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, December 28, 2014


Regular readers could probably easily imagine me smoking pipes all-day long when I'm in Marin County tending to tobacco-related affairs. Lord knows, I've bored them enough with tedious descriptions of my self-indulgence.

Not so.

Today I only smoked two bowls. Both Virginias, both blondish. One aged very nicely, the other with the freshness of pink-faced youth.

Far too busy for anything else.

Hardly any tea, either.

Cleaned several Peterson pipes, an old Dunhill root, a few Italian jobbies, and a nearly foot-long Dunhill whangee billiard (natural). That last one just needed minor reaming, a bowl rub, and stem polish. Same for the Italian jobbies. All of these items were clearly loved. Possibly favourite briars.
The people who own those pipes have good habits, and lead clean abstemious lives. Exemplary individuals, sane and sober.

On the other hand, those Petersons and the old Dunhill root.....

Good frikkin lord! How do you get a deposit of icky tar all over a pipe?

I can understand a putrid interior -- some people are just careless sluts and will stick any old sewer outlet into their piehole -- but a sticky nasty exterior takes deliberate effort and perversion.

I have been a pipe smoker since I was fourteen. That's forty years of good clean fun. I cannot imagine what I would have to do to get the outside of a pipe tar-encrusted over eighty percent of the wood surface.
Sir, you are a filthy bastard. That's all I can say. Dealing with those things was just nasty. How could you stand to touch or hold the poor abused lumps of wood during the last century of your obscene dirtiness?


Gevalt. And gottenyu.

Well, in any case, your little briar friends are clean now. Both inside and out. Stems all nicely black again, shit removed from the bowl and the draft hole, dense tar layer scraped out of the passage between the tenon and the bowl, gunk damned well hosed out and off the carbon rubber mouthpieces.......

Don't worry, I made sure that all industrial grade solvents did not enter the bowl. Nor did I employ the hot-lava cannon to blast away the pollution.
Your carbon layer was not a sodden wreck, so that's cool.
You weren't smoking aromatics.
Boruch Hashem.

But I would be keen to find out what you were huffing.
I couldn't hazard a guess.

*      *      *      *      *

There are two women pipesmokers that I had not met before.

One of them is new to the habit, and came in for a tutorial. After explaining the what and wherefores, introducing her to a number of different blends and describing them, and answering her questions, she left with two pouches of tobacco. One of which is a near-replica of Dunhill 965. So it's medium on the Latakia, around forty two percent more or less, with a bit of Turkish, and the remainder a Virginia blending cavendish, a black Virginia to carry the Latakia, and some red ribbon.
A very nice mature smoke, which should lead to contemplation.
Something very close to a meditative mood.
Peace of mind.

The second one came in for advice on why her favourite briar seemed a bit problematic. So I cleaned it up, tightened the tenon, and buffed the stem. Some advice on packing and ideal moisture content of the combustibles, and I'm fairly certain she left a happy camper.

Add the gracious old lady who came in last week for some pipe cleaners, and after due contemplation acquired an elegant meerschaum for herself as a Christmas treat -- something to smoke at night when she's reading, and all is quiet around the cottage -- and that makes way more women with excellent habits than I knew existed a month ago.

December has been very good in that regard.

The new year should be splendid.


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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 8:37 PM, Anonymous At the Hill of the Back said…

    What do you think is a pipe and a tobacco that most resembles the experience of cigarette smoking, and my be good introduction for an avid cigarette smoker like me?

    Also, what's a typical smoking schedule like for you? How many cigarillos in addition to the pipes?

  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    For each bowlful per day you will need to have two others that are resting (for at least a day or two) after having been used. So for the hardcore nicotine addict -- assuming six to eight bowls per day -- between fifteen and twenty five pipes in your collection. Or a dozen corncobs, which can be smoked more often than briars, with less time to rest.

    Tobacco most like the cigarette experience? Probably Half & Half or Sir Walter Raleigh. Likely also Granger.

    For me, three or four bowls a day, five or six cigarillos.

    For you, based on what you've previously mentioned, four to six or seven times as much. Possibly more.

    But I would be heshytant to recommend that; it seems a bit much.


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