than I, or you, may have expected.
Take yesterday for example – I had planned to not only watch the episode of ‘Angel’ I slept through with the wife the night before but also that I would, at last, be able to do a post on my old blog… Unfortunately, as these things went neither of these two activities I managed within the day’s journeying (with the result that the wife had to sit through the relevant episode with me last night [well, you wouldn’t want to miss an episode when you’re watching the entire season, would you?].)
And I am now managing to write this – the day after and ‘why?’ I will imagine you have asked [As that would make it easier for the both of us…]
Well yesterday I was painting, just painting – we had a dining room wall and the last wall of my study (wherein I am now sitting) to paint, or rather finish painting a deep shade of rich red… I may go into the colour scheme later or if I’m clamoured for a description… and besides the painstaking care of which I was taking I was smoking the pipe I favour whilst working and this set me along a line of thought – To wit:
It is a bulldog shaped pipe which, to be honest wasn’t greatly cared for by it’s previous owner – my uncle, it’s quite light however and with the shape and not having to worry if it gets any more nicks or stains I can smoke it whilst working without worrying about/for it. But as I smoked and painted I thought along a strange and interesting line. Does my pipe now connect me to my uncle’s family by extension?
It was given to me by my aunt upon her husband’s demise – this may seem grisly – she gave me two of his pipes which were given to him by either herself or his children, one was just so filled with carbon that I decided it was beyond the amount of trouble to clean up and put back into normal service, that left me with one pipe to clean up and a small china pipe stand which comes in very handy. I have also been passed the pipes of another pipesmoker who I now have a link to by my wife and her family…
I remember an episode in ‘The Sword of Honour Trilogy’ by Evelyn Waugh (a fellow pipesoker, I believe) when the hero Guy Crouchback has to deal with his father’s possessions after his death and one of the characters asks for his father’s tobacco jar – as it reminded her of his smell – and with my two bequeathments I wonder what it is about pipesmokers that their pipes are passed onwards to a fellow pipesmoker…
And as I feel that, as a pipesmoker, it is my duty, sad though it may be, to accept with as much graciousness as possible those items that defined another fellow – is it a lack of thought of ‘How do I deal with these?’ and as another heaves into view an opportunity for ‘unloading’ these items, so previously precious to their owners but no longer wanted around the place… Or, as in the case of my uncle – are they passed along as their owners wouldn’t want their ‘chimneys’ [as they’re sometimes called] to go to waste? And that those who have been left behind wish for the possessions of their dearest to be looked after by one who would now the ‘how’ of that?
I suppose it might be the same for a model rail enthusiast – their collections may go to a fellow enthusiast… but they are not as personal – there are no teeth marks as on a pipe’s stem, they are not as closely handled, not, in short I think, as intimate as a pipe is to its smoker…
So, I smoke my uncle’s pipe when I’m at work and sometimes at play and I think that through that I accept responsibility for its care from his family – is there not something deep about this that through this pipesmokers accept their duty to each other, is there not something strange about how we accept these tokens of others that says something of who we are and strangely – our wider relationships?
I don’t think that this is unique to pipes and their smokers – I just felt like raising these issues and thinking about how they draw us in to others – pipesmokers and their families in a way that is strange and at the end of the actual pipesmoker. Periahs we may be, as smokers, but at least we know how to look after each other and at the end of this I am compelled to ask –
Are there any fellow pipesmokers in Kidderminster who’d like to try to make up a ‘pipe club’?