UK Pipe Smokers....or Lack Thereof

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Franco Pipenbeans

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 7, 2021
595
1,470
Yorkshire, England
I'm kind of shy to smoke in public. Seems like someone always comes up to me to comment on it, in a good way though.
Like Cosmic said - we have some pipe and cigar shops here, especially in the touristy mountain towns up the road. People are obviously buying up the cigars and tobacco, but you never see people smoking.
I really wish there was a pipe or cigar club for my part of the state. I've seen a few folks on different forums discussing it. I reckon people just enjoy smoking from the comfort of their own home. I get it
Start your own? It might be a bit lonely for the first few meets but then people will show up.

“If you build it, they will come!”
 

vosBghos

Part of the Furniture Now
May 7, 2022
755
1,623
Idaho
In my part of Alabama, it is obvious that someone is buying lots of pipe tobaccos at convenience stores, grocers, drug stores, and the many smaller pipe and tobacco places around about. But, you only ever see a dozen or so of us smoking in town. Same with cigars. Damn cigar shops are more plentiful than Dollar Generals, but you don't see people smoking sticks that often. Some people are just shy, and they smoke inside their homes, watching their Netflix full of series with pipesmokers on them.
But, I do see pipes being smoked while setting in traffic, and some while out walking. If I take in what I read on here, the South must just have way more pipesmokers than in y'all's areas.

I am fondly acknowledged with my pipe, sometimes with mothers bringing their kids up to me to tell them that their grandfather or grandmother used to smoke pipes. I have only had people give me the fake "cough cough" while smoking my pipes further North. But... of course we still have diners and restaurants with smoking areas.

Move South. Sure sure, we have our problems down here... but smoking ain't one of 'em. puffy
I Love the fake “cough cough“ especially while waiting to walk across a busy street with diesel trucks going to and fro from the granite pits. One time I was clenching my loaded pipe walking over to my stoop to smoke and a pearl clutching lady began her act. “ I haven’t even lit it yet” ,flick flick flick,puff puff, “ ok carry on ,this time with feeling” sour glares …
 

Searock Fan

Lifer
Oct 22, 2021
1,175
3,175
U.S.A.
The first time I was in the UK was the late 70s. While in London I want into about a half dozen pipe and tobacco stores and because I was a Castello smoker I asked if they had any. In each case my request was met with a look like "you must be crazy". They all said they never heard of them. I found this hard to believe and somewhat insulting. In the several times I been back I've never gone into a pipe shop. puffy
 

simong

Lifer
Oct 13, 2015
1,731
10,792
UK
The first time I was in the UK was the late 70s. While in London I want into about a half dozen pipe and tobacco stores and because I was a Castello smoker I asked if they had any. In each case my request was met with a look like "you must be crazy". They all said they never heard of them. I found this hard to believe and somewhat insulting. In the several times I been back I've never gone into a pipe shop. puffy
image.gif
 
Jul 28, 2016
6,909
27,159
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
The first time I was in the UK was the late 70s. While in London I want into about a half dozen pipe and tobacco stores and because I was a Castello smoker I asked if they had any. In each case my request was met with a look like "you must be crazy". They all said they never heard of them. I found this hard to believe and somewhat insulting. In the several times I been back I've never gone into a pipe shop. puffy
Back then Brits hardly bought anything imported goods, even coffees consumed was mostly instant ones
 
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Searock Fan

Lifer
Oct 22, 2021
1,175
3,175
U.S.A.
Some straight talk.

It seems that a couple of you think I'm "whining" about my experience in the UK. Not at all. Actually, I think those snobbish clerks in the pipe shops did me a favor because it made we wait until I was in Italy to buy some pipes. I'm sure I got a much better deal there than I would ever have gotten in London.

Over the years I've tried every high end pipe brand made in the UK. They're ok, but I don't think they compare to the high end Italians. It's ironic that "English" blends smoke better in Italian pipes than they do in English pipes. And why is it that the expensive English pipes want to use rubber stems when lucite is favored by most high end smokers? I'll tell you. It's because the unofficial motto of the British Empire is "We do it this way because we've always done it this way.".

Maybe some of you think my views are based on racism. Again, not at all. Unlike many pipe smokers I've met, I don's choose my pipes based of my love of the "old country" (like some Peterson smokers do). My choices are made solely on the quality of the pipe. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not of Italian decent. My great, great grandfather came to America from Cornwall. Thank you Gramps!
 

Jack the ripper

Might Stick Around
May 19, 2020
81
94
52
Shelbyville, Indiana
Some straight talk.

It seems that a couple of you think I'm "whining" about my experience in the UK. Not at all. Actually, I think those snobbish clerks in the pipe shops did me a favor because it made we wait until I was in Italy to buy some pipes. I'm sure I got a much better deal there than I would ever have gotten in London.

