I needed a couple of things from the village last week.
Herself said she'd come along for a cuppa coffee so I dropped her off at the coffee shop and parked the car. Penny and I then did the rounds of the shops.
Doing the rounds with Penny can be a lengthy business as everyone for some strange reason wants to stop us to say hello to the dog. ["Isn't she sweeeet", "What a lovely dog!"]. Secretly I am convinced they just want an excuse to chat to me but that's neither here nor there. Eventually I finished my rounds and headed for my mug of coffee.
It was a sunny day and the place was fairly full. Penny, as per usual, became a focal point. I'm used to that so I let the people have their chat, pet and stroke [of the dog, not me] while Herself and I enjoyed our coffees.
As it happened, a couple of neighbours saw us and came in for a chat. As they had a dog each, the place became somewhat chaotic, especially when a strange dog on the road saw this collection of canines and started yapping loud enough to hurt my ears. I hate yappy dogs.
Eventually it was time to go, so I went to pay the bill [I’m quite honest really]. I came out and there was a couple at the table chatting to Herself. Another pair of Penny Fans, thinks I.
I was wrong.
It was an old woman [she must have been in her eighties] and her daughter and what had attracted them was my pipe. They were intrigued by its design and I told them it was handmade for me by an expert in France. They wanted to know what I smoked and I told them it was Condor. At this stage the old woman was becoming quite choked. "Plug, flake or ready rubbed" she asked gently. I told her it was the ready rubbed variety.
The daughter took me to one side and explained that her father used to smoke Condor and had passed away recently. I took the hint and lit up.
As the smoke wafted gently in the still air a tear trickled down the old woman's face. "Thank you" said she. "It's a wonderful smell but it's so rare these days. It brings back lots of memories."
I couldn't help but think of the Puritans who would berate me for "exposing" this old woman to my lethal toxic fumes. They would have fumed at the fact that I was giving this woman a moment of good memories. The happiness on the woman's face would be the very antithesis of everything they stand for in their joyless little world.
It made that little moment of happiness all the sweeter.