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Learning the twist....tobacco not the dance!

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Old Ted, Apr 24, 2011.

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  1. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    Back at Easter time -1959, this 'old fart' was a 'young fart' in the early days of a long (by todays training times) engineering apprenticeship that lasted from the age of sixteen, to twenty one - when one became a 'skilled tradesman', who - if having proved worthy, would be retained on full remuneration. In the 'works' in those days were quite a few pipesmokers, mainly Condor and St.Bruno men, although such long- gone names as - 'Redbreast', 'Digger' and 'Four-Square' were often seen. Most of the young men rolled their own cigarettes from the likes of - 'Old Holborn', 'St.Julien', 'Golden Virginia' etc. dispensed from a 'Baccy-Flap' - a small, bakelite two-saucer like holder that kept an ounce or two fresh for quite a while, and now commands a high price on the auction sites, in those days they cost five shillings (25p) if memory serves!.
    I had a fascination for pipes from school days through regular visits to Grandpa - an Erinmore Flake man until his late eighties, and now as a wage earner I was the proud owner of a 'Bewlays' reject straight billiard, that if not for a couple of small pits would have sold as a first-grade pipe by one of the 'name' makers. Lunch hour would see me going for a walk along the busy shopping thoroughfare close to the fish docks that were one of the main employers here, and visiting a small newsagent and tobacconist who had quite an extensive stock of loose (bulk) jarred, and pre-packed blends. I was mainly a 'Gold Block' smoker (it was a distinctly different, and far better product in those days!) but was drawn to some little square, silver paper covered blocks on the shelf, alongside some similarly wrapped thin 'sticks'. The old gent behind the counter explained - it was Condor plug and twist, that he kept mainly for the gypsies (now refered to as 'travellers'!) who regularly camped on nearby land laid waste by Luftwaffe bombs during the war. Inevitably I had to buy one of these rock hard chunks, and back in the workshop placed it on the bench - as old Bert, the chargehand fitter whose wing I was under was filling his old Barling with Condor Flake. "I see you've bought some decent baccy for a change, lad!" he said wryly, "do you know what to do with it?" - as he took out a razor-sharp pocket knife.
    Well to save from further boredom - I'll finish by saying that old Bert - a first class engineer who taught me some long-gone practices such as the hand 'scraping' and finishing of white metal bearings and cast iron componants, also taught me the right way to prepare a first-class smoke.....and fifty two years later - I'm still doing it!
    Happy Easter, OT
     
    telltime likes this.
  2. Jay

    Jay Active Member

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    So tell us Old Ted, how do you prep your flakes?
     
  3. t-bear

    t-bear Well-Known Member

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    And the same to ye, sor! Thank ye for the foin yarn. :)
     
  4. telltime

    telltime Active Member

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    I am a bit younger... only 44, but the story makes me think - Times have really changed and not always for the better!

    Growing up, I hated the smell of cigarettes, but loved the smell of my grandfather's pipe. I often thought I'd be willing to sacrifice the smell of a pipe if I never thought I'd smell cigarettes again. But in all honesty, I kind of get nostalgic today when I catch a whiff of a cigarette. Still don't care for the smell, but it's a weird absence considering just how many people smoked back in the 70s and 80s... and they were free to smoke everywhere!

    Now that it's gone, a few places (like a bar) just don't seem the same. Sometimes you expect that "grittiness." And tobacco shops that were once common as newsstands have disappeared as well.

    And the craftsmanship of the past... I really miss it. Not just because of the cheap junk coming out of China or India these days, but even if there is something decent, it's not unique anymore.
     
  5. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    .....true Devin - and not so much pride in a person's work now!.....all about the fast buck!
     
  6. Mike Pomery

    Mike Pomery Active Member

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    Do share your technique.
     
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