The Herf of Old London Town 6
By Peter Embling

Just as the THWACK of leather on willow is evocative to a cricket fan, so the WHOOSH of Blazer on leaf is manna to a herfer.

So it was to all that passed by Franco's on Saturday. A lone herfer, Paul, sat lonely and forlorn waiting for his fellow aficionados to arrive. And I did, some ten minutes past the appointed hour! Pretty uneventful apart from a "street trader" trying to sell us a "just bought them but now don't need them" box of R & J's at the bargain price of just about twice what we would pay for them! Not long afterwards we were joined by a rather pale and gaunt Pilot who was suffering from the effects of far too much socialising and herfing. Thank goodness no-one needed to get to Malaga that weekend!! We knew that there were one or two cancellations, but we also knew that Karl was on his way with Elliot and both their ladies, so we waited in what was now a wet, cold pavement cafe. Not our usual good start.

We adjourned to "The Blue Posts" opposite, just in time to greet Karl and Co at the door. They went for a coffee whilst Keith went to book a table at Green's and Paul and I tried the local brew. Elliot gave us the caps he had brought all the way from the US, and boy, were they worth waiting for!! Very high quality and totally innovative - a real bonus, and many, many thanks to Elliot for all his troubles.

  THOLT 6 Cap

From there we went to Green's, which is a handy, cheap (ish!!) restaurant close to where we herfers love to be!

Sadly Keith had to leave us before he could enjoy lunch, but the remainder of us enjoyed a splendid fish and chip lunch in luxurious surroundings that were totally cigar friendly. Great times.

The girls then left us to go do what they do best (shopping of course!!) whilst we, Paul, Karl, Elliot and myself did the tour of Dunhill, Davidoff and JJ Fox. At Dunhill, Llewellin was on holiday, but one of his colleagues was equally hospitable and allowed us to roam free within the store!

From there we went to Davidoff, which was busy, but still a good experience for our guest. Of course we saved the best until last, and so like moths to a flame we wandered down the road to see Tim.

In fact it was Bill who greeted us in JJ Foxes, until the golden bronzed figure of Tim arrived, recently back from yet another holiday. Such is the earning power at one of Britain's leading cigar retailers!! Paul, Karl and Myself had seen the museum before, but I hope Elliot was suitably impressed at seeing all the treasures therein.

Tim kindly agreed to give us the guided tour of the "keep", and although he must have shown dozens of people around, dozens of times, he still exhibited the kind of enthusiasm and excitement reserved for those lucky few who truly enjoy their job. We, the equally lucky "tourists" were still amazed by the sights within their stockroom, and I'm sure that Elliot was particularly blown away by the sights (and smells) that so few get to see. It would be inappropriate to mention too much about what we saw, and indeed it has been documented before, but not many herfers can claim to have seen so many unique and rare cigars before. Astounding!!

Time to meet the Ladies again...

A quick beer at the Blue Posts before we adjourned to Che for the evening meal. Tom was waiting for us and Mitch and the Babe joined us shortly afterwards. Mitch, true to form, arrived with a box of aged specials for us to enjoy, and kindly volunteered to stand the drinks as well!!. Those of us with trains to catch had to depart at this point, so I must leave the rest of the report to those who were there....

For those who wonder what was smoked, gifted and generally made available, well... you really should have been there, and if you couldn't, then I hope you'll REALLY want to be there for the next one!!