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Friday, March 20, 2009

There and Back Again

Biz News - Fans of the more unusual Talbert Briars might want to take a look at this Ebay auction, on an odd piece done a couple years back for a special order. No new pipes from me, though, for reasons that are about to be obvious....


It seems like it has been a terribly long time since I have updated this blog, especially since the days when I could manage new posts each week, sometimes even every couple of days. Not so in 2008 - For us, like so many others, it has been a very difficult year and I have been too busy simply trying to stay fed and sheltered to keep up with my online writing. This may change soon, though, for today's picture is the harbinger of major news -

My wife and I are moving back to the United States!

We've lived nearly seven years in France. It's time. There are a multitude of reasons for the move - some expectedly angry and unpleasant, others fortuitous and perfectly timed. I may tell some harrowing stories in the future, but I don't want to dwell on specifics for the moment. Suffice to say that in one bright swoop, circumstances lined up ideally to enable us to make another transatlantic hop on our shoestring (nay, non-existent!) budget, and we chose to grab the opportunity. I write this sitting amidst packed boxes of books and clothes, and if all goes well, we should be leaving Brittany to return to North Carolina sometime in late April or May.

I depart France with the same jumble of extreme feelings I've had through all my time here. The people are wonderful, the bureacracy is a nightmare. The scenery is stunning, the communication is an eternal struggle. For every incredible vista of ruined castle overlooking rocky seaside cliffs, there are a dozen entreaties to government offices and business administration officials. It's nation where complete strangers will fly halfway across the country to bring you a bottle of their favorite wine, yet you have to literally scream and threaten violence just to get a fonctionnaire to acknowledge a fax. Living here has been like life with a beautiful trophy wife - lovely to look at, yet terribly difficult to maintain. But I know I will miss the place terribly, despite all the hassles, as we settle back into the relaxed, insular, Shire-like rythym of life in North Carolina. I can't help but think of Frodo Baggins, and wonder if I, too, will feel as though I'm "going back to sleep".

One aspect that I'm certain won't go back to sleep is my pipemaking - Talbert Briars will continue and carry on as always, and I look forward to once again being able to compete with the ranks of American pipemakers on an even footing, unhampered by the horrible dollar-to-euro currency imbalance that has dogged so much of our time here. It's also going to be a wonder to really be able to focus on my work again, without the pressures and immense weights of worry we have suffered for so long. All pipemaking will be shut down for the next several months, and our workshop is now closed in France. Some of the French machinery may be sold, some is definitely going with me, but it will take a long time to design and build our new workshop in the US, and until then there will be no new pipes (For those who may be interested, we have exactly two pipes remaining in stock for sale - one Ligne Bretagne and one Talbert Morta. Contact us soon if you're interested in either, before they get packed!)

I know the pipe community will probably have questions for us, but I'd ask that they be either posted here as comments, or held back until I can assemble a FAQ for this move, which will answer some of the obvious inquiries like, "Will Mortas and Ligne Bretagnes continue?", "Are you selling any of your stock and tools?", "Will your stamping change?", "Will your pricing change?", and so on. I have enough to do with the move, I'd as soon not have to type replies to the same questions many times over! And some questions have no answers as yet... The Ligne Bretagne stummels and hardware are going with me, for example, but I have not yet decided if they will change name. Morta pipes may continue if I can secure a reliable source of high quality blocks, but the material is hard to come by, and I am not interested in producing a substandard product. Time will tell...

In the very near future, the website will go offline except for a front page linking to this blog and our "Life in France" blog, where I hope to chart the progress of our move and our reactions to re-immersion in the American lifestyle and culture (Things I look forward to - KFC, good Mexican food, easy talking, and being able to get things accomplished without fifteen notarized attestations from the mairie and the préfecture plus stamped copies of every utility bill we've ever had and our marriage license. Things I do not look forward to - Loud, belligerent people, US non-health care, and Paris Hilton... though I think we have managed to foist her off on the Brits now). People interested in this social stuff may want to add us back to their Favorites for a bit, because the blogs are likely to be more active soon.

