Me and Mrs Pufnsnuff go to the Colne blues festival here in the UK every year over the August bank holiday, and as time has gone on we've stretched it out to a week long holiday as the scenery up in the north of England is so beautiful.
This year I decided to see if we could go up to Kendal and find the Samuel Gawith snuff mill. We worked out directions, got to the marvellously confusing one way system around Kendal's town centre, went round it enjoying the views of the interesting old buildings (several times), then Mrs P rung them and they guided us in. Initially, when we rang they were concerned we were after a guided tour (which they don't do), but when we explained we were hoping to buy some snuff from them they said that was fine, and though they don't officially sell to the public there (there's no shop attached to the place) they'd see what they could do.
The mill is in an unassuming estate of old factories and workshops, and we parked up right outside the place. First thing you see is the sign hanging from the mill, next thing is the wonderfully worn brass sign on the door. What you next notice when you go through the door is the amazing scent of snuff and pipe tobacco. It's lovely, and has been seeping into the fabric of the building since the 1800's. Mrs P isn't a snuffer but she was enthused by the scent in the place - possibly it reminded her of her father, who was a pipe smoker.
We were met by one of the guys who work there (I'm sorry I didn't get his name, as he was so helpful), who asked which snuffs I was after, then showed me into their storeroom to select some. The thick floorboards of the room actually have a dip worn in them, where they've been walked on for so long.
He showed us the base grind they use to make some of their snuffs, told us a little about the various bases, then I picked out some tapboxes (remember, this is in the mill, so no worries about them being dried out) of Strawberry, Vanilla, KB Original and Honey, and then asked about my favourite, Black Coffee. He said he had one 25g tin available, so I explained that it had been out of stock for ages at Snuff Store, and if he could find any more I'd be very happy. To my delight he said he'd go and make some up for me, then showed us into their office to wait, where we met Bob Gregory. We had a lovely chat with him about cars (he's a Saab fan, as am I, and he'd managed to spot my 9000 as I parked up, even through the frosted glass of the office windows!), tobacco and snuff. He's a great character, showed interest in Roderick's plans to make snuff from tomato leaves, told me how the various snuff makers often help each other out. Then the other gentleman returned with three more tins of freshly made up Black Coffee, I paid up and we went on our way, with me a now very happy man.
I'm loving the Strawberry and the vanilla (it seems to be on a much darker tobacco base than Wilson's or Toque, and because of that seems 'richer' in scent). The honey is growing on me, and I've got the one tin of Black Coffee on the go, with the other three safely stashed away in the fridge, busy maturing. Should be amazing by the time I get to the last one.
Anyway, even allowing for an excellent blues festival and a visit to Lake Windemere it was the highlight of my holiday.