Over the years I've tried every high end pipe brand made in the UK. They're ok, but I don't think they compare to the high end Italians. It's ironic that "English" blends smoke better in Italian pipes than they do in English pipes. And why is it that the expensive English pipes want to use rubber stems when lucite is favored by most high end smokers? I'll tell you. It's because the unofficial motto of the British Empire is "We do it this way because we've always done it this way.".

Maybe some of you think my views are based on racism. Again, not at all. Unlike many pipe smokers I've met, I don's choose my pipes based of my love of the "old country" (like some Peterson smokers do). My choices are made solely on the quality of the pipe. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not of Italian decent. My great, great grandfather came to America from Cornwall. Thank you Gramps!
How many races are there in Europe?
 
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Nicolasylvain

Might Stick Around
Jun 18, 2022
66
91
France
Some straight talk.

It seems that a couple of you think I'm "whining" about my experience in the UK. Not at all. Actually, I think those snobbish clerks in the pipe shops did me a favor because it made we wait until I was in Italy to buy some pipes. I'm sure I got a much better deal there than I would ever have gotten in London.

Over the years I've tried every high end pipe brand made in the UK. They're ok, but I don't think they compare to the high end Italians. It's ironic that "English" blends smoke better in Italian pipes than they do in English pipes. And why is it that the expensive English pipes want to use rubber stems when lucite is favored by most high end smokers? I'll tell you. It's because the unofficial motto of the British Empire is "We do it this way because we've always done it this way.".

Maybe some of you think my views are based on racism. Again, not at all. Unlike many pipe smokers I've met, I don's choose my pipes based of my love of the "old country" (like some Peterson smokers do). My choices are made solely on the quality of the pipe. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not of Italian decent. My great, great grandfather came to America from Cornwall. Thank you Gramps!

I'm with ya pal

English pipes are like the trains there- you pay through the nose and dont expect any fireworks!
 

simong

Lifer
Oct 13, 2015
1,731
10,792
UK
Some straight talk.

It seems that a couple of you think I'm "whining" about my experience in the UK. Not at all. Actually, I think those snobbish clerks in the pipe shops did me a favor because it made we wait until I was in Italy to buy some pipes. I'm sure I got a much better deal there than I would ever have gotten in London.

Over the years I've tried every high end pipe brand made in the UK. They're ok, but I don't think they compare to the high end Italians. It's ironic that "English" blends smoke better in Italian pipes than they do in English pipes. And why is it that the expensive English pipes want to use rubber stems when lucite is favored by most high end smokers? I'll tell you. It's because the unofficial motto of the British Empire is "We do it this way because we've always done it this way.".

Maybe some of you think my views are based on racism. Again, not at all. Unlike many pipe smokers I've met, I don's choose my pipes based of my love of the "old country" (like some Peterson smokers do). My choices are made solely on the quality of the pipe. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not of Italian decent. My great, great grandfather came to America from Cornwall. Thank you Gramps!
image.gif
 

crossroads

Lurker
Jan 6, 2018
22
59
South of England
According to Mitchell of Cgars in the UK, pipe smoking took off during the pandemic and they had some problems keeping up with demand.
I think people are smoking at home, I don’t smoke indoors I smoke in my garden, so when the weather is bad I don’t smoke at all.
 

crossroads

Lurker
Jan 6, 2018
22
59
South of England
Some straight talk.

It seems that a couple of you think I'm "whining" about my experience in the UK. Not at all. Actually, I think those snobbish clerks in the pipe shops did me a favor because it made we wait until I was in Italy to buy some pipes. I'm sure I got a much better deal there than I would ever have gotten in London.

Over the years I've tried every high end pipe brand made in the UK. They're ok, but I don't think they compare to the high end Italians. It's ironic that "English" blends smoke better in Italian pipes than they do in English pipes. And why is it that the expensive English pipes want to use rubber stems when lucite is favored by most high end smokers? I'll tell you. It's because the unofficial motto of the British Empire is "We do it this way because we've always done it this way.".

Maybe some of you think my views are based on racism. Again, not at all. Unlike many pipe smokers I've met, I don's choose my pipes based of my love of the "old country" (like some Peterson smokers do). My choices are made solely on the quality of the pipe. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not of Italian decent. My great, great grandfather came to America from Cornwall. Thank you Gramps!
Searock Fan,
You’ve convinced me ! I like a large bent pipe, what would you recommend from high end Italian pipes, I intend to try one.
 

mateusbrown

Lurker
Apr 24, 2022
39
122
Georgia, USA
My Grandad got me into this pipe smoking malarkey and back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s there were loads of old boys, strutting their pipe smoking stuff, up and down the highways and by-ways of Merry Old England.

The air back then was concoction, thick and ripe with the heady scent of cherry aromatics, Clan, Condor and diesel fumes; as I recall it, from the vantage point of my pram, two feet from the pavement, always looking upwards.

Nothing can pollute the air quite like a double decker bus from the 1980’s, aimed directly at a toddler’s face, as he rides his pram and who was always looking upwards.

