Planes, trains, and automobiles…and shuttles, and taxis…and boats…

We just returned from our Toronto adventure, and while it was a wonderful time, it started off a little rough.

As it happened, the plan was for the lovely to go over on an early boat, and I would work at the wine shop until the afternoon and catch the 2:45 over. Around 1 o’clock an email came through that both the 1 and the 2:45 were cancelled. Now, the winds were pretty high, but I had checked the latest conditions, and the wave height was fairly low. A little panicked, and knowing that often if the 2:45 is cancelled the final boat will be cancelled, I called the ferry service.

Unless conditions worsened, the last boat would run, as the middle boats were cancelled for a mechanical issue rather than high winds and seas.

Okay… I would still be able to make it.

At the appointed hour, I managed to get the Xterra onto the ferry, with Philos in the back seat. And, as soon as I got across the lovely personal personal trainer was there to meet me. She hopped in, as we hightailed it to Coastal Dog, where Philos would be boarded for a few days.   The staff at the boarding place, fortunately agreed to a late check in, and after dropping him off, we headed down to Portland to our hotel—in anticipation of the next morning’s (early early) flight.

That next morning we headed down, having consumed a fair amount of coffee, and hopped on the hotel’s shuttle to the airport. And, upon reaching the ticketing gate were told that our plane (due to high winds) didn’t land the previous evening. So our flight to Toronto would be delayed from a morning flight, until 4:00 or later in the afternoon. And, with connections and layovers, we wouldn’t reach Toronto until fairly late in the evening. We inquired if there were any other options.

Well, the desk agent said, we can get you a flight from Boston to Toronto direct.

Fantastic, but how would we get to Boston?

They suggested Concord.

For those that aren’t aware, there is a bus that travels between Maine and Boston, and apparently the best option is to hop the bus, and make it down to Logan in time to catch a flight to Toronto…

Okay, for those playing along, that doesn’t really equate to a “direct” flight.

We decided to go for it. So, with the assurance from the gate agent that they would change our tickets—no small feat, as it is Delta who is partnering with WestJet—we hopped in a taxi, and headed to the Concord Bus Station with 5 minutes to spare.

Once on the bus to Boston, we felt that things would be okay.

Until we got to the WestJet desk in Boston

The agent there, doing her best, could not “ticket” us, as the aforementioned Delta agent did not print out a ticket for us in Portland. Of course, he couldn’t print out a ticket for us, as he is an agent for Delta.

This all had my mind spinning, as we stood at the ticket counter for 45 minutes, and our flight was soon to be boarding. Finally, our bags were taken, and we were given our boarding passes.

Now… time to get through security (with only a few minutes until the plane leaves).

Now, a year or so ago, the lovely bride and I went through the process of establishing ourselves as “known travelers”, through the global entry program. This allows us to scoot through TSA rather quickly, but of course West Jet in Boston isn’t hooked up with TSA and it is through regular security we were sent.

In Boston…with 6 minutes to catch our plane.

With the gate fortunately still being open, and rushing rather quickly, we made it!

Still, you just never know…and, I whispered to the lovely that I will feel comfortable once we are off the ground—and landing in Toronto, given a recent flight that got turned around and returned to the origination point, on a recent adventure.

After about an hour we were beginning out descent into Toronto, and all seemed right in the world. And, as we taxied, the lovely and JP were messaging back and forth. He was at the airport waiting for us, and in short order we were greeted by Joe.

We headed to the garage, and attempted to use the elevator to get to the fourth floor. There were some weary travelers already in one elevator car desperately punching buttons, the car was staying on the bottom level—with no signs of moving. We grabbed our bags, and headed for the stairway.

Finally, we made it to JP’s car, and were heading out of the airport and towards the house. Sharing our travel adventures and discussing our plans for the coming days the ride went fairly quickly, and soon enough we were pulling into the driveway of our temporary digs.

With our travel hiccups behind us, it was time for our Toronto holiday, and we were fortunate enough to be welcomed into Joe and Monika’s home and got enjoy their kind hospitality.

Conversations, fantastic wines, wonderful food, we were wined, dined, and entertained the entire time we were there.

And, of course, there were corkscrews!

A bunch

A myriad.

