I have failed to find my old pipes so I have three nice new pipes on the way, ordered from here. Unfortunately they don't sell tobacco and the local supermarkets' range of pipe tobacco is derisory so a visit to the Big City might be necessary. It's been many years since I smoked a pipe and I was delighted to find that the ones I remember are now very cheap. Modern ones use filters. I remember the metal tar-catchers which needed regular cleaning but otherwise lasted as long as the pipe itself. No replaceable filters, no overheads. I bought some old-style ones.
The site is a good source of rolling papers and filters too. Normally I use the local cheap-shops which are not licenced to sell tobacco, but need no licence for papers and filters. That way, buying the papers and filters without the tobacco arouses no suspicion at all.
It has occurred to me that shredding tobacco into roll-up standard could be difficult. Instead I will work on making cigars and pipe tobacco. If I can get some shredded for roll-ups, fine, but pipe and cigars are likely to be the future.
I have considered the EU cheap-baccy trips but that's more trouble than I care to bother with. Especially after reading how HMRC terrorise British citizens while ignoring guns, drugs, terrorists and illegal immigrants. The harassment of anyone coming back from abroad is their sole reason for existence, it seems. I have a feeling it will be easy for any terrorist to get a radioactive bomb into the country as long as none of their operatives smoke.
A common thread among those tales of HMRC thuggery and theft seems to be the targeting of anyone British while ignoring anyone of any other nationality. So anyone from Spain, France or anywhere else who is visiting the UK and fancies making a few quid, fill your cases with tobacco. HMRC don't care about you, so you can resell the stuff well below UK prices and make a good profit.
A possible future scenario would be HMRC ripping apart every UK-registered car and strip-searching every UK citizen on their return to this country and finding nothing. Those travellers will be stocked up with smokes the moment they leave Customs, courtesy of Hans and Pedro and every other non-UK national who was on the ferry with them. We get cheap smokes, the tourists get extra holiday cash, everyone's a winner.
It's only a matter of time.
In fact, I rather suspect that's how Man with a Van gets his imported stock into the country. While HMRC are busy playing schoolyard thug with British citizens, those they ignore are carrying huge amounts of baccy right past them. I don't know for sure because I haven't pried. I'm not the prying kind.
It will take at leat a year for my own tobacco supply to be ready to smoke but once it begins, I am off-grid as far as smoking goes. I won't even be paying the EU taxes that the imported baccy has paid. I'll need to bag some plants each year for new seed, or maybe order some different varieties once in a while but as long as the plants keep growing I'll never pay for tobacco again. Anywhere.
The antismokers will scream about this, not because of the smoking, but because of the lost tax, and because they can't control my smoking if they can't control my own supply. It's all about the money and the control. Nothing to do with health at all. Hell, I could even extract nicotine for Electrofags if they ban those too. The flavouring might be hard to make, but there is no such thing as an insurmountable problem.
I've grown ornamental Nicotiana before. It does reasonably well here. If the neighbours ask, it's an ornamental plant. Nobody is going to bat an eyelid at the sight of me removing a few yellowing leaves. Unlike cannabis, it's not an easily recognisable plant at all. Just a leafy thing with a flower on the top. And since I won't be selling any, there's nothing to trace. Besides, once I've given away excess seedlings to unsuspecting anti-smokers...
What can they do? It's my religion now and will be stated as such on the census. Any antismoker objecting will be stirring up religious hatred. Although as ManWiddicombe has discovered, any future census is likely to make us choose from a set of State-approved religions. And, from reading that pronouncement, it is clear that paganism will not be one of those religions. Apparently identifying yourself as a 'witch' is no more valid than calling yourself 'jedi'. One of those religions is a Hollywood invention, the other predates most other religions by an extraordinarily long time. Neither will be State approved in the future.
Nor, I suspect, will 'Smoker'. But then what the hell, we are not State approved now. It's not as if we're going to lose status. HMRC can steal from us with impunity, the NHS can deny us treatment we've already paid for and every public and private venue in the land can exclude us. Employers can legally refuse to employ us, councils can take our council tax and use it to employ the snide and the worthless to harass us. What can we possibly have left to lose?
Refusing to fill in the census will get you a visit from the Census Response Enforcement Team Involving National Security and continuing to refuse will get you fined. You'll still be forced to fill it in anyway. I wonder, is it a legitimate defence to state that if the officials say you didn't fill in the census, then how could they have known where you live? If you lie on the form and they say they know you lied, then they must already have known the real answer so why did they ask the question? Many circular arguments await this census.
Next week it will be March. Still very cold here but I can start seedlings in the house first, then move them to the greenhouse when the weather improves, then the garden when the frosts have finally stopped, about May. I'm hoping for a warm, sunny summer for a change rather than another globally-warmed one like the last few.
Sure, a warm and dry summer will only fuel the Climatologists (because weather is climate when it suits them) but hey, I won't mind.
I'll just have a smoke and relax.
Update: I am impressed. I placed the order late Monday night, it dispatched Tuesday and arrived Wednesday. So I'm all piped up. All I need now is a supplier who extends beyond Condor and St. Bruno. I have had some tipoffs in that regard - thanks!