This should really have been a ‘travels with pens’ post, but honestly my holiday last week had very little pen content in it, and precious little holiday, for that matter. 300 miles in the car each way with two young children, various illnesses and injuries, and days out to the beach, aquarium and museums left little time to sit and contemplate with a pen in hand. Nor did I get the opportunity to visit any stationery stores.
Of course, I did take some pens with me.
My new Bellroy Venture Sling housed my Onion-skin Journal and Nock waxed-canvas Sinclair, filled with my Montblanc Martele, Lamy 2000 blue, and Kasama Una Panahon.
Portable duty was courtesy of my new Ensso pocket titanium and trusty Schon Pocket 6 Shipwreck, nestled in a double Rickshaw sleeve, and a Pebble pocket Tomoe notebook.
For crossword duty and kid drawings, my lightning-strike Tactile Turn Sideclick.
Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the gear loadout for a week.
Ensso far so good
The Ensso is worth a bit more discussion. I’d never bought anything from Ensso before, although they were on my radar, falling into the same mental bucket as Namisu. But the pocket pen really caught my eye, and I bought it on impulse, with a Bock titanium nib. It completely lives up to the marketing blurb and is the best rival yet in my opinion to the Schon P6. It really does have a very generous section, and the rounded bullet shape makes it easy to slip in and out of sleeves. Even with lightweight titanium construction, there’s enough metal in it to feel very solid, too. I’m impressed.
Onion skin paper: my verdict
I’ve been using the Onion-skin journal as my nightly journal for a few weeks now. It won’t replace Tomoe for me, but I’m really enjoying the experience. If you think Tomoe has ghosting, you ain’t seen nothing yet. By design, you can see through multiple sheets of this paper.
It’s more like tracing paper than anything else. Yet there’s no bleedthrough and no feathering. I did notice some unusual colour behaviour, though: some inks look very different on this paper than on more conventional stocks. Sailor 123 looks green:
The notebook itself is hardback, slim, square-cornered, with the foiled ouroboros on the cover. It’s a charming little thing.
My guilty ballpoint pleasure
The running joke in the pen community is that ballpoints are ‘devil sticks’, and that’s always been my personal view. But I’m finding myself using them more and more for quick notes, and on a particularly stressful work day just before my holiday, I even wrote a page of meeting notes in one. I appreciate the robust engineering of pens like the Sideclick, and the magnetic fun of the Spoke Roady. Maybe I’m getting too old for holy wars.
Karas Ink eggshell
See a trend emerging? I seem to be all about the machined pens at the moment. I have another one landing tomorrow, in fact: the Karas Ink in pale eggshell blue Cerakote. Again, with a Ti nib. I’ve reviewed the Ink a few times and always enjoyed and respected it. I started to see this limited edition version in my Instagram feed and, what the hell, here we go again.
From one ink to another
Now on to the liquid kind. I have, deliberately, not bought any ink since the London Pen Show. My ink stocks are overflowing, and I have to be more selective. But I have been enjoying Montblanc 80 Days blue, and Montblanc Scarlet Red, two of the new tie-in inks.
Wait, did I say ‘new’? If you haven’t already, do check out Montblanc-gate… proper investigative journalism in pen-world!
The dangers of pen meets
No, not the covid kind of dangers. I’m talking about temptation. Yesterday marked my first live pen meet in as long as I can remember. A few photos courtesy of Dave:
I had the pleasure of writing with a gorgeous £5k Pelikan maki-e:
And some hands-on time with various Viscontis and Sailors has rekindled my desire for some new pens that I really shouldn’t be coveting. If anyone has an ebonite King of Pen with medium nib and silver trim they want to pass on, drop me a line…
My ugly mug again
The kind folks at Iguanasell reached out a couple of months ago to interview me for their YouTube channel about my pen journey. The video just published last week, so if you’d rather listen to me than read me, you know where to go…
In the queue
Incoming (still) are pens from Scribo and Elbwood, the new Gioia Alleria colours, and perhaps some other surprises from Iguanasell and Cult Pens. As always, if you’re interested in me reviewing a product, give me a shout and I’ll try to get hold of one.