on 23 June and 51.9% of voters opted to leave the EU. In brief, the people voted and there will be NO second referendum. No. Nope. No way. I think you get the point.

On BBC Radio 4 Today’s programme, Blair told the programme that he believed that the BREXIT vote was a “catastrophe” and added that the views of the “16 million” people who had backed remaining in the EU, should not be ignored. Good grief. Why is he saying this? He needs to go home and make his barrister wife a nice cup of tea instead of pointing out the bleeding obivous. (Said in a Yorkshire accent).

Blair also added:”If it becomes clear that this is either a deal that doesn’t make it worth our while leaving, or alternatively a deal that’s going to be so serious in its implications people may decide they don’t want to go, there’s got to be some way, either through Parliament, or an election, or possibly through another referendum, in which people express their view.” Erm. Ok. You may have to read that again. All I read was: yellow and blue make green. But seriously, he has aired his views on BREXIT, and he has every right to do so but come.on.mate. I really do believe such statements are actually undermining Theresa May’s leaderdhip. And nobody has time for that- not even Theresa amay. Blair should stop talking…now would be good. Blair also added that the vote for BREXIT could not be changed  “unless it becomes clear that the British people have had a change of mind.” Oh my goodness. That is the last thing Theresa May or anyone else wants to hear. Honestly.

The UK government has promised to invoke Article 50 (setting formal talks with the EU in motion) by the end of March, next year. Further, Theresa May has said, that she will not provide a “running commentary” on its stance before negotiations-before leaving the EU. Yes girl, give it. Stay strong, my sister.

Image result for image of Theresa May                                                                                                                           Image: The Independent

Blair also told the BBC:”We’ve got to work out: are the freedoms that we are going to gain really so substantial that we want to leave the European Union?” In addition, he warned of the subsequent talks with the EU and said,  “I’m convinced that it’s going to be very, very tough. We have to understand we are not going to be conducting these negotiations with a group of European businessmen who might well decide that they want maximum access to the UK…The people we are going to be conducting these negotiations with are the political leaders of the European Union and their parliaments.” Blair concluded by saying”I’m arguing we should keep our options open.” Good grief. Why is he even commenting on this current political issue? Simply put, he nor his views are no longer relevant. I do wonder however, if he is angling for a job? Well, Tony Blair did announce last month that he was winding up most of his commercial ventures, in order to focus on not-for-profit work. So…there you go. He is job hunting. I knew it. Yes. Yes, I did.

In closing, please cast your mind back to 2004 when Blair said a UK referendum would be held on the ratification of the European Constitution Treaty. This would create a European Council president along with a “common defence policy.” But voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the treaty and it was subsequently discarded.

In 2007, the Labour government rejected calls for a referendum on a second treaty-which became known as: The Lisbon Treaty and argued that it was a different document and a UK referendum was NOT needed. (The Lisbon Treaty, in brief, amends the 2 treaties which form the constitutional basis of the EU. It was signed by the EU member states in 2007 and came into force in 2009-it amends the Maastricht Treaty (1993), known in updated form as the Treaty on European Union. Knowledge is power, people.

Earlier in the month, Blair told Esquire magazine he was considering whether there was a “role” for him in UK politics-having not actively been involved for almost a decade. Please read that as: ‘I shall soon be returning to UK politics.’ Good grief. That is all.




Congratulations Candice!

Image result for image of candice from great british bake off                                                                                                                             Image: Charlotte Star

Hello and hi. I think I am the ONLY person in the UK who does not watch the Great British Bake Off. This is for a couple of reasons, which include:

  • I don’t bake cookies, cakes et al….I eat them
  • The judges are mean
  • Paul Hollywood is not ‘all that’
  • Mary Berry seems nice, but she is an OAP, shoudn’t she be home-putting her feet up and playing with her grandchildren?
  • The contestants really try and do their best, under time and pressure constraints but yet it never seems good enough for the judges, Paul and Mary
  • I have more reasons, but I think you get the point

Last night, the UK was on tenterhooks as we (not me) waited to see who had gone and won themselves Great British Bake Off 2016. It was Candice. Good job Candice. Look, Candice seems like a nice person. She is well-spoken, seems polite and wears red lipstick so shocking that it makes you weep. But this is a good thing. Trust me. But really now Candice…that speech of yours. Facepalm. It was pretty emotional. I guess winning meant a lot to you-I could tell.

