Good friends came to enjoy dinner with us this evening. Mark brought a bottle of Jura whisky which I had given him as a thank-you for looking after Joe The Dog. He hadn’t yet sampled it, so we had a post-prandial bottle-opening session. This is the whisky I like best – robust, yet not heavy and with hints of oak and notes of honey and caramel, soft liquorice and roasted coffee beans (OK, I got that from the Jura Distillery site – it just tastes like a stonking good whisky to me!). Mark only knew that this was a Scottish whisky, so I showed him the Island of Jura on Google Earth and then some photos of the place. This is my favourite place out of all those I have visited in the world. That’s why it features in The Butterfly & The Bull. Although it’s only about seven miles from the Scottish mainland, it has a wild and isolated feel about it. It is rugged, with wild moorland and rocky coastlines. And yet, at Jura House, there exists the most luxuriant walled garden with shrubs, herbs, vegetables and herbs galore. About one hundred and fifty people live on the island. There is one road, one hotel, one store, one distillery. In the novel, I envision an island bereft of its absentee landowners, its tourist trade and its reliable links with the mainland. The island community pulls together to bridge the gap between one set of circumstances and another. They are helped in this by one of their own. Colin McKay. A modest genius. The character is based on a real Juraman I met in 2009. He liked the local whisky, too, as I remember.