Simple pleasures

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.

333A750D-0096-49A8-B6AB-E1D29905FC19.jpeg

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!

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New ink day!

A post shared by Anthony Newman (@ukfountainpens) on

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?

17 thoughts on “Simple pleasures

  1. Old habits die hard!

    How do you find the Lamy 2000 Amber, is it much different to the stainless version? Like you I am spending too much time on the internet and have spotted a stainless one with an OB nib with has piqued my interest.

    Echo your sentiments on the small businesses who are really struggling at the moment, I have supported my local coffee bean supplier and the local pub and chip shop who are both doing takeout delivery services.

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    • I have owned a stainless 2000 and I would say there is not a ton of difference. The Amber feels lighter and the finish is more refined, but they’re quite similar. The OB nib will probably be interesting!

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  2. It’s all rather weird but happily me and mine are well. As for buying new FP stuff and supporting businesses, I totally get that, though there’s only so many I can do that for. That Primary Manipulation resin is beautiful. One day I shall treat myself to something similar. In the meantime take care of you and yours.

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  3. Coping ok up North now that a routine is well established. Impulse bought a PenBBS 469 the other day when I saw they had it available in the Moon River acrylic and that it was the last one remaining. Going to buy a gold semi-flex nib from Pablo at FPnibs for my Furore as soon as they make the option available on the updated website.

    Glad your keeping well.

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  4. I’ve been looking at getting a 3776, either with a UEF or soft fine nib. Where’d you find a blue rhodium with a UEF? From what I’ve seen, only blue gold ones have that option.

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  5. Great to hear from you and to have an update on the comings and goings of your collection. It’s interesting that you are revisiting some pens from your past such as the Pilot 823 and the Platinum 3776 with UEF nib (which looks great fun). The Jonathan Brooks pen looks stunning.
    Over here, I have been using the Platinum Curidas a lot over the past couple of months for letter writing and journaling, whilst my most used work pen is currently a humble Cross Bailey Light with Rohrer and Klingner Salix ink.

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  6. Unfortunately (or fortunately), being in close proximity due to home isolation has made my daughter catch a “bug” from me…FPs and inks. I was playing with my samples from shigure inks a couple of weeks back, as well as using the time I now have to clean and flush almost all my FPs. Before I knew it, she was not only asking me about my FP collection, but looking on websites. Then she cleaned out her desk and four 4 FPs I had gifted her years ago but never used (I had occasionally commented on the disuse and threatened to take them back). She’s now scouring online stores, and reviews.

    For myself, I have succumbed to two pens, the TWSBI Eco yellow (I had purchased the Coral EcoT and had buyer’s regret about not buying the yellow, so with the logic only a collector would understand, I gave my daughter the Coral, so it was one out/one in) and the Narwhal Hippocampus Purple, which I love love love. For now, no more FPs for me, but those ink sample vials seem to grace my doormat all too often…

    Stay safe and wash your hands! hearing that all too often these days

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  7. I got the Lamy 2000 Bauhaus last week. Lucky find from a retailer in Germany.

    Really liking the dark blue colour, prefer it much more than the black on standard version. As you mentioned in your Lamy review, should I have stopped when I first got the 2000? It really feels perfect in the hand and has got a really well tuned EF nib.

    I’m trying to sell all my other pens and just sticking with the 2000 for a few months as an experiment!

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      • I’m keen for the Lamy Dialogue CC release from Lamy too.
        And yes I won’t tempt you with the pens, I’ve found buyers already! Next is a set of inks that I need to sell. Might have to tempt you with that 🙂

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