It is a sad day indeed when a chap cannot recline post-stroll on a weather-wood bench and strike up his loyal briar. So when Mr. Gaute Hauglid-Formo from Norway alerted Chap HQ to this provocative sign banning pipe smoking in a scenic park on the island of Sipan – just off the Dubrovnik coast of Croatia – we respectfully lowered our Union Jack to half-mast.
According to Mr. Hauglid-Formo, the sign is one of dozens erected throughout the public garden prohibiting puffing, as part of Croatia’s 2008 smoking ban. Meanwhile, as part of this ‘public ban’, smoking is still permitted in Croatian restaurants and bars and even on ferries and trains, providing these venues and vehicles are ‘well ventilated’ or accommodate a separate smoking compartment.
The Chap is reviled and baffled. What venue could be more ventilated than an open-air garden in the middle of an island afloat the Adriatic’s breezy blue belt? And why should the pipe – emblematic of valour and refinement – be targeted instead of the common Croatian cigarette (which are doubtlessly made from the floor scrapings of Sobranie Black Russians)?
Dubrovnik should be applauded for allowing indoor smoking under certain conditions – so why pick on pipe smokers in parks, whose contribution to the congenial atmosphere of a public garden should be applauded rather than derided?