World Championships 2009
The World Championships in slow pipe smoking were held last weekend in Debrecen, Hungary. My pipe club had arranged a trip to partake in the annual madness and we travelled to Budapest for the week. We stayed at a modest hotel in the middle of Pest and my nearest companions and I quickly found a pub to use as a base of operations for sightseeing.
We mustered three teams for the championships and were bussed to Debrecen for the event. An hotel in Debrecen had made room for us and some 150 pipe smokers had met up to compete. They came from as far afield as Japan, Russia, the USA and all points European. Apart from the actual competition there was the usual exhibition of pipes from the finest of pipe makers. Though many caught my eye, I did not buy a pipe at the show, alas, my budget is a little too tight right now, however, I took pictures and noted who had what for future reference. The bar was busy issuing foaming pints of ale and finally, at two o’clock we sat down to the business end of the trip. It didn’t go well. We had a false start, threats of disqualification, protests over these threats, re-issuing of matches due to the false start and finally we all got lit up and started smoking. The tobacco was foul. Sorry, but it was. After thirty five minutes I could take it no more and called myself “out”.
After hearing the results, we realised the times had been confused and after a protest from the Danish team the results were corrected giving a third place to the Danish team from Zealand. Too late for prizes, the Italian team had been awarded the third place and had left. The results will be corrected. Prizes will be given later.
Beyond all that, I did bring home a few souvenirs in the form of a bamboo tamper and a strange little tool which is designed to hold a plug of tobacco for one pipe and has a built in tamper. More on these accoutrements in a later post.
After Debrecen, we had a three day period of sightseeing in Budapest and then home again.
Next year, it’s Lisbon, Portugal. I’m rather looking forward to that.