Smoking, a habit now reviled by the masses; but for me walking past a still burning cigarette, fleetingly catching the slow spiralling smoke as I breathe in, brings thoughts of home.
My grandfather was a pipe smoker; the aroma of tobacco swirling round him like mist. Pipe stem clenched between teeth, he would settle back in his chair and I would watch with wide eyes, fascinated by his groove worn teeth and blue blistered bottom lip that this habit had wrought over the years.
My father too brought the scent of tobacco with him. Bitter gauloises , or dutch apple,smoked from a briar; and occasionally the pungent smell of cigars that lingered in the curtain linings and clung to the empty wooden boxes we vied to claim as our own and fill with small treasures.
Coming through the front door after school to be greeted with that oh so familiar smell always brought the warm comfort of knowing that for now he was home and we were a family once more.