I promise I won’t go all Covid-noodling on you, but now seems a good time to reflect on things a little bit. Hello to those of you out there who still follow this humble blog even in its dormant state.
My poor, overloaded doormat
For all my assertions that I was done with pen buying, that’s not quite turned out to be accurate.
I sold a few pens in my last sale, but that didn’t reduce the number overall.
Part of the reason for that is that I took three pens in trade for my Ocean Swirl. I fully intended to sell those three pens on, but, damnit, two of them ended up being great.
One is a Pilot 823 FA. This is, hilariously, my third or fourth 823, and my second with the FA nib. I always seem to end up buying one then not getting on with it. This one I did get on with, at least once I opened up the nib a little. It’s loaded with KWZ Grey Plum and it’s just smashing. It feels long, and sharp, and agile. Even the gold trim doesn’t bother me.
The other is a Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, with a fine nib. The nib is very precise, which plays in to my current mood for finer nibs (more on that in a minute). And something about the matte finish makes this one feel less cheap than other Sailors. I miss the zingy colour of my Shumibun, but this one immediately earned a place in my pen tray.
I did a catch and release on a Platinum 3776 with a broad nib, mainly to try out some pigmented inks from Inkstand in Japan. The nib didn’t work for me: something about small pens with big nibs feels wrong. But it got me thinking about the Ultra Extra Fine 3776 I used to have. So I ordered one. And it’s a blinder.
So there’s that.
And I rounded out my collection of Lamy 2000s with a Black Amber, bought on a FOMO wave as I saw they were out of stock everywhere. I swapped the medium nib for a fine via Lamy’s nib exchange programme. I wish I hadn’t, because this is the least good of all the Lamy nibs I’ve ever used. Hey ho.
I’m not done yet, either.
I have been longing for a pen in Jonathon Brooks’s Primary Manipulation resin for a long time. I’m not normally one for crazy colours, but there’s something about it that looks like a nebula. I snagged one from the man himself, which since he’s going through a tough time healthwise at the moment makes me feel good.
It’s not arrived yet, but damn, look at the picture.
And I’m proud to support a UK maker too: I finally ordered an ebonite pen from Duncan at Clyde Pen Co. I was discussing a review sample from Duncan before I put the blog on ice, but this one I bought with my own cash. Doesn’t it look a little like a Namiki?
Again, it’s not yet arrived, but I can’t wait.
Inkwise things have been… a little busy. I got six inks from Inkstand, as mentioned above. Because they’re pigmented, they look like paint, not ink.
They look crazy in demonstrators, like the yellow and rose gold TWSBI Ecos that I somehow also managed to buy. Oops.
I picked up full bottles of the two Pilot Anniversary colours I liked best, Bishamonten and Hoteison.
And just this week the two new Montblanc inks arrived: a greenish turquoise to tie in with the barmy Moctezuma pen, and a burgundy for the new Little Prince. They’re nice. I have managed to resist buying the pens, though!
I’m pleased to say that I’m not just acquiring, but using. Despite the lockdown, my work is as busy as ever, and I rotate through my pens filling pages of meeting notes and copy drafts every day. Before bed, once I’ve finally got the kids to sleep, I find solace in a page or two of A5 journalling in my Elia Note.
The perils of all this time on the internet
I’ve written at length on this blog about the unhealthiness of collecting, of blogging, and the shopping that goes with it.
My willpower has been tested (and you’ll see I’ve failed) during the Covid lockdown. Not only do I have even more time to spend on the internet, I also see the damage being wrought on small businesses across the world — including the stationery retailers I’ve come to rely on and even think of as friends.
I want to support small businesses, so I’m getting fruit and veg, beer, cheese, and bread from local companies either via collection or delivery, and that makes me feel good.
But even this positive motivation has a negative side. I have found myself sat on the internet and nearly, oh so nearly, justifying buying another expensive pen not based on whether I need it, but in order to support a retailer. Sometimes I despair at my own brain.
How are you guys doing out there?