I made a complete hash of pulling the cork out of a bottle of red wine this evening. I broke it, first in half, then into several more pieces and ended up with annoying bits bobbing in my glass like miniature lifebuoys looking for a distressed fruit fly to save. For once this is not a French-Anglo Saxon cultural thing. Once upon a time I could have open bottles of wine with a Swiss Army knife, blindfolded and with one hand behind my back. And did. I hope none of my friends or former colleagues are reading this because they will think I have become a wine wimp instead of just being out of practice. I rarely open bottles at home (think about it: what is the point of being married to a Frenchman if you have to open your own vino?) and in London we tend not to drink French wine; the Frenchman says it is grossly overpriced and these days most other wines even, surprisingly, half decent ones, seem to be plugged with plastic corks or have screw tops (we are not talking Chateau Petrus here).
Tonight the Frenchman is away so I had to open the bottle myself. I realise this second admission is possibly even more embarrassing than the first. Not only am I incapable of extracting a wine cork but I am opening a bottle to drink by myself (not necessarily all of it). Having said that, I am enjoying the wine and not sloshing it back to drown any particular sorrows or to get drunk (though it crosses my mind that drinking while in charge of a sleeping child might be considered irresponsible parenting by some).
What would condemn me as irredeemably sad here, and this is where the cultural difference does comes in, is that I am drinking wine but not eating. Actually I am eating but not as the French would understand the act of consumption; that is to say, having had a good lunch, I am eating something between a couple of slices of bread (thank you Earl of Sandwich). Think about it again; what is the point of being married to a Frenchman who loves rich, heavy French food if you do not use his absence as an excuse for an impromptu diet?
Oh how wonderfully, rebelliously English. Forget solitary drinking, this is truly heathen behaviour of which I really should be ashamed, but am not. I am going to have to practice my cork extraction skills though.