And speaking of, I'm currently looking for a good title for the "Life in France" blog if anyone has any ideas, since "An American Pipemaker in Brittany" won't work anymore. I'm going to miss sights like this being outside my front door...







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19 comments:

  1. Well this is the end of a story but also the beginning of an other.

    I wish you good luck and I hope that you will be back soon on the pipemaking.

    A fan of your work from belgium and member of fdp.

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  2. Dear Emily and Trever,

    It has been great for me to visit you and have diner in Herbignac a few years ago.

    I hope that you will keep nice "souvenirs" from France, even if bureacracy...

    Cheers,

    Nicolas

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  3. Good luck on the journey home. See you at a pipe show soon, I hope!

    Will

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  4. I should be at this year's CORPS show, finally! Maybe not with any pipes in tow, but at least there to chat. Now if I can just convince the French pipe guys to come visit over there... :D

    And yes, Nicolas, we will have GREAT memories of France and hope to come back on vacation someday.

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  5. Dear Trever,

    Sorry to see you go back to the States. It felt kinda nice having one of the best american carvers nearby. Anyway, I'll keep following your work. The bullhorn you made for me is one of the best smokers I have. Good luck and be well.

    Dirk,
    Belgium

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  7. Georgia and I hope to get to Chicago, Richmond, and the "new kid",
    http://www.westcoastpipeshow.com

    We'll take you two out for moules at CORPS!

    Will

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  8. Hi Trever,
    I'm not really surprised, France is a beautiful country for the holidays not to undertake...
    Then it's a good news for the USA !!
    Good luck.
    Best,
    Gilles.

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  9. Trevor,

    Thoughts of safe travel for you both.

    Jeff D.
    North Carolina

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  10. Hi Trever, Emily,

    sad but understandable news! I hope your move back to the US goes well. Too bad I never got around to paying you a visit in Herbignac!

    All the best from Germany,

    Martin

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  11. Wow, that's big news, Trever! Here's to safe travels and a minimum of hassles in the details of the move.

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  12. Woha.. Hope all goes well with the move Trever and Emily..So that meens I now have to travel all the way to North Carolina to visit you guys ;(

    Take care my friends

    Love & Sara

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  13. Great News. Welcome home to the Talberts; have a safe trip back home. USA is still the best Country on earth.

    Jake

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  14. Safe Journey. I am glad your move will bring you closer to the Piedmont Triad - much closer than Denmark or France for pipe making visits and discussions. The local wineries and breweries have improved since your departure...

    Cheers

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  15. Joerg Wittkamp, Cologne3/22/2009 6:11 AM

    Dear Emily, dear Trever,

    I think you have choosen the right decision. Even if I'm sad not to have visited you in Herbignac.
    Gaby and me are thinking often of you and the nice week we have had here in Cologne.

    All the best for you both. Stayed fit and well and I really hope to see you again sometimes.

    Have a good trip !!

    Best regards

    Joerg and Gaby

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  16. Thanks for all the well wishes, everyone! On the plus side, I hope this will make it much easier to see everyone again at pipe shows in future.

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  17. Cliff Melick3/22/2009 1:34 PM

    Damn you, Trever. Why did you have to wait so long? Anyway, even though I'm not smoking pipes any longer, I hope to meet you at the Corp show. It's only a three hour trip for me from Baltimore, and I'm going to try to make it this year.

    Best to Miss Emily.
    /Cliff

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  18. Here's hoping the move goes smoothly. I've admired your work for years; I know Brittany was a wonderful source of inspiration, and will probably continue to be. We'll be neighbors soon, and I hope to meet you in Richmond.

    Cheers,
    Leroy Kingman

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  19. Good luck on your move!! I hope all is well. I've been a fan of your pipes for a while, and as long as you are just moving and not giving up pipe making, then I'm all for what will make you guys happy.

    My wife and I have always entertained the thought of living in France for a short while. It's and incredible country. But all the things you mentioned have put a slight scare in me.

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