At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


It is good to be home. Much as I like the howling vulgarians and self-absorbed cretins of Marin, returning to civilization is a welcome restoration of sanity.

Despite my apartment mate talking about her boyfriend as "an incredibly hot Russian fellow".

Which is as bad as hearing a bar-owner I know verbally drooling over young Slavic studs.

I am not sure I understand women. I would have thought that a sensible and trim middle-aged Dutch-American with a likeable grin and a pipe would have been infinitely more appealing, but as in so many other things I show myself mistaken.

It's a very fine pipe. Several very fine pipes.
Good briar, well-cut.

Pipe-smokers, apparently, are not exciting. This epiphany came to me during the most recent meeting of the local pipe club. Two doctors (one of whom is retired), a vintner, an ex-sailor, several men with beards, and a number of people employed in the financial field.
Average age: late forties.

Calm discussions about tobacco, woodcarving, types of carbon rubber, Cardinal Woolsey (late archbishop of York), and Oliver Cromwell.

Plus Burmese leather jackets, very stylish.

Only one woman present, smoking a bowlful of Esoterica Penzance.

Which is currently unavailable from most sources.

A true hoarders' tobacco.

In all honesty, I don't really recall particularly much of their discussion, as I was somewhat abstracted all evening. Much as I appreciate my fellow pipe-smokers, I find endless detailing of minutiae somewhat trying. And some of them have mental associations with pipes and tobacco which are not my mental associations.


What we share is recollections that are prompted by fine wood grain, certain shapes, and the fragrances of distant times. Smell is a profound stimulant; people perform better at memory tasks when there are associated aromas, both cognitive function and the ability to absorb details are enhanced by scent.

If there were a pipe-tobacco that faintly yet precisely evoked jasmine tea, I should definitely purchase it, despite my distaste for aromatic blends. Summer evenings in the room next to the courtyard, where my brother and I spent many hours. He studying chess, with the games of masters as examples, I reading National Geographic Magazine, history and geography, Kipling, Nabokov, and old copies of Horizon.

Kwong Sang Tea Company
24 Belcher Street
Kennedy Town
Hong Kong

[廣生茶行有限公司,香港,堅尼地城,卑路乍街24號。 Current address: 香港西環卑路乍街38號天成工業大厦5/F。
Tea packers and exporters, 成立于1936.]


I recalled the name and the address because of the mental nose-prompt. The remembered aroma, plus what the cup and saucer looked like, and hence the open doors to the courtyard, a new tin of tobacco, a box of matches, and the smell of books and back issues of National Graphic.
Chess pieces make a sound as they are slid across the board.
Leaves rustle; a breeze in our apple tree.
Rain begins to fall.

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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