Driving my Lotus
It seems I have unwittingly become a collector.
As a kid I had the mandatory stamp collection but the collecting bug never really bit.
But then I took up pipe smoking.
I have gained a somewhat large collection of pipes and lighters. I don’t quite know how it happened but every now and then a new pipe would creep into my ever growing stash.
I have always had a little bit of a problem with lighters. I have quite a collection, from old disposable ones through refillable disposal ones up to a large selection of petrol and gas lighters. I know I could use matches [and did so for a few decades] and I know all about the great following of Zippo lighters – I have one but I kept setting myself on fire with it – and various others, but I just wanted to find a simple one that suited my needs.
I went through a phase of flint/gas lighters but they always seemed to break. So I switched to the piezo/gas combination. I had greater success with these and decided to upgrade to a reasonably permanent model. I bought a Lotus.
I like my Lotus. It’s a hefty yoke in comparison to most but I like that. It feels solid and reliable. It even has little pipe-tools buried in the side. It gives a reliable clean flame and always works.
There’s always a but?
But it has two little quirks which are weird.
The first is what I call its sneeze. I press the trigger [or whatever you like to call it] and it shoots out a six inch flame just for a fraction of a second before burning normally. This has happened a few times and it is so brief it’s easy to miss. In fact the only real indication is the smell of burning hair and I realise the sneeze has once more burned off the hairs on the back of my other hand, which is holding the pipe.
The other quirk somewhat defies logic.
I strike the lighter and the little flame pops out the side which is precisely what I want. The flame is less than an inch which is more than sufficient. But eventually the lighter begins to run low on gas. The flame becomes a little shorter as there is less gas? Okay? Wrong! For some reason, as the gas runs down the lighter goes into Space Shuttle launch mode and blasts out a six or seven inch flame with a roaring sound. It looks really impressive, but the problem is that the force of the flame blows embers clear out of my pipe and all over me. Once again, I’m setting myself on fire and have to frantically pat myself all over to extinguish all the glowing embers.
I would have thought that lower levels of gas would lead to lower pressure, but my Lotus thinks differently. As the gas level drops, it suddenly goes into full flame thrower mode and scares the shit out of me [and Herself and the dog].
Apart from that, it’s a great lighter
My Grandfather, now buried some 35+ years at Fordington St George in Dorset, had a Ronson Varaflame Lighter for his pipe.
What a work of engineering art.
Still remember my Ronson Comet windprufe lighter with great fondness. Used to light even on the windiest of days.
I got the DeLorean version. It took me back to London 1666. I was lucky to get away and they blamed it all on that poor baker.
I read this one aloud to The Wife and we’re both still laughing at the image of you setting yourself on fire. Did you ever think to point the thing away from you when you first pull the trigger just in case?