I was feeling a bit nostalgic today for the sumptuously described setting of Sherlock Holmes' apartments, in particular his well used, hand carved pipe. I don't know what it is about pipes that is so romantic. Smoking them certainly isn't. While it gives a man (or a woman) an air of sophistication and vintage charm, it also makes them smell awful, and there's nothing romantic about that. (Pipe smoke does smell better than cigarette and cigar smoke, but it's still not pleasant to a non-smoker's nostrils.) But perhaps it is just that sophistication that makes them a thing of beauty. I smoked a pipe for a very short time, and while smoking it was unpleasant, just having it in my hand or my mouth was relaxing. I could close my eyes and find myself in Holmes' sitting room, lounging in his favorite armchair by the fire, listening as he played on his violin. I was holding a piece of the imagined past between my lips. I still have the pipe and I still pretend to smoke it, just for the calming effect, and when I need an accessory for a Steampunk outfit.