My Favorite Churchill Tales: Winston and the Bournemouth Bridge

How far would you go to win a friendly game of man hunt? Probably not as far as Winston Churchill. Even as a young man, he would never surrender.

A young Winston

A young Winston

When Winston was 18, he was spending his winter holiday from Harrow at his aunt Lady Wimborne’s  estate at Bournemouth. He described it as “forty or fifty acres of pine forest descended by sandy undulations terminating in cliffs to the smooth beach of the English Channel.”

Nice place

Nice place

One day Winston was playing with his younger brother and cousin in the woods. Soon they decided to chase Winston. A man who never took a challenge lightly, Winston began expertly maneuvering through the trees in an attempt to escape.

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After about twenty minutes, Winston found himself on an old, rustic bridge about 30 feet above the ground. He recounts the moment in his book My Early Life, “I saw to my consternation that the pursuers had divided their forces. One stood at each end of the bridge; capture seemed certain.”

The bridge at Bournemouth

The bridge at Bournemouth

Most of us would simply accept defeat and move on to another game, but Winston was too stubborn to quit that easily. Always quick on his feet, he soon concocted a plan.

But in a flash there came across me a great project. The chine which the bridge spanned was full of young fur trees. Their slender tops reached to the level of the footway. ‘Would it not,’ I asked myself, ‘be possible to leap on to one of them and slip down the pole-like stem, breaking off each tier of branches as one descended, until the fall was broken?’

Makes sense

Makes sense

With little time to spare Churchill had to make a decision. “To plunge or not to plunge, that was the question!” He decided to plunge. Three days later he regained consciousness.

God speed

God speed

Luckily after extensive therapy and Winston’s “will-to-live” he soon recovered.

What I love about this story is how it portrays Churchill’s raw potential as a young man and how it was molded into the great wartime leader he eventually became.

The Churchill Bow Tie: Where to Buy and How to Tie

The bow tie has always been a symbol of sophistication and class. From an Oscars after party to a royal ball at Buckingham Palace, one will always see the upper-crust of society sporting brilliant bow ties. Winston was no exception.


You don’t get any more upper-crust than T-Swift

As a young man Churchill, like any other aristocrat, wore his fare share of bow ties when necessary. Later on in life though, he took on his signature blue and white dotted bow tie as a tribute to his father, Lord Randolph Churchill (who wore a similar styled bow tie).

A portrait of Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston's father

A portrait of Lord Randolph Churchill

Winston’s particular bow tie was crafted by renowned British craftsmen at Turnbull & Asser. For anyone interested in a more affordable product, I recommend looking into similar styles offered by Pinch & Pull Accessories and

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Now onto the hard stuff. When I first attempted tying a bow tie it felt akin to what I imagine defusing a bomb or conducting open heart surgery is like.

The struggle is real

The struggle is real

The best way to master this skill is to simply practice it over and over and over (did I mention and over) again. Below are 9 steps to tying bow tie (thanks to for their helpful gifs).

Step 1: Tie sizing

Before you start tying your bow tie you need to make sure it is set at the correct length. All you need to do is look at the back of the tie and slide the metal clasp into the slot that matches your collar size. Not all bow ties are created equal so you may need to have some ties set at different lengths in order to fit properly.


Step 2: Tie Placement

Next you need to place the tie around your neck with the right side being about two inches lower the the left.

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Step 3: Cross Over

Now you need to cross the right (longer) side over the left (shorter) side.


Step 4: Pull Behind

After crossing over, pull the right side back under the left side and though the hole at the top of your collar.


Step 5: Fold

Take the left side and fold it horizontally behind the right side at the top.

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Step 6: Pinch

Now pinch both ends of the left side together so that they are pointing away from your chest.


Step 7: Pull

The trickiest step of all, pull the right side up to the left of you collar and shove it in the middle through the ties hole.


Step 8: Adjust

Put your index fingers through the looped pieces of clothe on each side while pulling the single pieces away from each other, creating a smaller knot in the center.


Step 9: Look like a Grade A Gentleman

No explanation needed

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How to Smoke a Cigar Like Winston

442d6224-3d86-46ea-88e5-0b61cc3f8456To call Winston Churchill an avid cigar smoker does not begin to describe how pivotal these tobacco filled tubes were to him from 1895 until the day he died. Smoking cigars was as much a part of Churchill’s daily routine (8 to 10 a day) as eating three meals or bathing is to most people. His lifetime love of cigars (particularly Romeo y Julieta‘s) was so great that there is an official “Churchill” sized cigar.

Churchill's doctors were not a fan

Churchill’s doctors were not a fan

Churchill’s style of smoking cigars was just as unique as he was. First he would poke a hole in the end of it with an extra long match instead of using a cutter and would then blow through the cigar to check its draw.

Long match + cigar = happy smoker

Long match + cigar = happy smoker

After lighting his cigar, Churchill would not smoke it quickly. In fact, he preferred to let his cigars go out and chew on them for a while before re-lighting them.

"I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar." -Churchill

“I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar.” -Churchill

When it was time to dispose of his ashes he always had his favorite ash tray on hand which was made of silver and shaped like a pagoda.

What I imagine Churchill's ashtray looked like. Can't find an actual photo. If you have one, please post in comments below.

What I imagine Churchill’s ashtray looked like. Can’t find an actual photo. If you have one, please post in comments below.

One of Churchill’s most important rules was to smoke his cigars down to the last couple of inches (which would then be used as pipe tobacco by his gardener, Mr. Kearnes).

The cigar nub packs a spicy punch

The cigar nub packs a spicy punch

In short, Winston’s three main rules for smoking a cigar are:

1. punch a hole with a long match instead of using a cutter

2. take your time while smoking

3. smoke down to the very last inch

Happy smoking!

Happy smoking!

P.S. Thanks to Cigar Aficionado for their informative article!