I promised to note a few observations on the first couple of days of the smoking ban in Scotland and had the perfect opportunity with a stop-over in Edinburgh on Monday night to be up in time for a meeting there this morning: saves all the grief of trying to get through two cities’ rush hours and travel 140 miles all before breakfast.
I arrived in Auld Reekie too late for a meal at the hotel where I had been billeted and was referred to a local Indian restaurant for something to eat. Suited me; it’s a rare chance these days to get a meal in an Indian restaurant so off I toddled. Turned out to be a very nice small place near the Haymarket, called the Verandah – worth looking out if you’re in that area. Just one other couple in when I arrived. Enjoyed my food and then the owner came over and started chatting. We talked for ages, about the smoking ban (a good thing), over-zealous food inspectors (a bad thing), being a kid in the current decadent age (a tricky thing) and being a parent of teenagers (a worrying thing). This chap turned out to be very interesting to talk to. He welcomed the smoking ban and had already made his restaurant non-smoking some time ago.
I’d stuck my nose into a few pubs as well and most landlords were pretty philosophical about the whole business. Some were concerned that business would wane and others were concerned about how people would cope being able to smell each other – this is becoming a serious topic of concern and one pub I passed had put tea-lights (small candles) on the tables to counter the odour of their customers! Incidentally, one person I spoke to who had been to Oireland recounted that the well-known gastric consequences of Guinness were now unmasked in the bars and that there was something to be said for the reek of Major cigarette smoke after all.
It’s interesting to note that, with all the concentration on pubs and clubs over the preceding weeks and months, that nearly every other premises to which the ban applies has yet to get its signs sorted out – Boots the chemist, MacDonalds the processed meat people and a few bus shelters were the exception to the rule – mind you, one of the bus shelters in central Edinburgh had already had the no-smoking sign prised off and it lay face-down in the street-litter, so some folk are expressing a rebellious spirit in amongst all of this.
The general consensus seems to be that things will settle down and it’s notable that nearly every pub you pass of an evening has a couple of smokers lurking out on the street partaking of their habit.


4 Responses to “Not-so-auld-reekie”

  1. joared Says:

    Enjoyed your account of the smoking ban, which, I shared previously, we have had in Calif. USA for a few years.

    I nearly ran up on the curb driving home this evening when I spotted a sight I had not seen for many years; a dog out walking with a man who had clenched between his teeth one of those pipes Sherlock Homes is often pictured smoking.

    I was overcome with nostalgia as recollection of the pipe’s sweet aroma wafted through my smell sensory memory. The spell was soon broken as I also recalled the odor of the pipe when it was being cleaned out.

    All the dire predictions here about the bars and restaurants that would be forced out of business as a consequence of the smoking ban never materialized. Am sure it will be the same in Scotland.

  2. Pat the Chooks Says:

    Given the prevalence of the Scottish midge in the summers, the new breed of outdoor smokers could become a welcome neighbour in the street or beer garden. The Queen of the Chooks and I have just returned from having a glass of wine and a chat with some neighbours who were describing some summer evenings up in Applecross where pipe-smokers were in considerable demand as close companions to stave off the attentions of the midge (or McNasty as it is known in some quarters).

  3. joared Says:

    You are quite right about the advantages of smoking with those pesky mosquitoes. Had forgotten about that benefit. Something to think about here, as in recent years we have had to contend with a mosquito borne West Nile Virus which wiped out the crows who use to come down from the mountains to visit our front yard every morning.

    We’ve finally have a couple young crows back the past two years, but no others. Not as many blue jays and mockingbirds around any more either. I still have my hummingbirds, finches, some other smaller varieties.

    I seem to have gone far afield from the topic of smoking. Enjoyed your comments with observations gleaned during your social fling with the Queen of the Chooks!

  4. joared Says:

    Just occurred to me, I believe the “midge” is something different from the mosquito. Oh dear, now something else to put on my list to search on the Net.

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