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I’m not taking it up again, I swear…

This is a sort of a ‘day in the life of weasel’ story. So I had to get an Amazon order up to £20 to cut loose the add-on items (does Amazon do this over there?), so I added a bag of mugwort tea, because I read that it helps you sleep. I like sleep. The tea came yesterday.

And then I read that mugwort makes you dream vividly if you smoke it before bed. I love dreams (I love smoking, too, but I haven’t done it in 21 years). It got me thinking whether I had a tobacco pipe around the house (I used to have a really cool one I bought at auction). Nope. Couldn’t find it.

So I spent an hour after work today going through the little antique-and-junque shops in town (of which there are many) looking for a tobacco pipe. I was told that smoking memorabilia was ‘in’ a few years ago, but nobody will touch the stuff now. Finally, at the eighth or so shop, I found the pipe in the picture.

Only it didn’t look like that when I bought it. The stem was a dull greeny-yellowy color which, the internet tells me, is to plastic what rust is to metal. Recommended to soak it in bleach for an hour (which suited me fine, as the idea of smoking some old dead man’s pipe is rather ick) and give it a good polish with fine grit. So I did.

Which just left the interior. As it happens, we had to swing out for some weekend shopping which took us close to my favorite hardware store. You should have seen the look of blank incomprehension on the young man’s face when I asked for pipe cleaners. I described. I mimed. I asked him if he ever took a craft class in elementary school. I wondered if his father was around today. Honestly, he had no idea. He sold me a bottle brush (I’ll use it for something else).

So. I await pipe cleaners. There’s a big craft shop in town that I feel sure will have them, even if they will probably be all glittery, so I’ll do that Monday. As dog is my witness, I am not putting that thing in my mouth until a dozen gin-soaked pipe cleaners have been pulled through the stem.

It’s a handsome and tactile little object, anyway. The inscription is ‘CLUBMAN – LONDON MADE’. I am pleased.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Comment from Ben
Time: April 6, 2018, 10:09 pm

I kid you not, pipe cleaners have been re-branded as Chenille Stems because smoking…icky…the PC crowd is insane.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 6, 2018, 10:23 pm

I tried to buy pipe cleaners at the 99 cent store and they had no idea what I was asking for. I would think you could still find them anywhere they sell pipe tobacco, tho.

Anyway, you could have used tin foil, heated it up with your tea on it and sucked the smoke up with a straw. Sort of like chasing the dragon but with tea. LOL Or, you could have made a tin foil pipe. I only suggest this to save you time and money. This tea smoking may not be for you. And you never know if it will make your eyes bleed like K2.

What about all those clay pipes you dug up in your yard?

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: April 7, 2018, 12:05 am

A carrot from the fridge makes a nice pipe. Or so I’ve been told without going into detail.

And you can scrape off the burnt part and eat it, I’ve been told.

Comment from SomeVegetable
Time: April 7, 2018, 12:48 am

I used to prefer a nice Pear for my quick makeshift backy pipes. A BIC Pen run down the stem and then a push into the side to make a 90 degree hole through it. Make a thimble of aluminum foil that will cover your little finger and poke holes in it with a pin. Fit the thimble, filled with mugwort et al to the side of the pear and enjoy a cool smoke. When done smoking, eat the nice juicy pear to cool your throat, satisfy any hunger you may have worked up, and to dispose of your pipe. An apple or orange can theoretically be substituted but I found them much less satisfactory.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: April 7, 2018, 1:26 am

I kin see weez gonna have to outlaw fruits and vegetables and start interdictin fruit smuggling. Mandatory sentences for possession of celery with intent to distribute!

“Drop that cumquat you mugwart smokin weirdo!”

Comment from Bob
Time: April 7, 2018, 1:26 am

100mg of vitamin B6 before bedtime is supposed to induce vivid dreams also.
I wonder what the combining B6 and mugwort would do.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: April 7, 2018, 2:37 am

Melatonin works well for me. I take 1mg about 30 minutes before going to bed. I started out taking 5mg, but that was too much and gave me extremely vivid dreams, which I did NOT want.


Comment from Monty James
Time: April 7, 2018, 10:13 am

So, you’re gonna get high.

Get an aluminum can of soda or beer and drink it. Rinse out the can, and bend the tab back and forth till it breaks off. Hold the can so the hole in top is on the right or left side as you toke on it. Now we’re ready to make the bowl.

Holding the can with the long axis parallel to the floor, and the hole in top on one side or another, mash your thumb down on the base until you’ve started to make the base of the can fold towards you. Hold your thumb there, and take two fingers and pinch the top so you make a little valley running along the top of the can. This will be your bowl.

