No - unlike most rants about smoking, I'm not against it. I love it. I gave up for ten years, started again and never looked back. Now the only place I can smoke is in my own home and car, and how long will I be able to do that? I foresee smoking while driving becoming a punishable offence soon, as the enjoyable pursuit of going to the pub has now been downgraded to going and having a drink in an uncomfortable outside space herded together like sheep awaiting the dip.
And even there - they're complaining! Listening to the radio yesterday I couldn't believe that the anti-smoking brigade are now complaining that we've gone outside! Will they not be satisfied until smoking has been banned altogether? Don't answer that - of course they won't. Ron Liddle, resident smoking campaigner for The Times, says it all. Times online has all related articles, and says it all much better than I can, but one of the nastier side effects of the ban, as pointed out by one of his readers, is the setting of neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend. I have already seen that, and I know that this post will lose me friends, too. By the way, if Ron Liddle was older, or I was younger, I'd want to marry him. Definitely my sort of bloke, and sounds just like Arthur Smith.
The Victorian Society have a campaign running called Holiday at Home, extolling the delights of the British Seaside Holiday, of which I need no reminding. This reduces our - ahem - carbon footprint by abnegating the need to fly. And yes, I do mean abnegating - look it up. However, when we get to our delightful seaside hotel/apartment/cottage/caravan, we won't be able to smoke, even though hotel rooms are supposedly free from the ban. Ha! So those of us who would actually prefer to spend a week in a hotel in, say, Broadstairs or Salcombe or Ventnor, would be forced to spend most of it on the prom or the beach, assuming that the beach hasn't become a no-dogs and no-smokers area for the summer months. So where do we go. Abroad, that's where we go. And even there, in my favourite small hotel in my favourite tiny village in Turkey, my fellow Brits will wave their hands busily in front of their faces and disapprove. Don't care.
I find I am also being careful about smoking in my own house. I had a meeting in my front room the other day. All lovely people, six men, one woman and me. I had the window open all day, lit candles and had a cigarette in the garden before they arrived. Wine had been contributed to the meeting, and I'm sorry, but I did light up twice. No doubt some of those very nice people will have gone home, stripped off, shoved all their clothes in the washing machine and had a shower to get rid of the smell of my two cigarettes. I felt like apologising to them. Neither can I smoke when my grandson comes to visit, which made last Boxing Day somewhat of an ordeal. However, he IS my grandson and the child of my eldest daughter, whom I love dearly, so I abstain.
Yes, I know all the health risks. But it's my choice. Nothing else, it appears, is. I am lectured by everyone who thinks they have the right to dictate to me - and that's most people, believe me. My human rights are being abraded (another one! Good isn't it?) and the government is sneakily turning us into an Orwellian society. Seriously, if it wasn't for my children, I would leave the country. And if anyone reads this , don't bother to comment. I can hear your cheers at the last statement from here.