A plethora

A cavalcade

Okay, let’s just say there were lots of corkscrews.  Here are a few…

In between the wonderful meals prepared by Monika (which started with Chicken Paprikash, accompanied by a 1967 Chateau St. George)


there was indeed a bit of corkscrewing around, and conversations ranged the ICCA and the Bottle Scrue Times to recent acquisitions, to our plans to visit Ron and Marilyn in the coming days.

Once in the corkscrew room, we went through drawer after drawer, case after case, and I oohed and aahed over a few pieces, and grabbed a couple and placed them on the table…asking each time if these were available.

A few that I inquired about, of course, were not.

And, we still hadn’t gotten to the “good” stuff…

For three days those corkscrew that I had selected from the corkscrew room remained on the table, with JP saying he would get back to me on the deal.

On Monday, after a walk to the lake with the lovely, we headed off in the snow (apparently the largest snow in April in Toronto in three decades) to Ron and Marilyn’s house.

I have known Ron for years, and we have made many many trades, but this was the first time I had ever seen his collection. And, his too is a sight to behold.

There were indeed lots of corkscrews!

A bunch

A myriad.

A plethora

A cavalcade

And, I had my eye on one piece in particular. As it happened, it was the same piece that Joe has his collection of which I was desirous; the 1918 J.J. Lyons patent cork extractor.


Neither of the Lyons (Joe’s nor Ron’s) will be leaving their collections anytime soon. Still, it was really cool to see the piece that I have been eyeing in O’Leary all of these years in person. And, better still to handle it, and become familiar with what to look for should a similar piece turn up at Brimfield (or online).

Following the corkscrew viewing, there was a fabulous lunch prepared by Marilyn, and the conversation (and the wine) flowed.

No trades were made at RM’s place, but I did leave behind an interesting Clough advertising piece to add to his collection.   With his love of Clough, it really belongs with him.

The adventures, over the few days, continued with dinner at the Mississaugua (yes it is spelled differently) Country Club, a walking tour of Toronto with Monika, where we ended up having a fabulous lunch at Cluny in the distillery district, a lovely filet mignon prepared on the grill at the house accompanied by yet another vintage red, and of course we eventually got to the “good” stuff.

Seeing another collector’s collection is always fascinating, and in this particular case really educational, as JP has some really unusual pieces and given his background as an engineer he loves to examine, share, and explain the functionality of the pieces.

On the morning of our departure, the lovely headed downstairs to grab some coffee, and upon her return, told me that there were 5 corkscrews on the kitchen table with a post-it next to them. Knowing that Joe had an appointment that morning, and thinking there may be some negotiations needing to happen, I headed down myself.

And, there they were—the four plus one that I had set on the table in the corkscrew room. With prices already established my Joe; I tallied the numbers and readily agreed. It was very fair, and I was pleased with what would be heading back to Vinalhaven.

Of course, over the course of the last few days I had come to understand the pieces Joe valued most, that his love of mechanicals (and prong pullers) outweighed his affection for direct pulls, so why not go for one more.

I described a piece sitting in his display case, and he told me to go get it. I retrieved the little direct pull, and brought it back upstairs. The Joseph Smith patent, and one that was formerly in Bob Nugent’s collection, with Joe sharing is love of the piece, a deal was not going to happen.

Not to worry, it never hurts to ask.

Following his appointment, Joe returned and after goodbyes, thank yous, and see-you-soons, he whisked us off to the airport where fortunately, there were no additional taxis, busses, shuttles, or boats involved.


Thanks for the adventure Joe, Monika, Ron, and Marilyn!

What were the four corkscrews you ask?


  • A signed Murphy corkscrew with button and knife; this could make the best 6 of the year.
  • An unusual Patent Applied for Can opener with corkscrew marked, “FOUR IN HAND.”
  • A faintly marked can opener with corkscrew which looks to be the Cummings patent.
  • A Frary oblong handle with henshall button with grippers underneath—I think this might be a double for me, but want to compare the size of the piece when I got back home.
  • And, the fifth, a Williamson Flash—which Joe said was for Tommy.

This morning, I hopped on the first boat back to Vinalhaven in time to open the wine shop for the day.

As it happens, listing on the latest Collector Corkscrews auction opens tomorrow! Who knows what corkscrews will turn up.  And, then bidding starts on the 15th.

Bid high and Bid often, and should you have a corkscrew that you want to send my way, drop me a line.




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