Am vaping.

The best thing about vaping is that I can reinstate smoking in bed!  Also:

  • I might add a few extra years to my life in which to lose my marbles and force my kids to look after me.
  • I will smell less ashtrayish.
  • I will be able to take part in full evenings with my mates instead of missing bits due to standing outside alone.
  • Youngest will stop coming outside to tut at me, remind me I’ve got black lungs and ask questions about why I do it, the answers to which make me feel like a gigantic pile of dog-ends.
  • I will have more money for jumpers and custard creams.
  • I can greet the appearance of rain with a simple ‘oh dear’ rather than a full tantrum because I’ll spend most of my day standing in the garden under a brolly.
  • The 4am panicky am-I-dying sessions may ease.

The worst thing about vaping is:

  • It’s not a fag.

It’s also rather a shame that I should be attempting to cut down the fags when I’ve just discovered this:


It was my Grandmother’s and it ended up with me after she died, an ancient relic from a time when smoking was a glamorous lifestyle choice and came with sexy paraphernalia.

My Grandmother had crystal and porcelain ashtrays dotted all around her house, alongside those heavy table-top lighters. Her mornings would begin with her seated at her dressing table, with coffee, smoking her first cigarette as she contemplated her wardrobe.

Her nails were always long and perfectly manicured in bright, glossy colours. Her lips would always be brilliantly lipsticked in a matching shade. The way she held a cigarette between those dazzling fingers and brought it up to her shiny lips was like watching a movie star in action. Mesmerising to me as a child.

From the age of fourteen I was allowed to smoke with her. Visits would begin with her patting the sofa next to her, opening the heavy marble cigarette box on the table and offering me a Silk-Cut Superking with a “come on then darling, tell me everything”.

And yes, she is one of those smokers who lived to a ripe old age which I put entirely down to the fact that she could smoke in the comfort of her front room instead of spending years catching pneumonia outside.

Of course her daughter, my mum, smoked too. She didn’t make it seem quite so glamorous, but she did give the impression that smoking had the magic gift of being the drug for all occasions; it helped you to concentrate AND to switch off, to console AND to celebrate. She would never be without one, even in hospital because this was the 80’s when it was totally allowed to smoke in a bed, on a ward, or at least in the patient’s room down the hall.

She died young, at 41, so we’ll never know if her years of smoking would have killed her in the end. When she was at her most ill, sharing a fag with me was her way of wordlessly saying “I’m still here and I still love you” and for me to say “I’m still here and I know”.

I don’t need fags to tell my kids I love them. I don’t want to need fags at all. I want to leave them behind with all those associated childhood memories, good and bad.

The trouble is, I do still love them so…