What could all of these have in common? Some years ago, in a former life, I was a financial advisor. One of my clients owned a furniture showroom. His main focus was on beds and while building the rapport, he started talking about his favourite subject. His product knowledge was high as he started talking about top manufacturers, pocket springs, mattress rotation etc. When we started talking about prices, I commented on how high I thought the prices of his beds were. What he replied has stuck with me all these years.
He said that on average, people spend 3 to 4 times as much money buying their lounge sofas and chairs than they do on their beds. Yet, if you work full time, people spend at least twice as long in bed as they ever do sitting on their sofa! And still a great quality bed was only half the price of a normal suite. Suddenly this made perfect sense, and as I have got older I appreciate the importance of a restful night’s sleep. There is a direct correlation between the quality of your bed and the quality of your sleep.
Similarly there is a link between the quality of your smoke and the quality of your pipe. Note that I did not say the price of your pipe. That is because in the estate pipes market, it is possible to pick up some great quality pipes at bargain prices. Yet it still amazes me that some people spend more on one tobacco order than they would on a pipe!
I always used to say that a pipe was the instrument but the tobacco was the music. This is true, but a good musician will get a better tune from a poor instrument than a poor musician will from a good instrument.
One of my hobbies is fly fishing. I could catch fish, because I had been fishing with other techniques since I was a boy, I have a good understanding of how trout behaved. But I was never a good caster of the fly. My rod, reel and line were mid quality at best, yet it amazed me that when experts came over to pass on some casting tips, they could take my rod and cast out a full line. However, when they returned to their own higher quality equipment, not only could they cast out a full line, but they could do it with less effort, more finesse and a lot more accuracy.
Just as the art of fly fishing is all about practice, rhythm and technique – so is the art of pipe smoking. Practice on your smoking technique, the rhythm of your cadence and then move to a higher quality pipe to put all the elements together to enjoy a much more satisfying smoke.
May you smoke your pipe in enjoyment this weekend.