A dream, and drinking in Milroys

APRIL 10 03 – Vivid dream. Was walking over a snow covered landscape and suddenly became aware a hunting pack of Staffordshire bull terriers was scouring over the snow heading my way like an attack force. A couple of advance dogs scurry around me and I get the impression they're not after me. I see a cat in the snow and I shout to the pack owner that I'll kill any dog trying to get the cat. I stand in front of it with my umbrella like a club, then I look down and see it's not a cat but a large rat feasting on the bloody corpse of a smaller kill. But my promise to defend it holds. However, the dogs swerve in and one carries it off in an instant before I have a chance to do anything. Now it feasts on the rat still with its own kill in its mouth. I walk back across the snow, which is now criss-crossed by bloody footprints.

Hungover. Drinking in Milroys in Greek Street last night. A rather different Laphroaig (46%), a Knappogue Castle, and £50 bottle of Armagnac tasting of burnt caramel, drinking upstairs in the shop, the downstairs 'drinking room' being refurbished. 'If you want, you can have a drink up here with me,' the proprietor said.

They have a little chess table in the shop to sit around. Two guys and a girl came in, asked if the chess table was free. 'These gentlemen appear content studying the shelves, go ahead.' Very civilised. Drinks 10% of the bottle price. Bottles in there dating from 1942, why let a world war get in the way of more serious matters. Proprietor extremely knowledgeable: 'If the bottle's open I'll try it.' He pointed to a 1986 Armagnac. 'I'm waiting on that one…' he said with joy and enthusiasm for his trade.