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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


During my working days I am different. Social, but within a very narrow context. This is a question of talent, but not inclination, as while I like people to a certain extent, I often rather wish they would go away. There are far too many of them, this world would be a much better place if there were more forests, covering ninety percent plus of the urban area instead of ranch homes. Tall ancient trees, piles of leaves, dense undergrowth, and half-light in shafts coming through the canopy. Fog, crunchy leaves, mossy patches, the tannic smells of autumn, distance-come whisps of wood smoke.
Alert and pre-occupied weasels, crows, and badgers.
Not throngs of them, but a few.

Perhaps a general store and a teashop at the end of a shaded path.
And a tobacconist, where one might buy the weekly supply.
Catering primarily to pipe-smokers, of course.

[Yes, Balkan Sobranie in the white tin is no more, along with Sullivan & Powell, and many other comforting products, but Rattrays, and Astleys, and Fribourg & Treyer, still exist, now through Kohlhase & Kopp, who took over the entire McConnell portfolio and produce all of those plus McConnell's own name brand products, and there are several other tobacco mixtures still available whose reek is gilded by fond memory.]

Mr. Badger is not particularly upset that all of the Oliva Melanio Series 'V' Figurados are gone, or that there will be no more of them. Shan't even ask why they won't be carried in the future. It's still a damned fine cigar, but Mr. Badger is primarily a pipe smoker, and has seen enough misbehaviour and severe judgmental lapses from the cigar crowd that he cannot possibly feel their butt-hurt. Sorry, no sympathy whatsoever.
Rabid stogy freaks.

As I see it, the cigar smokers exist primarily for my entertainment, which they only sometimes provide. Throughout the day I happily putter around, sometimes spending several hours cleaning up pipes, talking to fellow pipe smokers about minutiae such as for instance that Penzance, while indeed a rather splendid product, is like all mottled Oriental flakes rather too mild and consequently somewhat uninteresting (though Russ Oullette's version of Bengal Slices is an exception, being marvelously pongy), or that Germain and Son almost always go for high moisture content and a stringy cut.

This excites them, I don't quite know why.

Their snouts quiver happily.

You should also know that putting a very subtle bevel on the inside rim regularizes a bowl-mouth that because of reaming over the years became slightly off-round.

That last item relates to a pipe which a friend gave me on Sunday. It has that look from a calmer and gentler age, recalling the dancing dust motes, sunlight, nineteen fifties office environments, black and white photos, the pre and postwar years, trench coats and propeller planes. As well as the nineteen sixties, before colours became garish, and tastes pedestrian.

No, I did not experience that myself. My parents did. And it probably wasn't that way for them. By the time I started paying attention to such things, avocado green and tie-dye had become fashionable.
I had silver grey corduroys at one point.
And wore loud plaid shirts.
I regret that.

It is a rather lovely pipe, especially now that I've worked on it. Perfectly suited to a badger or other medium-sized forest creature. One can imagine furry whiskers and bright eyes behind it. An air of calmness to the snouted mien, and a very large broad cup of strong tea with milk nearby, as well as a big polished glass ashtray.

[Peterson nickel military mount straight billiard, shape 53 (like a modern era '31'). Stamped "K & P", and "Irish made". It is by my estimate a few decades old. Très elegant.]

You should smoke Germain's Eighteen Twenty. A medium-full English, very well balanced, with Latakia, Turkish, and flue-cured leaf in perfect harmony. I do not have enough stockpiled, and the famous Germains bottleneck precludes any rapid expansion of my supply.

[If you like both Dunhill Standard Mixture and Solomon's Presbyterian, you will appreciate Eighteen Twenty. It is civilized, solid, and reliable.]

It's one of those products from long ago. Before the tattooed video game players and strange basement-dwelling Vikings took up pipe smoking and started demanding strong Kentucky, Perique up to twenty percent, or so much Latakia you could smell the burning oil fields of Kuwait.
Or, saints forefend, a black cherry overload cavendish.

Put the pipe and the tobacco together, and you can just sit back and gloat. Bah, young fellow, you are rather infantile, and that Harley does not make you any better. We both smoke pipes, jolly good for you, but I'd rather you drank your pumpkin spice soy latte elsewhere.

Fortunately I don't have to worry about the wanna-be juvenile delinquent millennials this afternoon when I leave the house. They seldom visit Chinatown for milk-tea and snackies.


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


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