Have a cigarette? No thanks. A pipe of baccy? No thanks. A cigar, then? No,no.?
Have a cigarette? No thanks. A pipe of baccy? No thanks. A cigar, then? No,no. Thus Hassan Abdullah Burro, of Cardiff. For Hassan, who hails from Aden, in the Middle East, smokes only rope - clothes line to be precise.
He gets through two coils of it a week; and at 54 feet a length, this means he smokes over a hundred feet of rope a week. Twice a week for months Burro walked into the little dockland store and said: "A clothes line, please:". He never bought anything else. Just clothes lines. Dozen and dozens of them. At 2/9d for a 54 foot length of new white rope a very cheap smoke at present-day prices.
At first the shopkeeper was just a little curious. But as the months went by and Hassan appeared for his two rolls of jute clothes line a week, he became a bit suspicious. What, he wondered could anyone want with such a lot of rope a week. Came the day when our friend from Aden walked into the shop, in Butetown, Cardiff, and said, as usual, "A clothes line, please." The shopkeeper replied, "You tell me what you do with them."
Hassan replied: "Me smokum." So the little mystery was solved. Little Hassan, a 64-year-old seaman, really did smoke the clothes lines - two a week. 108 feet of cool, satisfying puffing. And to prove it he showed our reporter the three-feet high "hubble-bubble" pipe he uses. It has a six-feet long tube to puff at and a tank of water to cool the smoke.
Hassan coils three feet of rope and gets it smouldering on the fire. He puts it in the pipe bowl - and then begins his 9-foot drag. The water in the tank bubbles like an old geyser. And Hassan closes his eyes in pleasure.
Hassan Abdullah Burro insists on new rope for smoking. "Old rope bad for chest," he said.