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.

Monday, September 15, 2014


One of the first steps is fixing a nice cup of tea. Then dump the stems into bleach. Ream and scrape the bowls, add alcohol to soften the hard muck, fiddle and repeat. More tea. Rims. Pick and twiddle. There's tar encrusted in the sandblasted grain around the top. Use dabbed alcohol and jeweler's screwdrivers to pick it out, much like a dental hygienist, albeit with considerably less foul language. Fix some more tea. Files, prongs, and a twiddly thing to get the tar and noxious build-up out of the shank. Again, the image of a dental hygienist, but this time one with lots of liquor and a sadistic streak. Jab, jab, jab. Swill with hot tea, because the mouth now feels dry; the effect of prolonged concentration.
At least and at last the insides are clean.

By the time I got through, the stems had sat in bleach for two hours, and all the oxidation had lifted off.


That sentence is in my notes. I have no idea what it means, and I must assume that it was an unintentional lapsus calami. Either that, or it's a negative judgement of the previous owner of the briar pipes I was working on. Some smokers leave their favourite pieces as filthy as a Roman sewer, and I suspect that they may not actually be able to tell the difference.
Back in the stone age of pipe smoking (a generation ago), the common wisdom was that you gave your pipe a completely personal character by smoking it regularly and often, developing a carbon layer that reflected your taste, and letting it age "gracefully", acquiring patina, colour, depth, and the occasional ding and nick as a record of your life and your unique habitus.
The corollary to that set of beliefs was that many people used only a few pipes, seldom cleaned the beasts, oversmoked them till they reeked and felt clammy and wet, and ended up with pieces of wood to which the term 'fugued-up to a fare-thee-well' applied.

There's one customer who drops off three or four pipes every six months to be reamed, cleaned, and restored. He only has eight pipes in all, and every time I see them I can smell them from ten feet away before even opening the drawer. The phrase "skanky pervert" comes to mind.
I know when he's been in; it's that evil miasma.
The howling gothic pit of tortured wood.
Nightmares, trauma, and agony.
Embedded suffering.

Can a piece of briar feel angst? I would like to think so. When you die, you will meet the shades of all the pipes you have ever ruined. They will drench you with the nicotiniac ooze and tarry slime that you never freed them from, every noxious aromatic gag-inducing dung mixture you ever rammed into them will be forced down your throat for all eternity.


There are six pipes that I'm working on now, even though it's a day off and I'm at home. They're in the oven at one hundred and eighty degrees, baking for several hours. This tightens up the wood, which is necessary after all that I've done to them. These are pieces that everyone else thought unredeemable, but like many such, they've become a personal Mount Everest. Yes, the nomenclature will be barely visible at best, but in their cases it was not an illustrious family tree anyhow.
The point is that they will smoke very well once I'm done.

The stems are in a little saucer to my left.
Goldang they look nasty.

Honestly, I cannot believe that someone put those things in his mouth. Necrotic and repellent, they bear the encrustations of several decades of idiot drool and slobber, and that particular shade of puss-green in all its impossible variation suggests kanker, fester, devolution, and moral filth.

These will require two hours in bleach.

Rinse, scrape out the air passages.

Then buff like a maniac.


Always let your pipes rest after smoking them. Do not abuse them with tobacco that reeks of Hello Kitty perfume or Vegas hookers, use pipe cleaners often, and don't drop or bang. Own enough pipes that you see different ones each day. If you do buy a prize piece for several hundred dollars, for craps' sake don't wreck it.

The way some men abuse their pipes makes you wonder how they treat their family. The traumatized wife probably dreams fondly of shooting him while he's whimpering on the kitchen floor after she whacked him with the toaster -- repeatedly, on the back of his head -- and his teenage daughters are going to run off with the very first preacher that winks at them from the pulpit. If he trips in the yard, the chained doberman will feast upon him while he still breathes.

The son-of-a-bitch probably raises goldfish for frat-boy contests.
Unheard-of diseases thrive in his loins.
Depravity and turpitude.

I bet cats hate him

The putrid sod.

On a brighter note, I smoked several bowls of Rattray's Hal O'The Wynd yesterday, in between the many cups of tea. Bought the tin over three years ago, finally opened it on Saturday. Nice.
I  had so much caffeine that I was spinning.
Didn't eat until after four o'clock.
Far too much fun.

Fruits. Peaches, plums, and even nectarines.
There's a high natural sugar content.
Red Virginias, touch of other.
Fragrant. Heavenly.

Ionones, damascones and damascenones.


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just think of it - in this post you are the proctologist of the pipe world. Happy reaming, you.



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