As a fellow Brit, I can confirm that pipe smokers are rarer than rocking horse shit; though I was talking to an old fella smoking an old Falcon full of a home made cherry blend fairly recently so we aren’t completely extinct.
when I think back on how my old Grandad and other pipe smokers used to smoke their pipes in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s I can only put it down changes in the smoking landscape. There was a time when people could walk into a butchers with a pipe in and no one would bat an eyelid - I’ve got a vague recollection of being take to the Doctors as a nipper and he was smoking a pipe in his surgery but he could well have been the exception, not the rule, in a quite village surgery?
I find it difficult to find the time to smoke in a similar way - what I mean to say is, my Grandad used to have a “round” of old fellas hair that he would cut every other week so, on pension day (Thursday) we would walk up and down the village, going into people’s houses to cut hair. As far as I remember there was only one house where my grandad didn’t smoke anything and that was Mester Crofts house; he was a carpenter and had wood shavings everywhere so not sure if that was the reason they didn’t smoke?
I do have quite clear memories that just about everyone smoked something back then?
I know, when I go to the pub, the pipe rarely comes on the outing. England is by no means as cold as Alaska or the Yukon in the winter but it’s cold enough to stop you sitting outside the back of a pub and puffing on a pipe for half an hour. I would definitely take it out if we could still smoke inside; that being said, when looking back on smoking in pubs, it was crazy - many’s the time you opened the tap room door and couldn’t see more than 3ft into the low hanging cloud of smoke.
I recall a friends dad would get through a 25g pouch of Mellow Virginia each day, constantly lighting it, having a couple of puffs at it, letting it go out, then relighting it, couple of puffs and let it die out before repeating - he staunchly refused to not smoke in the paper shop when he went in to buy his daily pouch - the pipe was in his mouth, lit or unlit, from the moment he woke up until the moment he went to bed and then he left it on the night stand ready to be picked up the next morning.
With the opportunities to smoke publicly being ever more limited, I guess most of us left keep it for the house, shed or garden?