Travels with pens… my gosh, it’s been a while. And the travel available to us here in the UK is still really only domestic. But the opportunity to pick out a selection of pens to accompany me to a place with a different view is one I still relish, every time, no matter the destination.
This week just passed I was in Devon, not far from places like Woolacombe where I once holidayed as a child.
This time I had my own two children with me — how time flies. And as you might expect, there was very little time for writing.
I journalled a page or two in the evenings, but other than that my bag was packed with suncream and nappies and buckets and spades, not fountain pens and notebooks. The closest I got to a writerly retreat was on the first day, when I took the photos below.
So what did I take?
Mostly, I wanted a mix: some new pens, some new inks. I initially planned to bring just three pens, but any pen addict knows that is an impossible choice. So I whipped out my amazing Hand Roll from Rickshaw and filled it with six pens, with relief.
The first pen is the Venvstas Magna CC. The more I use this pen, the more I like it. With the better QC and other improvements in this latest version of the pen, I’m finding it a real pleasure to write with: balanced, tactile and precise. I totally get it now.
I couldn’t very well leave behind one of my newest arrivals, the Kasama Una Panahon. In grip and ethos it’s the exact opposite of the Venvstas, locking you into a hold. But they’re both unconventional designs that play with materials.
This pen is a sensory overload, with the lightning crackle of the section, the stony texture of the cap and barrel, made from PEEK superplastic impregnated with stone. It is unique and full of personality. And the ink is a new one for me too, Terracotta from Vinta. It goes down bright zingy orange then sets to a warm clay.
Third up is my latest Franklin-Christoph, a model 03 in Coke bottle Antique Glass, with a Nagahara Needlepoint. I inked it with Vinta Sirena, a perfect match. A delicate nib and ink for delicate thoughts. I’m enjoying the feeling of writing with this pen immensely.
By the time you read this, my updated top three pens video with Appelboom may be live — revealing this Lamy 2000 Bauhaus Blue as my first pick. I reinked it recently, from KWZ Azure #5 to Vinta Magnetic Blue, from the gorgeously 80s Neon range. Neon is the right word.
This pen, the Montblanc Martelé, also got a shout out in my Appelboom video. It too had a reink this week, with Fumo di Londra from Venvstas. To be honest I think there’s a little bit of purple left from the last fill, so this grey has a definite purple tinge — but not unpleasantly so.
And last but not least, Aurora’s Nettuno. I have rather forgotten what it’s like to write with broad stub nibs, but I’m glad to be relearning the skill — and to be writing with Birmingham inks again, like my old favourite Boiler Steam Blue Black.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the true EDC pens in my bag: the Tactile Turn Side Click in zirconium, the Spoke Roady, perfect for crosswords, and of course a Schon Pocket Six — appropriately for a coastal holiday in Shipwreck finish.
Waiting for me on my return was Far Too Much Stuff. My poor neighbours had five parcels for me, including this rather gorgeous one-off Penwell, which to me looks like waves lapping on a shore. A fitting memory of the trip, I think.
And a new favourite blue: Montblanc’s Verne tie-in. ‘Around the world’ might be stretching it, but I saw a few boats for sure!
Thanks for reading!