By Dominic Roskrow

Daleks, dogs, drink

Rampaging huntsmen,under-achieving daleks,lots of whisky.Whatever's going on, asks Dominic Roskrow
I am standing at the edge of a paddock, surrounded by people. In front of me a man in green hunting costume is grappling with a large fox hound.Other huntsmen in red are running around in panic in the sun, after hunting dogs that having been deprived of foxes for some time now, have gone berserk and are in hot pursuit of every burger and sausage van in the vicinity. And there are a lot. It’s like Johnnie Walker starring in a horror film.Then two cars enter the paddock, steering to avoid the hounds. And – and I’m really not making this up - they’re both being driven by gorillas, one with a bra on.I haven’t had a drink, but I need one so I look for a bar. Then through the sun haze and pandemonium I see it – a five metre inflatable bottle of Cock O’ The North Single Malt Whisky Liqueur floating in the clear blue sky.Good golly, what a strange summer it’s been, and a whisky-related one, too. Even leaving aside the football World Cup, which provided any number of excuses to reach for the bottle, summer 2006 has been most unsettling.There was the incident above, for instance, which took place at the Royal Norfolk Show, which is a sort of young farmers’ convention mixed with an agricultural car boot sale.Then there were the daleks up at Holt on the North Norfolk coast. Hundreds of us turned out for what was billed to be the biggest gathering of Earth’s greatest enemies in any one place. More than 58 would win a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest gathering of them ever (on Earth obviously – everyone knows there were armies of them in other galaxies).Up to 100 were expected, but the signs weren’t good. The night before guest daleks had failed to show at a special Doctor Who dinner.The crowds lined the streets. We waited and waited. The children started smashing shop windows. The adults headed for the pub.And then – an hour late – they came, their robotic voices heralding their arrival. How many would there be? Seventy? Eighty? The magical 100?Nine. NINE! And one of those clearly wasn’t real because it was pint size and was shuffling along in Nike trainers.So off we went to Bakers and Larners, a cool delicatessen in the centre of Holt, to seek solace among the whisky selection. Okay, the younger ones weren’t impressed – but hey, at least one of us came home happy.That whisky should have any role in these two surreal snapshots of life in middle England is, initself strange. But I have spotted a trend in recent weeks. Wherever you go where tourism mingles with a degree of affluence, whisky in some shape or form is making an appearance.At the Royal Norfolk Show the Cock O The North andScotch Liqueur Centre stands reported brisk trade. Up at Holt Larners seemed to be wooing the tourists with single malt, too.This is whisky and its associated products reaching out in new directions and it’s a glimpse of the future, a future where whisky products can thrive in all environments, among all sorts of social groups and in all sorts of conditions.And it fits in – no matter what weirdness is taking place elsewhere.On another note entirely, congratulations to the winner of our Whisky World Cup. Over four weeks a group of enthusiasts tasted 17 different whisky styles from around the world. Like the real thing, there were surprises (an American single malt made the final, a Scottish single malt or American bourbon didn’t) alongside predictable trends (Scotland, Japan, America and Ireland all represented in the final).It was a lot of fun, a great excuse to get out to taste whisky and to watch football afterwards – and we ended up with a great champion.Roll on the European Championship!