Like I said, I have seen the show approximately 2.5 times. But it is all anyone is talking about…along with BREXIT and 100 days of Theresa May. In reality (mine) this show is another fly-on-the wall reality show. Kind of. Sort of. Not really. But it is like The Apprentice….but for bakers. Which means that this show is all about baking the best pie/cake/sweet and then being judged for it accordingly. About The Apprentice…I applied the other year and actually got myself an audition for the show. Maybe one day, I will blog about it. That being said, here is some info on the Great British Bake Off.

The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) is a BAFTA award-winnign British TV baking competition which selects from amongst its contestants the best amateur baker. Every week, the bakers are given a task and the least successful one is eliminated . The series is presented by Mel and Sue and judged by cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker, Paul Hollywood. Back home in the US, it aired under the name: The Great British Baking Show. So, that’s it in a nutshell. 4 people hosting a show about baking. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Sorry…I just had to. But despite the 4 hosts, GBBO is wildly popular. Am guessing that Mel, Sue, Mary and Paul each bring something different to the show. Here they are pictured below. You can probably guess which one is Paul. Please tell me you can guess.

Image result for great british bake off hosts image

GBBO was first shown on BBC Two in August 2010 and after it became the most popular programme on that channel, it was moved to BBC One for its 5th series. It is so, so popular. People will literally turn their phones off and turn people away from their door when this show is off. Many of the participants (including winners) have gone on to a bril career based on bakery. Winners have included: Edd Kimber, Joanne Wheatley, John Whaite, Frances Quinn, Nancy Birtwhistle, NADIYA HUSSAIN and of course, Candice Brown. Congratulations again Candice! ‘If I had known you were coming…I’d ‘ve baked a cake.’ Please tell me that you know that song, or we can’t be friends. Sorry (not sorry). But if you don’t know it…here it is. Enjoy.


Diabetes (UK)

Image result for image for diabetes type 1 and type 2                                                                                                                                  Image: Gridgit.com

Hello and hi. This is not my usual post. I am not a doctor-although I do play one on TV.  Diabetes in the UK, could possibly bring the NHS to its knees. In brief, the NHS will not be able to cope with the increasingly high number of patients who suffer from diabetes.

Steven Woodman from Shrewsbury has diabetes. He is a regular guy and no different from me or you. Steven is only in his late 50’s but needs a stick (they say ‘stick’ here instead of ‘cane’) to help him with his balance. He needs help with his balance because he has lost 3 toes on one foot. Poor chap, as a result, is unsteady on his feet. Steven has type 2 diabetes. Sadly, he largely ignored the warnings and advice regarding diabetes, which has left him with the loss of 3 toes. Steven was diagnosed with type 2 diabets (closely linked to lifestyle and weight gain) when he was a younger man.

Steven, freely admits that the advice given to him by his GP (General Practicioner/Doctor) was largely ignored by him. He says, “I was in denial. I never took it that seriously, so I carried on eating, going to the pub – doing things people of my age did…of course, now I know different.” as he explained to the BBC.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease which usually develops when people are young. This type of diabetes accounts for approximately 10% of cases in the UK, according to the BBC.

Type 2 accounts for the other 90% of cases in the UK. Most cases are associated with being overweight-however, if you have a family history with diabetes, this could also play a factor. One effect of Type 2 diabetes is poor blood circulation-particularly with the extremities of your body, like your feet. In addition, it affects the nerves, so teh feet become numb to pain.

So, when Steven developped an ulcer on his toe, he didnt’t notice immediately that it was not healing. Later it became infected, gangrenous, so much so, that it presented a real threat to his life.  This was to become Steven’s first amputation. In the finish, Steven lost 3 toes. Sadly, Steven’s story is not unusual.

Diabetes ‘epidemic’

Every week in England there are 140 amputations associated with complications, due to diabetes, according to the BBC. In addition, the costs associated with amputations is equally horrific. Post amputation, costs average 22K. Costs for: limb fitting/basic prosthesis et al. Kate Merriman, a vascular surgeon at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS commented, “We’re facing a diabetic epidemic, and we need to find ways of preventing those patients from reaching surgeons because the cost to the patient and the NHS are skyrocketing.”

As a diabetic, Steven, in addition to amputation, will also face risk of kidney failure, blindness and premature death. And to make matters worse, a growing amount of children in the UK, are now being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Children with a love of sweets and fizzy drinks which will inevitably lead to weight gain. Enter Type 2 diabetes. However, medication is used to control  Type 2 diabetes (in children as well as adults). And while a diagnosis of Type 2 can be life changing, evidence suggests that it can be reversed or at least put in remission.

Knowledge is power, people. That is all.