By ‘98 I was legally allowed into the pubs and taverns of Merry Old England and, as I recall, in one hostelry in particular, local to this observer, the gentlemen in the “Old Phart’s Corner” would be playing crib or dominoes, reading a paper or eagerly looking through seed catalogues, in the hope of finding that one onion varietal that would win the parish vegetable growers prize that summer and all of them, to a man, smoked pipes.

Falcons were the workhorse of the day, the pub pipe of choice: virtually indestructible they are; you can drop them, put them in your pocket and stand up without any fear of the stem snapping or the bowl cracking, leaving a man in a pipe less state of being - a terrible spot to find yourself in.

There were always 4-8 “t’owd” lads, gathered round the dark brown table; the (from modern eyes) over sized tv perched on a shelf above them was only allowed to be turned on for the 6 Nations, the World Cup or war and woe betide anyone (especially anyone as lowly as the pub landlord) who wanted to put it on for any other reason - these old lads turned into a cabal of hissing cobras if anyone even thought about turning it on - “What’s next? You’ll be serving food and then this place won’t be a pub, it’ll be a bloody restaurant!”.

And so the remote control sat, motionless, alongside an empty tv, above the aged Praetorian Guard that sat below, looking at “something for Barbara for her birthday”.

Needless to say, their wives were only names, they were never seen. If you asked where they were you usually got a “No, May will be at the W.I tonight, they’re having a lecture on the intricacies of the the Irish linen trade of the 1880’s - gripping stuff I’m sure.”

During their heated arguments about where best to fish for barbel or if Randy Lad really would win the 4.13 at Kempton they used their pipes like batons; swirling them through the air like a conductor using his baton to control the raging orchestra in front of him, swirling and twirling, conducting the conversation, allowing one or other to talk depending on their conversational pedigree and previous form.

Then begins the prodding and the poking of the pipe stem at the piece of literature causing most offence on that particular day.

“The man must be mad!” Deploys a tactical stem poke at the paper.

“Who’s mad Gerry?”

“That bloody (………….. - insert name of offending individual), we’ll be in the knackers yard by Christmas!” Before the page is turned in disgust; the article best forgotten, move on, next piece nonsense?

To a man, they all seemed to wear thicken woolen cardigans, with brown leather buttons that looked like hot cross buns. The bench creaking and groaning as they leaned back to fish a tamper, a box of matches or an Extra Strong Mint from the cardigan pocket. Ease of access on those cardigans but, word of warning - don’t bend down to get something, otherwise everything falls out of those bloody pockets; it’s a design flaw y’know, might have to get the wife to see them up a bit to reduce the opening.

They had a rule: no one takes the third light off the match; even though none of them had come up against any German snipers in the first war, most of them had come up against the German sniper in the second war and “he was a bugger; he’d never stay still long enough for us to pop him off…and then before you know it, the bugger had popped up somewhere else, taking pot shots from a belfry.” All the while, blue smoke was curling up to the ceiling.

One old lad, Raymond by name, used to tell me that he had a German sniper throughout the war and he was called Helmut. In France it was Helmut taking pot shots as he ran up the beach, and then, on into Germany, Helmut went along too, still taking pot shots at them from behind hedges and barns; Ray used to say that it made it seem more friendly, if you knew the chap who was shooting at you.

The old boys lit up in rotation, almost like dehydrated synchronised swimmers: firstly there was some fiddling with the pipe, scraping it out, with a match usually, knocking it on the rim of the ashtray, without once removing their gaze from the newspaper or the game at hand.

Maybe there would be a rub of a furrowed brow as the empty pipe was placed between dentures and gently blown down, to check the draw was open. A shake of the head, a turn of the page or the placement of a card on the table.

The pouch would be disturbed from its slumber, an occasional tut as the remains of the pouch were picked over. The pipe was loaded, the pouch returned to its natural state of sleep. A match was struck and introduced to it’s victim. Blue smoke rose to the rafters.

Whilst all this was going on, the next chap would be at the scraping his bowl stage and the chap next to him would be at the knocking out stage and, before long, all would be smoking like a little circle of chimneys.

Those lads have all gone now, it’s left to others to moan about the price of beer, “that bloody idiot” and the fact that you can smell the khazis now that they’ve banned smoking in the pub and I think that’s possibly why you never see us in the wild these days - the smoking ban?

It was, at one point, a God given right, that all men on the British Isles were allowed to sup a pint and smoke a pipe at their own pace, in the company of comradesin a houseopen to the public. Ideally next to a roaring log fire on dark winters evenings, whilst putting the world to rights and discussing the merits of marrow fat peas as an accompaniment to meat ‘n tater pie.

Pipes aren’t quick, they are slow, they plod along, they need time and no one has got anytime anymore so we carve out little moments of calm for ourselves, in solitude: in our sheds, our garages, our green houses but rarely in the company of comrades as we no longer set the world to rights.

It’s sad really.

Anyway, that’s my take on it on a Saturday morning.

happy pipes. ✌?
This piece of writing is the premise to a wonderful short story!