Travels with pens: Suffolk

This trip had a lot riding on it. My first night away from home since February; in fact, more or less my first proper foray out of the house at all since lockdown started.

The destination? A short break to an old pile of a country farmhouse in Suffolk, for some R&R.

Naturally, I spent the night before departing planning out what stationery to take. I always work hard to encapsulate different pen styles, nibs, ink colours and so on in just a few choices that will keep me entertained for the duration.

Normally I’d stick to three or five pens, but this time I guess I’m out of practice, because I only managed to narrow it down to nine pens.

My Topo Designs bag was practically bursting at the seams with my journalling case, the Nock Burton, and my smaller carry case, the Nock Sinclair, plus a couple of standalones — and the rest of my daily carry, including the Surface Go that I’m writing this post on.

Of course I had to bring my new love, the Onoto Sequoyah, an English classic, loaded with the delightfully smooth and bright KWZ Turquoise and a practical fine nib.

I also brought another unreviewed pen, the TWSBI 580 AL Prussian Blue, with its sharp fine nib and its tank filled with Kobe #73.

Next the Visconti Midnight in Florence F, filled with a deep dark purple, Maruzen Athena Murasaki. Super wet and a great journalling combination.

The ST Dupont Line D / Elysee M, refilled just before departing with Montblanc Rose Burgundy, a classic colour for a classy pen.

My vintage Montblanc 149 EF, with Montblanc Velvet Red.

The Lamy 2000 Black Amber F, spontaneously refilled with Scribo Grigio. I have this ink in three pens at the moment, and it’s a total chameleon. I can’t get enough of it.

The Esterbrook JR M, inked with Scribo Rosso Melograno, a cheerful shade of red.

The Carolina Charleston in Primary Manipulation, with its crisp Masuyama italic and Montblanc Blue Planet, another fantastic recent ink.

I snuck into my bag the ystudio Copper Portable F, inked with a long cartridge of Edelstein Aventurine. This is a recent reacquisition since I reviewed it back in 2017, and I appreciate the design even more now than I did then.

Of course, my bag wouldn’t be complete without a tenth pen, a Schon Pocket Six. This one being my brass prototype, with another Masuyama italic and Diamine Terracotta.

So by my count that’s four reds, three blues, a green, a grey and a purple. Two italics, five fines, two mediums and an extra fine. A good mix.

We didn’t have any big plans for this trip, so writing opportunities have been plentiful, and I’ve been spoiled for choice when it comes to locations in this sprawling house full of character and autumn light.

A giant farmhouse kitchen table, with a beautiful view down the topiary lawn.

A dark burgundy study with a sloped writing desk and a nautical theme. I had serious desk envy.

Or in the tumble-down orangery with its indoor grapevines hanging over the table.

A suitably weathered backdrop for some pen photos.

Writing in a beautiful place like this is one of life’s quietly wonderful pleasures. It soothes the soul. And it was certainly good to get away from home with such a variety of writing companions!

18 thoughts on “Travels with pens: Suffolk

  1. I can understand the difficulty choosing for a trip, when we go for our winter break to Madeira I ruthlessly cut my pen numbers to every pen I own. I may need to work on ruthlessness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fantastic. Is it wrong that all I kept thinking about was the garden? There’s some skill and serious dedication in all that fine topiary.

    Love the look of that Onoto in that very apt setting, it looks almost like ebonite. I assume it’s not, the polish is exceptional either way. On the strength of the pleasant reminder I shall be inking a familiar one here forthwith!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The garden is exceptional. It also has a field of alpacas at the end, a duck pond to the side, and a summerhouse with a croquet set!

      You’re quite correct, the Onoto is not ebonite, and as you say the polish is fabulous!


    • It is, it’s numbered, has a polished clip, has ‘Lamy50’ on the cap, and is a slightly darker colour. They’re quite similar unless you have them side by side. A slight shift in exposure and white balance is enough to hide it.


  3. Had I not recently bought the Loch Ness Onoto, I would have definitely succumbed to the sequoia. Lovely.
    Notice that here also the section is a bit longer than on standard Magnas.


  4. I would like to be in that farmhouse right now, even though I do not do “countryside” in any way, shape or form! Intrigued by your selection of inks, too, especially the way you aren’t so matchy-matchy with the outside pen colour and inside ink colour.


    • I would rather like to be back there myself! 😂

      I often do matchy-matchy but sometimes a contrasting colour works — for instance the bright green with the copper ystudio, which I also have with my Montblanc Coral, inked with Montblanc Emerald. Choosing inks is hard enough without having to worry about matching all the time 😁


  5. Pingback: A posting dissenter – Pam Alison Knits

  6. I stumbled across this blog when looking for other bloggers with #suffolk. What a lovely find and reminder how important pens are. I love your photos of them. I didn’t understand what writers’ block was until writing my dissertation years ago. I seized up writing anymore on the computer. Eventually I put my lovely Cross fountain pen to paper and the words started flowing again. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of pens.


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