The Daily Telegraph

Lighting up the court with a smoulderin­g pipe


Sir – As a junior barrister – and pipe smoker (Letters, November 13) – in the early 1980s, I recall being summoned back into court at Chelmsford after a short break during a trial.

I stuffed my pipe back into my pocket and returned to court – only to hear the judge say, “Mr Pini, you appear to be spontaneou­sly combusting” as the lining of my pocket went up. Of course the aroma hit me first, but then, to my horror, I saw that the court was suffused with dense clouds of Mellow Virginia.

I did stop some years later.

His Honour John Pini KC Stamford, Lincolnshi­re

Sir – In the early 1950s my father was the engineer officer in HMS Pincher, an Algerine-class minesweepe­r. One day he was walking across Chatham Dockyard when a naval rating came up to him, saluted and said: “Excuse me sir, you are on fire”.

I remember my mother spending ages mending the pocket of his greatcoat that had been damaged by his pipe.

Howard Wallace-sims Sandwich, Kent

Sir – My father smoked Old Holborn in his pipe, fondly referring to it as “camel dung and old bus tickets”. Anne Croucher

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Sir – My father had an elderly aunt who decided to take up smoking cigarettes at the age of 90.

Her son, with whom she lived, was appalled, and asked my father, a GP, to advise her against it. My father found her to be extremely fit, and thought that moderate smoking would not reduce her life expectancy. The son was furious and would not let his mother smoke in his house. She died just before her 100th birthday, having spent much of her last decade smoking behind a shed in the garden.

Quentin Skinner

Warminster, Wiltshire

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