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The "Vital Spark" and pipe smoking.

Because there's more to life than pipe smoking. If it will not fit another forum, bring it up here.

The "Vital Spark" and pipe smoking.

Postby Falconeer » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:05 pm

We’ve been talking recently on here about what started you off with a pipe. Over on another brand associated forum which I look at from time to time, someone mentioned “Para Handy” and posted a still from the remake of the series which ran around the 90s whereas the original black and white series ran around the 60s...and Para Handy was one of my influences when I come to think about it.

If you’re not from Scotland you might just need a wee bit background though..the Para Handy ( “Peter son of Sandy MacFarlane “ Sandy being short for Alexander,” North of the Line. From the Gaelic way of nicknaming folk. ) tales were written by Neil Munro, a journalist in the 1920s and feature Para Handy ( “Master Mariner”), his small crew and their adventures aboard the “Puffer” - “The Vital Spark.”

Again in Scotland a “Puffer” was a small coastal/inter island steamboat plying out of Glasgow carrying mixed deliveries of shop supplies, sheep, goats coal or whatever to remote communities, then not well served by road or other forms of transport. Such boats could be beached at high tide to be unloaded before the tide came back in again if the place being served lacked a harbour without coming to any harm.

The “Scotsman” or the “Aberdeen Press and Journal” ( I cannot now recollect which ) re-issued these short stories once a week at the end of the 60s, and I can remember reading them with great interest and was always desperate for the next episode to come out.

Here’s a picture I found via Google images - and you’ll note the really authentic evil looking oxidised pipe stem so true to the period that Para is smoking - almost all of my secondary school masters proudly sported such in the breast pockets of their chalky suits as did most Doctors and Ministers for that matter.

Different days indeed! If you like a light hearted short story with some pawky characters, written in the Queen’s English - the adventures of Para Handy are well worth looking at! http://i.imgur.com/1XbtHF2.jpg
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
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Re: The "Vital Spark" and pipe smoking.

Postby acaciavet » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:12 pm

Thanks Gerry i shall research
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Re: The "Vital Spark" and pipe smoking.

Postby Geo3rge » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:14 pm

A great story of reminiscences and observations and very well written too! Thank you. Whilst unfamiliar with Para Handy, was there a film made of him in the fifties, perhaps one of the Ealing productions? These grizzled characters all seems to have a pipe stuck perennially in their mouths.
Your memory of school masters reminds me of my own time in secondary school during the late sixties and early to mid seventies, when many of my teachers sported pipes and smoked them on the short walk from one lesson to another. My old art teacher even used to light up his in the room when we were in the sixth form. Amongst the younger masters a Falcon pipe seemed to be the most popular at the time. My class clubbed together and bought our form tutor a pack of St. Bruno (another influence, no doubt) for Christmas. I'm absolutely convinced that their unwitting influence was one of the essential factors leading me to my own pipe journey. I don't remember my doctor (the junior partner of a father and son team) with a pipe, but he certainly had a cigar on the go in his surgery, invariably smouldering in the ashtray and ready to be picked up again once the appointment had finished. Different days indeed!
Thanks again for an entertaining read.
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Re: The "Vital Spark" and pipe smoking.

Postby KevinM » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:09 am

Gotta admit it was the Hobbit and LOR books by Tolkien. The characters appeared to enjoy the relaxing aspects of smoking a pipe. Then there was the photo of the man himself on the back cover with a pipe. I was sold when I was around 12 years old to one day smoke a pipe, and got my first one at 18.
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Re: The "Vital Spark" and pipe smoking.

Postby Geo3rge » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:14 am

Glad to see someone else who had pipe smoking designs when they were young, Kevin! I certainly did. A pipe can 'call', don't you think?! I didn't read Tolkien's work until I was about 17 years old, but now, every few years or so, I get LOTR off the shelf and start all over again. Must have read it nearly a dozen times since, I think.
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