Monday, 7 January 2013
Spending like it's 1978
I've spent an enjoyable morning in Cardiff - I've been working non stop since the New Year and have produced 12,000 words this past week so figured I deserved a morning off, and I certainly needed to get away from the screen and into the fresh air.
This morning was one of those all too rare mild January days, seeming like an early spring. I had no rain or wind to contend with and instead the sun even put in a couple of appearances. The reason for my visit was the Bear Shop, the oldest and one of the few remaining specialist tobacconists in South Wales.
The Bear Shop was founded in 1870 by William Arthur Lewis. After his death in 1928 control passed to his daughter Winifred and her husband Harold Darbey. The Shop stayed in the Darbey family until 2000 when it was bought by A.E.Lloyd & Sons Ltd and subsequently acquired by Paul Gilmour of Shave & Coster, Reading in 2007. The Big Bear known as Bruno was bought by W.A. Lewis and stood in the shop at 84, St. Mary Street from about 1900 until he moved in 1990 to the Wyndham Arcade where he resides today. He is reputed to be 200 years old.
Anyway I needed to stock up on pipe tobacco and so with 50grms of Peterson's Nutty Cut, 50gms of the store's own Extravagenza mix, 50gms of Three Nuns and a new reamer I am stocked up for a month or so of sucking of the briar.
I love visiting this shop - the staff are old school and as soon as you step through the doors it is like the smoking ban never happened, and you are immediately transported back decades and hit with the rich aromas of the varied pipe tobacco mixes and the row upon rows of luxury cigars - and for my American readers we can even get Cuban made monsters here. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it we may still be waiting for Django Unchained but we can pass the time by sucking on a nice fat Cuban! I'm not really much of a cigar smoker but I did pick up a single Boliver. Hey, fuck you Cuba but I must be honest they do make a fine cigar! Likely the finest in the world.
The Big Bear known as Bruno was bought by W.A. Lewis and stood in the shop at 84, St. Mary Street from about 1900 until he moved in 1990 to the Wyndham Arcade where he resides today. He is reputed to be 200 years old.
That done I then visited my favorite shop in the world - Troutmark Books in the Castle Arcade - Troutmark is a book lovers paradise, three floors of nothing but secondhand books, comics and oddities.
Not a bad day but ahh well, it's now back to the grindstone.