Monday, August 31, 2020


Left the house shortly after seven o'clock with a pipe and a stick. The verb use by some people for walking around aimlessly while smoking is "lunting", derived from a sixteenth century Netherlandish word for the smoldering taper ("lont") used for relighting one's clay, should it have gone out while ditheranting on the bolwerk (boulevard) where one is thus engaged. From this we can shper that sixteenth century gentlemen were also forced out into the grim and gloomy cold of a San Francisco morning, to walk the blasted heath of Nob Hill while the morning fog still lingers and the chill pierces.

Which may account for the violence endemic in Golden Age society.

Fortunately, I do not smoke clays. Did so experimentally for a while long ago, but they do not yield a satisfactory experience compared to briars. Terry has mentioned three woods that were used for pipe manufacture during the war years when imported briar was scarce, specifically Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, and "Mission Briar", that last being Manzanita from California. Additionally, olive wood, cherry, pear, strawberry wood, and walnut have been used, as well as boxwood occasionally.

Of these, I have only experienced cherry wood (extensively) and olive.
That last yields a buttery smoke of some depth, but with the narrowing of the taste spectrum one should expect from everything except briar burl, including corncobs (which perform marvelously with Burley blends.

There are over a dozen corncobs on a tray in front of the teevee, and several cherries near the bookcase to my left. Every young man going to college should have a cherry wood pipe in addition to his Peterson System Standard, a straight billiard, and an old blast. Plus a tweed sportscoat (seersucker in summer) and a blackthorn walking stick.
Also, a large capacity tea-pot.

I rarely smoke the cherry or corncob pipes. They're fun for lurking about down near Sue Bierman Park in the Embarcadero area, listening to the wild parrots in late afternoon.

This year I will probably not wander down there much, because of the limitations imposed by the pandemic, which has halted habits a bit.

Haven't worn my tweedish coat in a while either.

Planning to spend part of the day restoring an old Berkeley pipe from several decades ago which recently came into my possession. Nice old wood of a hard appearance, in decent shape despite the grime of ages. From Drucquer & Son, dating back to the Shattuck Avenue store.

Nah, didn't wear a tweedy item this morning. Could have, but I decided "screw it all, I'm not changing", and went out in my pajamas and grungy grey flannel bathrobe instead. Which, given the temperature, was not the right decision. Fortunately I had a walking stick and a bloody-minded attitude to keep me warm.

Need to fire up the tea pot; it's still cold.
Some heat and comfort are required.

The towers at the top of the hill are still hidden.
Shrouded in the mist.


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