It occurred to me this evening that one’s level of impatience varies depending on the task in hand, sometimes minute to minute. I poured the last half glass of wine into my son’s glass (having filled my own, twice – over the course of an hour or so; I wouldn’t want to give the impression I had downed the first measure in a gulp) and went to fetch another out of the fridge. As I walked towards the corkscrew, I weaved sideways to retrieve the cork from bottle 1. I knew, you see, that I’d left the cork from that bottle in the corkscrew the night before and whilst I was quite happy, as part of the pre-drinking ritual, to unscrew it, I would not bother to do so immediately after opening the new bottle. So the old cork went into the part-emptied bottle. And, I realise, I do that almost every time.
At least it was a real cork. I know they are a bit unreliable and a corked bottle is deeply unpleasant, but I can’t take to plastic corks at all and they are not exactly the mark of a fine wine. Screw caps are ok, but sometimes the scored part doesn’t sever and the whole cap turns round and round and my little hands can’t break the seal and I have to resort to the point of a knife.
The corkscrew is nice. It’s Victorian and the design is still in use, the sort where, as you screw in, arms come up at the sides which you then push down again to force the cork out. It belonged to my grandfather and presumably a genteration or two before that and still works perfectly after all these years and bottles. My other Victorian ones are simply screw in and pull hard types, which gives a certain satisfaction when keen for a drink, but you risk being thwarted by a tight cork and having to pass it round the whole family as a test of strength or thirst.
Last night, the wine and biscuits went down very well and enlivened the meeting considerably. I think I have now committed myself to providing alcohol as well as coffee each time. We will have to be careful not to appoint a teetotal Rector next time, or at any rate, not one who disapproves of the fermented grape.