For the first time in what seems like ages, I have enjoyed a relaxing Saturday afternoon by myself. With my wife "off with the girls" to enjoy a day of roller coaster adventures at a nearby theme park (a kinetic pastime that is ill-suited to the delicate mechanics of my inner ear1), I have been left to my own mischievous devices.
One of our little domestic customs is the collection of corks from wine bottles (though I rather think that archiving the labels would be more interesting2), and this afternoon I set about counting the little bits of elastic oak wood contained in a decorative, tiered, basket fruit stand perched upon the pie safe in our breakfast nook.
The count was breathtakingly astonishing. After some difficult calculations, I found that, were one to place, back-to-back, the corks remaining from the bottles of (rather fine, if I do say so myself) Bordeaux which I alone consume in a single year, they would stretch from here to the Moon and back fully twelve times!
Perhaps I misplaced a decimal here or there, but it remains an indisputable fact that a particular regional French wine constitutes a substantial slice of our family budget's proverbial pie chart. Which got me to thinking — if only to justify my own more-than-medically-beneficial consumption of wine — what are the historical and cultural connections between fine alcoholic drinks and the Anglican Patrimony?
Though not a big fan of the stuff, certainly I know of the Methuen Treaty, and the resulting customary use of Port wine in the Anglican Communion Service (as I presume it was consumed most everywhere else in England around the time of the War of the Spanish Succession). I have also heard tell of some connection between native Anglo-Catholic priests and gin (though the clergy here in America seem much more fond of uisge beatha). I must admit, however, that my historical knowledge of "adult beverages" and their potential links with the Patrimony is wanting.
So, during the remaining few days of slow news, as the Church recovers from the "Dog Daies" of Summer and looks towards the erection of the Personal Ordinariate in the United States (and with God's grace in other countries too!) in the Autumn or early Winter ahead of us, I thought that I would open the floor to a discussion of fine wine, strong drink, and the Anglican experience. What do you know about this dizzying subject?
1. In retrospect, the reasons for this incompatibility now seem obvious!
2. Advice on exactly how to do this would be appreciated (specifically liberating the labels from their bottles).