Now take a safety pin or other small diameter pokey object and poke-poke-poke-poke a bunch of holes in the bottom of the bowl. You can make a slightly bigger hole alongside the bowl where you place your thumb when you hold it and light the weed, sorry mugwort, and then remove your thumb to evacuate all the smoke when you hit on it. This hole is called the carburetor.

One of those extra long barbecue grill lighters is good for smoking, you’re less likely to burn yourself than if you use a Bic lighter. Place a bit of “mugwort” (never heard it called that name before, shows how long it’s been for me) in the bowl and have some nice dreams.

How to Make a Pipe from a Soda Can

Man, that took me back to younger, better days. Are you any good with rolling papers?

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: April 7, 2018, 10:24 am

Amazon probably has them.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 7, 2018, 11:14 am

I tried the B6 before a nap once, Bob. It was one of my most awful dream experiences ever. You know that thing where you swear you’re awake, but you can’t move? Not quite night terror, because there wasn’t an hallucination associated with it, but it went on and on and on.

Folks, when I say mugwort, I mean Artemisia vulgaris. I don’t do annnnything illegal. I am a good immigrant, me. Please don’t send me home.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 7, 2018, 11:38 am

Hm. I may have gotten the edit button working again. Not sure, as I are admin.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: April 7, 2018, 12:55 pm

Is smoking mugwart illegal? Haven’t you got Tidepods over there?

Comment from OldFert
Time: April 7, 2018, 2:22 pm

Don’t carry your pipe in the car. I’d hate to read about a Weasel getting busted for mugwort paraphernalia. (Do they have the “Live PD” show on over there? It’s on A&E and is strangely entertaining.)

Don’t they have head shops over there?

Comment from dustoffmom
Time: April 7, 2018, 5:06 pm

Are you anywhere close to Glastonbury? I visited there not too long ago and honestly, I felt like I’d walked into my youth in the late 60’s! Can’t imagine with all the head shops you couldn’t find pipe cleaners there. 🙂

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: April 7, 2018, 5:37 pm

Sheesh, so you can buy heads in shops, but not dope. What kind of country in that?


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 7, 2018, 5:54 pm

stoaty needs a corn cob pipe. It’s her heritage.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: April 7, 2018, 8:42 pm

Stoaty Yokum?

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 7, 2018, 11:07 pm

Most comments above about impromptu pipe making seem to have skipped right over the fact that Stoatie already has a pipe. And it’s a nice one. The act of smoking anything for any reason is enhanced by using nice equipment that appeals to the tactile sense, and that particular pipe shape is quite nice to hold in one’s hand, and is comfortable and stable when held in one’s mouth.

As I do not know the consistency, the physical properties, of mugwort intended for smoking, and if it’s in bits smaller, drier, and/or less pliable than pipe tobacco, I do have one suggestion. Based on my own reckless youthful enjoyment of the recreational smoking of, um, “other than tobacco,” Stoatie, you might be well advised to place something in the bottom of the bowl to keep little burny bits from hitting your tongue, palate, esophagus, and maybe even lungs. I found the little circles of fine mesh metal screen for faucet aerator fittings to be perfect: just the right size and springiness to gently press down into the bowl at any level. They are readily available in any good hardware store.

[if you see this line, the edit button is working]

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 7, 2018, 11:16 pm

What the heck. As long as we’re swapping do-it-yourself smoking paraphernalia ideas, I’ll add one I’d wager no one here ever heard of, but it’s for holding rolled smoking material, not for loose pipe smoking material.

I used to be an avid spelunker and one a very few occasions broke the Cavers’ Commandment…

Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints

…by picking up a piece or two of broken stalactite. There is always a small channel running right down the middle of that particular sort of speleothem, and it’s just the right size to hold the end of a properly rolled joint. Cool smoke, no burnt fingers!

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: April 8, 2018, 4:03 am

Rather a nice-looking bit o’ Briar, you’ve got there – seems likely that “Clubman” actually refers to the particular shape/style of the bowl and its integral, outer stem…

Amazon does, indeed, have scads of pipe cleaners immediately on-offer, in variable-sized lots – but, of course, you may well prefer to examine the product “in the flesh” – so to speak – prior to purchase.

On the subject of the alternative/”field-expedient” smoking devices referenced by other Commentors: Myself, I’d be a bit hesitant about using any such devices that involved aluminum – at least, if there was to be any direct contact between the smoking materials (whilst being combusted) and the metal – as there are some who who would mention the possibility of directly-heated aluminum giving off vapors that, if ingested/breathed directly, could be indicated as adding to the risk of Alzheimer’s disorder – just a thought.

One other point that might be raised: If your “Clubman” – as it sounds – was smoked somewhat (at least) in prior times, but has not had recent active usage, the bowl’s interior may well be a bit dried-out, as well as somewhat-charred…and might benefit from a small amount of interior-scraping, followed by a wee bit of “conditioning” with a little bit of water, or even some small amount of that gin you spoke of using to soak the pipe-cleaners prior to using them on the inside of the outer pipestem. Again, just a thought.