Keeping Kuznetsov (or not)

Image result for image of admiral kuznetsov

Hello and hi. Pictured above is Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov. Now say that backwards. I dare you. She is an aircraft cruiser (heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser in Russian clarification) and serves as the flagship of the Russian Navy. She is old, but she is mighty. Yes, yes she is.

A few days ago Kuznetsov thought it would be a good idea to sail right on through the English channel, on her way to Syria. What on earth? The aging carrier was escorted by the Navy and was accompanied by a tug (this is normal practice, just in case she breaks down.) Aint nobody got time for a breakdown. Not even a boat…I mean, aircraft cruiser.

Kuznetsov is no different to a very old woman…all 61,390 tons of her. I mean no disrespect to old women, but let’s face it, we all get old in the end. Sigh. That being said, Kuznetsov has plenty of ailments. Her plumbing is so bad that many of the lavatories can’t be used. There have been several accidents too. Yikes. Time to jump ship.

Image result for image of admiral kuznetsov

Over the weekend, this Soviet-era warship, lead a flotilla of 8 naval vessels to the eastern Mediterrean-where its aircraft are expected to meet a renewed assault on the rebel-held city of Aleppo. Erm…if you are not familiar with Aleppo, we simply can’t be friends. Sorry (not sorry). So Kuznetsov decided to sail right on through the Dover Strait, as she billowed black clouds of smoke. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary assured the UK that Kuznetsov was being ‘marked every step of the way.’ Well, thank goodness for the Royal Navy.

NATO officials have indicated that the Russian deployment is the largest of its kind since the Cold War. Its intent is to demonstrate the military might of Moscow. Oh how I love alliteration-don’t you?

Most in the UK were a bit wary about Kuznetsov here in UK waters and commented about the deplorable state she was in. A navy source said, “you only have to look at the smoke she’s belching out to see all is not well.” Indeed. Peter Roberts, a naval expert at the Royal United Services Institute  (RUSI) said “In naval folklore, there’s something called an unlucky ship, and Kuznetsov is undoubtedly an unlucky ship.” My goodness, these navy people certainly do not mince their words. I read that as: Dear Russian people, your ship, I am afraid…is rubbish. Of course Roberts did not say those exact words-but it is kind of what he meant. Yes, yes it is.

Work began on Kuznetsov in 1982 and she was later commissioned in 1990. But since then she has had a plethora of problems-and, as a result, she is accompanied by an ocean-going tug whenever she deploys. In addition, there are other outstanding issues/flaws, as pipes freeze in the winter, so the water has to be turned off. This means tht half the latrines, simply don’t work, according to The Telegraph. Roberts of RUSI ( who is a naval expert and former navy officer) commented “there’s nothing more depressing for a naval captain when he leaves home waters, than to be escorted by a tug…because even your commander-in-chief thinks you are going to break down.” Roberts speaks sense. Yes, yes he does.  But Roberts being the fair-minded naval expert that he is, also added that despite the ships’s appearance, she was not to be underestimated, “she’s big, fast and an impressive ship with capable jets and she is going to war in Syria.”

So while Kuznetsov is falling to bits, she is still pretty impressive. Well now, she is exactly like an old woman, isn’t she? Respect.


“The EU is impossible” says Canada

Image result for image of EU and Canada flag

Hello and hi. The Canadian goverment was recently quoted as saying ‘The EU is impossible to do business with.’ Wait right there. Hold the maple syrup, you lot… you are only now realising this? Better late than never, I guess.

So, this happened…

A major trade agreement appeared to be on the brink of collapse after the Canadians WALKED OUT of talks after a large-scale deal that was put on hold, on the insistence of a tiny region in Belgium. I mean, Belgium is a tiny country, so for there to be a tiny region located within a tiny country, you better believe it is miniscule. Wallonia, with only a population of 3.5 million, had the audacity of 5 Belgian waffles to block a Canadian-EU agreement. You see, under Belgium law, international transactions need to be signed off by regional parliaments. Yes, yes they do.

The issue

Apparently, Wallonian farmers are opposed to the existing deal on the ‘table’ as they fear that their country will be flooded with cheap agricultural imports. Erm…so, what is wrong with that? So, this issue/resistance speaks volumes for us here in the UK. This impasse of sorts, solidifies the possibility of similar obstacles, to whatever deal Britain seeks to secure in upcoming BREXIT talks with the EU. In brief, the EU is not going to make it easy for the UK. Oh and please know that I mean and am referring to: FRANCE (when I say EU in this context).

