Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Sunday Pipe -- 2 The Meerschaum

Meerschaum (the word mean seafoam) pipes have been made since the 1720's as a substitute for lower grade clay pipes. 
The material is a naturally occurring soft clay mineral called sepiolite which was sometimes found floating on the Black Sea. The clay is truned, carved, smoothed with glass paper, heated and then polished. It's the porous material that makes the pipe cool-smoking. It's also lightweight and pure white which makes these pipes rather beautiful and also makes it viable to carve huge ones! Some of the bigger Turkish pipes are really more like tourist souvenirs (in common with our Calumet of last week) 
But the true beauty of the Meerschaum is in its unique character -- the faces themselves and the fact that they take on years of patina with smoking and turn through yellow to dark amber with use. It's not a pipe that stays the same! It's a pipe with personality.

This one was bought 30 years ago in Uff's Tobacconist's in Canton Cardiff as a present for Noel's birthday. And he's ageing beautifully -- well -- they both are! :)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Sunday Pipe -- 1 Peace and Long Life

Okay so this is a special treat for anybody who likes pipes. I don't smoke a pipe (you do get lady's pipes but I gave up smoking years ago) but my grandfather always smoked a pipe. He started age 13 and continued into his nineties. I always wanted to marry a pipe-smoking man -- love the smell of good tobacco! Now my husband Noel has a very fine selection to view and I just adore them so I am going to show you some of the them -- to educate :)

The Calumet
Pipe smoking began long, long ago in the mid west with pipes smoked on the prairies to seal deals between tribes. Dear knows what was in those pipes! I'll bet it was herbal ;) 
And that is also where this pipe came from. It is a traditional hand-carved calumet from Pipestone National Park MN and that's where we bought it four years ago. So it's the oldest pipe in the world in one way but new. It has been smoked but it's mostly display cum souvenir. 
The walnut wall rack was made by friend of ours from an old clock base and I just love the way it looks like a walk through a quarry! The stem is wood with leather trim but the bowl is carved from the soft red stone of a sacred quarry where only hand tools are allowed. And here is the man who carved it. It's a dying art unfortunately.

One day (probably not long from now) nobody will smoke pipes any more. Oh I know smoking isn't good for you but I am not going to be politically correct here in this section of my blog. I am going to celebrate the noble art of pipe-smoking 
and long live Gandalf!