A couple of months back Venichka, one of the few sane commenters on the webblog 'Harry's Place', put up a post on the Pipe Club of Beirut and the club's sterling efforts to keep proceedings going as normal as possible during the Israeli bombardment.
Back home, pipe smokers face not the bombs of the Israeli air force- but Patricia Hewitt's draconian ban on smoking in public places, due to come into force next summer. The ban means that pipe smoking contests, such as the Norfolk Pipe Club's annual championship, which attracts smokers from France, Belgium and the Netherlands, will most probably be consigned to history. Nice work from a politician who was once an officer for the National Council of Civil Liberties.
Former winner Keith Garrard said: "We are looking at alternatives like having an open sided marquee but in all likelihood it looks like this will be the last competition. I think the ban is over the top... we can't go outside and have a quick smoke."
"Over the top" is expressing it far too mildly, Keith. "Fascistic" would be a far better word.