Greetings and happy summer to you all. I say hello to you now from Scotland, where the summer holidays (vacations) are in full swing and the wild ones come out to play. It’s gotten busier and busier here on Bute. Day-trippers and weekend warriors flow off and back on the ferry as regularly as the changing tides. I never thought this little town could get so busy and be such a destination for so many people, but I’ve been wrong, many times, before…

Before I tell you a little bit about what’s been happening here, though, a brief homage to the tool mankind has depended on for its very survival: the corkscrew.

And so, it’s back to Italy we go! Buckle up, ’cause the roads here are not for the faint of heart. But they do lead to exciting and interesting places. Like the Museo dei Cavatappi, or Corkscrew Museum in the town of Barolo.

Now I realize that some of you may not find a museum dedicated to the corkscrew exciting, but you gotta admit, it is intriguing. I mean, have you ever wondered what the first corkscrews looked like? Were they functional?  How often did they break, causing the users of these inaugural tools to curse the wine gods and just smash off the top of the bottle to get to the goods inside? So many questions…

IMG_2407A view from inside the Museo dei Cavatappi

Fortunately, this ode to the corkscrew takes you step by step through its history and does a great job answering some of these questions. The many illuminated, glass show-cases of corkscrews, from the early, more organic wood and bone creations, to the ultra-modern, mechanized whiz-bangs that you can drop a few hundred bucks on, give you a good sense of just how far they’ve come.

Which is to say, not really all that much; while designs (my favorite was the “ladies legs” you see at the top of this post), shapes, and sizes have changed pretty drastically over time, the basic premise has remained constant. Somewhere amidst all that metal, wood, and plastic (or in-between her legs), a metallic helix/worm is there for you to screw into the stopper, so as to grab it and get it out of the bottle.

I’ve never been a big fan of the “Rabbit” or any other fancy contraption to open your wine bottle. Give me a good ole’ waiter’s corkscrew with a double hinge any day over those things. But some people dig the hi-tech wine toys and that’s cool too. Some folks have issues with their hands and/or wrists, and need something more mechanized and fairly effort-free to open their bottles with. I say pick your poison. But take a quick second here to truly appreciate these tools, for without them, we’d all go very thirsty. Either that, or we’d be picking shards of glass out of our wine.


Screwed up…

*  *  *

Meanwhile, back in Scotland, it rained here yesterday. What a surprise. Actually, it poured like the heavens opened up and decided to wash away all the sins of the Scots. And there are many. The Scottish are a decidedly irreverent bunch, quick to curse, spit, get completely shit-faced, show you how shit-faced they are by “walking” out into the road and staring at the on-coming car, spitting, cursing, and challenging the car and its driver to a brawl right there and then. Seriously. I’ve seen this. Luckily from the top floor of my apartment building, where I often watch the summer festivities unfold.

And you should see the men…


Kidding! In all seriousness, they are an amazing people, sharing this island with the folks down South, yet to me, so distinct from Englanders. I can only hope that I’ll own such a great sense of humor and wit some day, and find such a sense of national pride as the Scots do. Not to mention a penchant for getting schnockered and announcing it to the world– or whomever happens to be close-bye.

I bid you all a good night and send a belated Happy 4th of July. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be in another country, ready to see and taste whatever I can while there. You’ll have to wait til’ my next post to find out where, but here’s a hint: I’ve packed my lederhosen.

Wishing you all good screwing,



~ by Jared on July 8, 2009.

3 Responses to “Screwed!”

  1. Lederhosen? So you’re coming back to Zupan’s on a Saturday?

  2. Are you going to where Martina grew up? If so, you just might see her there, she leaves on Saturday 🙂 haha

    • You know, she actually let me borrow a book about this place when I was still there. But I’m not sure I’ll get there or not. Although I will be on the Rhine at some point.

      If I see her, I’ll say hi for you…


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