A truly extraordinary day at BHVape
While no two days aboard the Vapouround bus are the same, you do come to expect some things to pan out in a certain way. One thing you don’t expect is to be greeted at your destination with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for a cup-winning football team, but such was the case at BHVape in Bournemouth.
As our expert driver inched the bus into a seemingly-impossible space, Johnnie Lovell and his team waved excitedly, smiles lighting up their faces. We hopped off and gratefully accepted the first of many offers of coffee. Not a bad start to the day!
Before opening the bus to the public, we took a few minutes to check out the shop. Packed with knick-knacks and curios, BHVape has the air of a curiosity shop about it. You could certainly imagine Johnnie operating it as such in another era.
Doughnuts-in-hand, we opened the bus to the locals and the many customers already relaxing in the café area of the shop. Long-time BHVape customer Tom shared his story – a familiar tale of slipping back into bad habits before finally quitting for good.
“I would never go back now. I took a drag of a cigarette recently and it instantly reminded me of my first ever puff as a kid. Such a nasty, horrible taste. Vaping does come with its own set of issues – I’m forever cleaning VG from my windows for one thing – but that’s nothing compared to what you put up with as a smoker.”
Throughout the day I alternated between the bus and the shop, where it became increasingly difficult to find somewhere to sit. Even a couple of pet dogs lay flopped below their owners’ feet.
One all-too-common criticism of some vaping shops is their cliquishness. BHVape is the exact opposite – as much a welcoming community centre as a supplier of vape products. It’s no wonder people were sticking around.
As BHVape’s Alex played Mega Man X on the SNES on the bottom deck of the bus, customers upstairs tried some e-liquids on the Vape Station. Old Skool Vape’s Mayhem was proving to be very popular, with one vaper commenting that it would go very well with a vodka and coke. We, of course, stuck to coffee and doughnuts (of which BHVape seemed to have a limitless supply.)
Vaping is above all about health. I spoke to no fewer than four people affected by COPD who had made the switch to vaping with their doctors’ blessing. It was a reminder of just how fortunate we are in this country to not only have the support of the government and NHS but also laws that allow for the likes of BHVape to operate.
After yet more coffee, some goodbye hugs and a few photos, we were back on the road, with Johnnie’s promise ringing in our ears.
“Come back in the summer. I’ll have a band, I’ll have a BBQ. We’ll put the ‘B’ in Bournemouth!”