Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Even France Has Had Injection of PC. There Is to Be No Smoking in cafAs and Restaurants after 2008; Voice of the North

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Even France Has Had Injection of PC. There Is to Be No Smoking in cafAs and Restaurants after 2008; Voice of the North

Article excerpt

Byline: willy poole

YOU could tell he did not like it. He turned and gave me a hard stare which made me very glad that I was in St James's, London, and not in Havana, Cuba. You see, he was the Cuban Ambassador and I had just trodden on his toe.

It was not my fault. Dinner had just been announced and I was in the jostle on the way to the dining room. The ambassador was coming up fast on my offside and I stepped backwards in the crush and on to His Excellency's neat little feet. Of course, I apologised (I had not seen His Tiny Excellence), but I imagine that Cuban apparatchiks are not accustomed to being trodden on by gordo (fat) gringos. His glare was most expressive and suggested that had this been Cuba and not the cigar dinner at my club, the matter would not have been allowed to rest there, on his toes as it were.

Anyway it was a very good dinner and we were given three cigars to sample. It was hardly surprising in the circumstances that one of the major topics for discussion was the future of cigar dinners and indeed, of all recreational smoking. I had consulted the secretary on the matter earlier. He said that they just did not know and until the actual details of the proposed Bill were published, no one would have any ideas of how we might proceed.

What a mess we are all in. Even France has had an injection of PC. There is to be no smoking in cafAs and restaurants after 2008. Indeed, you are no longer supposed to smoke on the station at Lille Europe, where you change Eurostar for the TGV or vice versa. However, the French are a very practical race and they have a useful phrase: "C'est seulement un peu interdit" (it is only a little bit forbidden). I remember an occasion, some years ago, Madame and I went to a restaurant in Paris. It was crowded and the only table available was labelled Defense de Fumer (I'll let you work it out, do you good). I explained to the friendly waiter that Madame was a desperate fumeuse. …

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