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s international trade minister remarked ‘It’s becoming evident for me..that the EU isn’t capable how to have an international treaty even with a country that has European values, like Canada.’ Oh honey…been in the job long? You are only now realising this? *rolls eyes and mouth opens like a codfish.* Freeland also added, in lamenting about the deal falling through, between Canada and the EU, ‘…and even with a country so nice, with a lot of patience like Canada.’ Yes, girl. Canada is nice and patient. I mean, you tolerate Justin Bieber and Michael Buble. I can’t even with those two, but I digress. Pictured below is Chrystia Freeland. She seems nice and patient. Yup.

Image result for image of Chrystia Freeland, canadian international trade minister

Freeland ended with ‘I’ve worked very, very hard, but I think its impossible-we have decided to return home. ‘ Oh dear…try not to be discouraged, love. Oh Canada! We feel you. We, really do. That is all.


World’s first female master blender (Rum)

Image result for image of joy spence female master blender

Hello and hi. Let’s face it, now and then we all deserve a drop of the good stuff. However, what you might consider ‘good’ might be up for debate. I am willing to debate you on this. El Dorado-hands down.  Anwyay, meet Joy Spence, pictured above-she is the rum industry’s first female master blender. In short, she is a BOSS. Respect.

The rum industry, like most other industries, is definitely an ‘old boy’s club’. Sad but true. Further, positions such as Head Distiller and Master Blender are normally occupied by men, who work with said high-profile brands. Remind me again, is it 2016 or 1816? Good grief. But I digress. But now, thanks to Joy Spence, all that male dominated nonsense in the rum industry is but a distant memory. Yes. Yes, it is.

Joy Spence, 64, is the Master Blender of Appleton Estates Jamaica Rum and she is the spirits industry FIRST female Master Blender.  Born in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica-home to the Appleton headquarters, Spence, in her role as Master Blender, oversees the quality of existing blends and also creates new ones. Growing up, Spence wanted to be a scientist. She would later graduate from the University of Longborough in England with a Master’s in analytical chemistry. Wow. I can barely match my socks-much less graduate with a degree in analytical chemistry. But, I digress.

Later, Spence would take a role as chief chemist at the Jamaican rum distiller Appleton’s parent company-J. Wray and Nephew Limited. Her job required constant interaction with J. Wray’s Master Blender and a star was born…or rather, a female Master Blender was born. When Spence took the role of Master Blender, her father was none too pleased. It was a good job and the pay was decent, but a woman from the Caribbean simply does not work at a rum distillery. Well, perhaps she does as a receptionist but certainly not as a Master Blender. Spence was able to somehow convince her father there was nothing disreptuble in taking up the post. So, she did.

In her time at Appleton’s, Spence has created 10 rums for Appleton Estate, which includes the limited edition Appleton Estate 30 year old Jamaican rum. While I have not tasted this particular rum, I can bet it is probably pretty good. No El Dorado-but nontheless, good.

Image result for image of joy spence                                                                                                                                            Image: Cocktail Wonk

In her role as Master Blender, Spence using her chemistry background as well as her expert nose to marry unlikely flavours together, resulting in a warm and wonderful undertones, which make up the rum.These flavours normally include: essence of vanilla, chocolate, cherry, cinnamon, maple and orange.

Surprisingly, Spence was not much of a rum drinker before she took on this role-but she indulges every now and then…for work purposes and for pleasure. That being said, in her role as Master Blender, Spence has opened the door in the rum industry for other women, to include: Brugal’s Jassil Villanueva and Zacapa’s Lorena Vasquez Ampie.

Image result for image appleton estate 30 year old rum                                                              Image: Repeating Island

Image result for image of joy spence female master blender                                                                                                      Image: Single Minded Women

Further, historically speaking, rum brands have been family owned businesses and the trade, along with the family business is passed down from father to son (like land and titles). So it is pretty unusual that a woman who had zero rum family links managed to become Master Blender, but she has. Massive applause.

I have enclosed an interview with Joy Spence in which Spence recently did with Fortune, it is a pretty good read, you should check it out. She also describes the particular way and method, she enjoys a glass a rum. You should definitely read the interview. You can do so here: Rum’s BOSS lady Master Blender

In closing, I just wanted to end with ‘yo ho ho and a bottle of rum‘ from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Its meaning has baffled readers for quite some time and Stevenson himself, never offered any explanation-but its meaning has now been solved. The meaning? Well, you will just have to find out for yourself…while drinking rum…preferably a bottle. Enjoy!