Someone asked me the other day if I have any collections. I suppose in the past I've had various odd ones - musical instruments, hats - both of which I still love and own many of. Now it's mostly books I buy. Though I do own many corkscrews I'm not one of those people who buys old antique corkscrews and such. But it dawned on me just now, that I do collect corks. In fact every single bottle of real champagne from the first I ever bought (or obtained) which I think was in 1980, through every major event - birthdays, graduations, books being published, holidays. They're all in a big paper shopping bag, and it really is nice every now and then to pull them out and see the very cork shared with an old girlfriend, or downed somewhere in Europe. (I write the date and event on the side.) They're sort of like relics, with the ability to conjur up the place and time long gone.
But even odder, is that I also save every cork, unmarked, of every bottle of wine I have ever opened. (Or at least for the past 25 years - I even moved with bagsful to California 15 years ago.) There are about 5 or 6 shopping bags of those stowed away. I never realized I had such a cork fetish before. Maybe it's some intution that someday they'll be obsolete and I'll be sitting on a gold mine. And it certainly is about the smell and texture of them, including cork trees - there are some in the park across from my house and next to my office. I toss the plastic ones. I've always had the ideas that I'd do something grandiose with them, like make a cork wall, or fashion some furniture out of cork somehow. Or maybe a little banquetting house in the garden.
If any of you have ideas for what to do with a monstrous mess of corks, please let me know.