Posts Tagged ‘life’

Waiter’s Friend – How to use one without looking like a wally!

October 28, 2008

What is a waiter’s friend?

A waiter’s friend is merely a corkscrew, an intrument used for removing stopping corks from wine bottles. Generally, a waiter’s friend consists of a pointed metallic helix, referred to as the “worm”, which is attached to a handle. The user grips the handle and screws the metal point through the centre of the cork, entwining the cork and corkscrew so that moving one moves the other. A waiter’s friend can also be referred to as a sommelier knife as it is shaped in a folding body similar to a pocket knife. An arm extends to brace against the lip of the bottle for leverage when removing the cork, this is known as the fulcrum. Some waiter’s friends have two steps on the lever, and often also a bottle opener. A small hinged knife blade is housed in the handle end for removing the foil surrpounding the neck of many wine bottles.

How do I use it?

(If the wine bottle lacks a hood or foil covering its neck and cork, move on to the next paragraph.)

Firstly, remove the foil with the retractable knife. The safest way to do this is to open the blade and lay the handle on the palm-up hand across the base of the fingers, with the blade tip pointing in the same direction as and the blade edge pointing towards the outstretched thumb. Grip the handle firmly with the fingers, then turn the palm down and place the neck of the bottle between the thumb and the knife edge. The knife should be under the bottle’s drip ridge. Squeeze the bottle neck with enough pressure to cut the foil and use the other hand to rotate the bottle one full turn. Use the point of the blade to separate and discard the cap from the remainder of the foil, which stays on the bottle. Finally, remember to close the blade! Plastic hoods usually require more pressure than tin or aluminum hoods and some wine bottles will have a pull-strip to assist in the hood’s removal, although these don’t always work.

To remove the cork, open the “worm”. Although old wisdom says not to penetrate through the opposite end of the cork in order to avoid getting cork pieces in the wine, nevermind. Size does matter; so does sharpness. A long, sharp wire helix worm will neatly pierce even a dry cork without breaking off pieces and is guaranteed to grip and remove the cork whole.

Put the point of the worm in the centre of the cork. Do not worry too much about aligning the worm parallel to the bottle‘s neck. It is more important to get the worm centered on the cork. As the worm is turned into the cork in a clockwise direction, it will begin to right itself as it goes deeper. You need to stop when there is only one turn of the worm. Bend the handle-lever down to allow opening the fulcrum. Place the fulcrum’s notch on the edge of the bottle and, on the hand gripping the bottle, use the index finger to hold the fulcrum to the bottle, you can use the other hand to lift the handle-lever and raise the cork about one-half inch. Turn the screw that last turn and finish lifting and removing the cork.

That’s all there is to it… the next part’s much easier, pour and enjoy!

Waiter’s friends come in all different forms, you can purchase and find cheap waiter’s friend for a couple of pounds, but it is also possible to obtain more expensive looking, state of the art waiter’s friends, which are fantastic for gift giving. To make waiter’s friends even more special you can get them engraved with a personalised message or a personalised name, this is possible from our site; engraved gifts.

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Birthdays, Birthdays and more Birthdays – When is one officially “over the hill”?

September 12, 2008
‘Over the hill’ is a colloquial phrase used for the very simple term, ‘old’. Where did this idiom come from though? It cannot be known for sure, but the phrase perhaps came from the fact that cemeteries in the past were often built on hills overlooking lower areas of towns and villages. Therefore, someone who had passed away would be buried somewhere over this hill. This idiom ‘over the hill’ has been adapted and now has common usage in the english language. Another possibility could be that the first part of one’s life is going uphill, because you’re young and have plenty of time to experience life, explore the world and everything in it, but once you’ve done all of this and you’re at the top, it’s all then downhill, suggesting you are ‘over the hill’.  
 
I think the age that one feels or becomes ‘over the hill’ differs for each individual. I’m 21 and upto my 18th birthday, I was sure that by my 30th birthday I would be  old;  over the hill, and my parents, who were 41 years and 44 years old at the time, were definately past it. Now that I’m slowly getting closer to thirty, the goalpost for me is changing with anything past 40 years of age now being classed as ‘over the hill’. You see 40th birthday, 50th birthday and 60th birthday cards in greeting card shops littered with jokes about being ‘over the hill’ and ‘past it’. Do these jovial remarks mean that after the age of thirty nine, you can no longer make the most out of life?
 

I asked friends and family what they thought:
 
“60th or 65th birthday – Just because it’s the normal age of retirement. Really though, I think being over the hill has more to do with a person’s mental abilities than their age. I know some 80 year olds who still have it together where it counts, and some 40 year olds who are pretty senile already!”  
 
A neighbour told me that ‘It took me [him] 50 years to look this good!’ – I guess he doesn’t believe that he’s over the hill yet.
 
I carried out a survey, part-takers had to decide whether in their opinion they counted the following birthdays as being over the hill.
 
Birthday – Over the hill?

 

 Research shows that in today’s society men are living upto the age of 76 and women to the age of 81, as opposed to 66 and 71 respectively during the 1950’s. This is a dramatic increase in the length of the average life, it’s a huge 10 years extra in just 60 years or so, thanks to the development of medicine and technology. So in theory, being 40 years old is only half-way through ones life today, instead of two thirds through one’s life 60 years ago.  To conclude: people used to have shorter lifespans 60 years or so ago, living on average to the age of 66 (males) and 71 (females). The age one would feel or be classed as old in that time would consequently be younger than in today’s society where people are living upto the ages of 76 (males) and 81 (females). When then, is one officially over the hill?  From asking people and taking into account my own opinion, I think that it’s all about perception, you are over the hill when you feel and think you’re too old to live life to the fullest.