Just back from a fabulous weekends herfing in Falmouth Cornwall for “The Last Gasp” herf……in fact the last indoor smoking event before the stupid public smoking ban came into force in England at 6 a.m this morning.
Over 100 fellow cigar smokers herfed the weekend away at meeting at various times at The Falmouth Hotel and the main event at “The Shed” restaurant.
Thanks to Jim Biddle owner of the Shed for his kind hospitality ( you guessed it..he enjoys a find Havana) and thanks to co sponsor Andy Connew and his Cornwall Crew for putting on such a great event.
Cigars smokers came from as far as the USA as well as Europe to make this a very special event and it certainly was.
We were interviewed by newspapers and television and hope to put details on the website in the next few days.
The raffle and auction were very successful and enjoyed by all.Thanks to all who donated prizes and thanks to Hunters and Frankau for donating some of their finest Ramon Allones belicosos for the event.
Here’s an extract from my speech….
Ladies, gentlemen , fellow cigar lovers – and anti-smokers – we are about to witness a sad historical moment – for tonight 500 years of history will come to an end – and the rights of England’s smokers will be snuffed out.
Gone will be the days when we could share an ashtray indoors in a public place. There’ll be no more nipping down the pub for a pint and a smoke. From now on it will be, “Pint of beer and a nicotine patch, sir?” down your local.
There’ll be no more cigars with your favourite tipple after dinner in your favourite club or restaurant. Those of you who use company cars will have to sit on the roof and steer the vehicle with their feet – if they wish to continue smoking while travelling. And if a plumber or health visitor comes round your home – they won’t enter it unless you promise not to blow smoke in their face.
Can you imagine treating Sir Winston Churchill – Britain’s most famous cigar smoker – in such a cavalier fashion? At the very least, you’d get the V for Victory sign and an earful of invective.
The good news is that England’s specialist tobacco retailers are exempt from the smoking ban – provided that neither their staff or their customers actually enjoy the cigars they are sampling. The trouble is, most fine hand-rolled cigars take anywhere between 30 minutes to a couple of hours to get through, and that’s a awful long time to have to keep a straight face.
And if that particular cigar doesn’t suit you, you’ll just have to sample another – until you find the box you really want. The whole cigar-buying process could take days – some of us may even have extend our retail areas to accommodate all this sampling.
Meanwhile, many hotels in England plan to continue to offer designated smoking rooms for their nicotine-friendly guests, for money talks and there’s well over twelve million adult smokers in the UK. And as that guest room is – under hotel hospitality law – the equivalent of your own home – you’ll be allowed to invite all your friends in for a smoke and a drink. Just make sure you open the windows – and don’t set fire to the bed.
As tobacco is still the unofficial currency of England’s prisons, you could always refuse to pay the fine for smoking a cigar in public and get banged up in a smoker-friendly cell. Even better, England’s prison warders will refuse to enter your cell until you’ve stopped smoking. And if they run out of smoker-friendly cells, you’ll be able to sue the Government for compensation. Meanwhile, if a packet of cigarettes is like liquid gold in a prison – what’s a box of Montecristo No.2s worth? Perhaps you could use it to bribe the prison Governor and get an early release.
The bad news is that, in future, unless we meet in each other’s homes – or on Bodmin Moor – we’ll be sitting around sadly sniffing our unlit cigars and talking about the good old times when we used to set the world alight – from our mutual love of the finest things of life, not least, a fine cigar.
But there’s nothing in the present anti-smoking bill to stop us all drowning our sorrows in alcohol so I’ve doubled my order for after-dinner drinks. And as it now seems easier to buy hard drugs than tobacco, I’ve placed an additional order for some cannabis, heroin and crack cocaine – which will no doubt continue to be freely available to anyone who wants it – usually outside the nearest school gates.
Which reminds me of the anti-smoking bureaucrat who went to the doctor and said, “Doctor, every morning when I get up and look in the mirror I see an ugly, unreasonable, lying, narrow-minded, born-again puritanical bastard with no sense of humour, integrity or fair play – and it makes me feel like throwing up. What’s wrong with me?”
“I don’t know,” said the doctor, “but your eyesight’s perfect.”
Fortunately my eyesight’s also pretty good despite what they say about the effects of passive smoking – in fact it’s quite clear to me and anyone who cares to surf the Net that there has NEVER been any evidence that passive smoking causes lung cancer.
Perhaps if the British Government put as much effort into our rapidly deteriorating national health service as it has into banning and policing a perfectly legal product known as tobacco, we wouldn’t be concerned about the current health of our country, or its future as a rest home for our poorer Eastern European neighbours – who are especially welcome for they smoke more than we do.
Which reminds me of the cigar lover who rang Samaritans the other day and told them he was so suicidal what with the idea of not being allowed to smoke anywhere in England outside of his own home that he had decided to kill himself sooner rather than later. “I have just tried to end it all by taking 1,000 aspirins,” he said.
“What happened?” said the Samaritan.
“Oh, after the first two,” said the man, “ I felt a lot better.”
Now you may laugh – and please do, for at the moment the British Government hasn’t yet banned jokes – but the one person who has made this evening feel so much better is Andy……. who not only organised this excellent dinner but has been one of the lynchpins of our exclusive band of cigar aficionados.
I would also like to thank all the cigar smokers who are still the mainstay of my business. May you all remain healthy, wealthy and happy, and long continue filling your ashtrays – preferably with my cigars. And may you buy even more humidors to keep your cigars in, and let the rest of us know where you are hiding so we can join you in a carefree smoke.
Now before you allow a fug of despair to settle on your nicotine-companion souls, let me assure you that the fight is by no means over. In most countries that have introduced a smoking ban – the sales of fine premium cigars has risen dramatically, as former cigarette smokers have decided to smoke less but smoke better.
And there is a point where no Government will go beyond – a bottom limit for the amount of tobacco taxation they’re prepared to lose. Who knows, in a couple of years if the sales of cigarettes disappear in a puff of smoke, the Government may well insist that we all start smoking again – to reboost the National Health Service.
But please rest assured – smokers will always find somewhere to enjoy a fine cigar – look for ethnic restaurants – especially Chinese – late at night when the waiters and chefs relax over an ashtray. Or for pubs that have the smokers’ equivalent of lock-ins. They’re known as Smoke-easies – – you just knock on the door, sniff the air, and if it comes filtered through exhaled cigar smoker – you enter and have a great time among friends.
Such to the nature of the ban, seasonal smoking in England will increase – and on warm dry evenings you will be able to make even more friends – with the aid of a lighter. It’s at times like this when you may be glad of all this global warming…
Please raise your glasses with me and say farewell to the first 500 hundred years of tobacco history – and spit in the eye of the new politically correct world we are now facing.
Thank you for your company and friendship – long may it continue. Please keep on smoking, drinking and thinking – and one day we may get the ban reversed.