Happy dreams…

Comment from BJM
Time: April 8, 2018, 4:31 am

Do Mustelids dream of electric bongs?

Never mind.

Now I have the image of Stoatie with a corn cob pipe ala MacArthur.

The Spousal Unit snores, so I listen to audiobooks as white noise. I don’t use a sleep timer, I bookmark and let it run all night…can’t say I actually dream but I do have some interesting neural experiences…often associated with being throttled by earbud cords. The cat likes to snuggle up and listen through my jawbone…it’s all kind of weird…but I sleep much more soundly.

Was that TMI?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 8, 2018, 12:21 pm

I read up on reconditioning ‘estate’ pipes, as they call them. In addition to soaking in bleach and polishing to get rid of that sickly greeny-yellow plastic, their recommendation for the bowl is a good scrape (done) and then block the stem with a pipe cleaner, carefully fill the bowl with sea salt and then dribble everclear onto the salt until it’s just damp (gin will have to do, still awaiting pipe cleaners). Leave this a couple of days, and it’s supposed to draw the old tobacco flavor out of the bowl (being careful not to dribble it on the outside, where it would ruin the finish).

Comment from Jayef
Time: April 8, 2018, 5:18 pm

The last time I needed pipe cleaners was at work, where I use them to clean out small sample ports on expensive pieces of analytical equipment. These instruments often have fat blocks of lucite with very tiny ports and pathways milled into them, through which sample water flows on its way to whatever analysis process happens to be taking place. There’s really no substitute for pipe cleaners when it comes to this sort of task but I had a horrible time finding them. Finally, I decided to try looking in a head shop where, lo and behold, they had a variety. I happily purchased a bunch and was then faced with the task of explaining to my supervisor why I had a charge on my expense report for ‘Bilbo’s Bong Emporium’ (or whatever it was called). Much to my relief, he approved the report without subjecting me to further questioning.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 8, 2018, 5:44 pm

Frankly, sounds a bit disgusting. There’s probaby the black plague or sweating sickness linguering in those old pipes. Best to get yourself one of those long white clay pipes – the type Susannah York smoked in Tom Jones. Didnt she look cute?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 8, 2018, 9:26 pm

They made those clay pipes in my area. I mean, I suppose they made them everywhere here, but there’s apparently a chalk pit around here somewhere that is just a big ol’ hole full of old clay pipes.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: April 9, 2018, 1:36 am

Mind the hobbits there Eowyn. And drop that dwarf!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: April 9, 2018, 4:42 pm

Comment from Ben
Time: April 6, 2018, 10:09 pm
I kid you not, pipe cleaners have been re-branded as Chenille Stems because smoking…icky…the PC crowd is insane.

I saw some at my local Walmart last month. I can’t recall what they were called, but it sure wasn’t pipe cleaners.

Ms. Weasel, your pipe looks like the style I think is called a “bulldog” or “bent bulldog.” Back in the Eighties I smoked pipes, and in fact still have most of them. Nowadays you can’t go anyplace and smoke even a chocolate-smelling tobacco (which many people told me they loved the scent of). And it’s too hot here to wear a jacket for 10 months of the year, a jacket with a pocket to hold your pipe gear. So I pretty much gave it up.

Comment from Chuckles
Time: April 9, 2018, 9:53 pm

Tescos have them in the kids toys – crafts section, and sometimes in the stationery section

Comment from LesterIII
Time: April 10, 2018, 12:54 am

When my child was a youngster, I occasionally volunteered at her elementary school as a “Parent Assistant”. This was usually helping teachers wrangle the little chaos-beasts during transition from classroom-to-classroom. Often I was assigned to a math or science teacher where I could tell wacky subject-relevant, nerd-based stories to answer a question or get a point accross. But sometimes I helped the art teacher, which was fun because I got to help like-minded students subvert that days project by helping them build an army of monstrous creatures in whatever media was provided.

Never had a problem with faculty until I refused to call pipe cleaners “chenille stems”. “You can’t call them PIPE cleaners! What kind of ideas will that give the kids?”

I REFUSED. OBNOXIOUSLY. Kept on calling them pipe cleaners, inventing reasons to ask for them whenever possible, encouraging every child to do so as well, at every opportunity, wherever they could kid-logic it in. Art teacher had a meltdown because the kids continued my pipe-cleaner-insurgency for weeks after I had been there.

Never assigned to an art class again, but my co-conspirators always gave me updates on the rebellion whenever they saw me in the halls. Put *that* in your pipe and smoke it, little Ms. Uptightasaurus.

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