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Fiendishly clever isn’t it? A corkscrew that resembles a robot rabbit, comes in its own hutch, with additional accessories, and is yours free when you buy two cases of unspecified plonk. My father fell for this little introductory incentive, and was so thrilled with his new toy that he almost forgot how dreadful the wines were which accompanied it.

He gleefully demonstrated it at every opportunity, residents of the village – with nothing better to do – sat transfixed as he displayed his adroitness with first the foil cutter, then the bottle stand (my mother had to step in here), and finally, gripping the rabbit’s ears with one arthritic hand and the lever with the other, he executed the coup de grace – expelling the cork in one swift, brutal, and remarkably silent flourish.

Confronting his meagre audience, with a triumphant expression on his perspiring face, he breathlessly announced “Who wants a try” to which four adult males immediately responded. I don’t know if all four subscribed to the wine club’s offer – I suspect that they did – what I do know is that the robot rabbit lasted a week.

Rummaging through a kitchen drawer on a recent visit home – in a fruitless search for barbecue skewers – I came upon the remains of the rabbit’s shrine. The foil cutter lay neglected, its little wheels corroded and useless. The stainless steel stopper with double rubber rings lay nearby, next to a random selection of tarnished silver fish knives. The rabbit’s final resting place remains a mystery? My father has a new corkscrew now, a good old-fashioned waiter’s friend.