Goodbye: for real this time

Today is as good a day as any to wind up ukfountainpens.com.

Unlike my previous end-of-year writeups and other similar posts, I’m not going to indulge myself in a lengthy review of what I’ve achieved or learned over the past five years.

Don’t worry: I have a wonderful tray of pens, I enjoy writing with them just as much as ever, and I have no doubt I will buy (and sell) more in the months and years ahead.

But I’m starting a demanding new job and other new chapters of my life. I have human ‘stuff’ going on.

While the narcissistic side of my brain may enjoy having a prominent soapbox here, the sensible side of my brain knows I should stop this distraction of buying and writing about fountain pens, and instead focus on the essential parts of living life. I just can’t keep all the plates spinning any more.

I expect I’ll be posting a load of pens and other stuff here for sale over the next few days.

After that, I’ll probably delete this site and everything on it. There are plenty of other blogs out there covering this patch at least as well as I do; the internet doesn’t need me clogging it up, especially since it costs me money to keep the lights on.

To all you readers: thanks for reading. And particularly thanks to those who have donated to keep this site running.

To the brands and retailers that have worked with me: thanks for your trust and support. I wish you all the best.

If you’d like to reach me in the future, you can find me at ukfountainpens@gmail.com. I’ll check that address periodically.

So long, and thanks again.

43 thoughts on “Goodbye: for real this time

  1. Anthony
    While I’ve often envied a lot of your pen choices (and been puzzled over some of them, especially some you have sold), I have always enjoyed reading your thoughts, sound advice and occasional rants. Thank you – and take care in all your human “stuff” to come…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wish you the very best Anthony. I’ve always enjoyed your musings and very much envied your pens. May they bring you much joy and each has a story to tell (which you shared with us😃)
    Good luck with you new job that deserves a “new” pen and pen case! Hope all your human stuff still gives you time to smell the roses even if it’s only rose scented Ink!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll be sorry to see the end of UK Fountain pens, it was an email I looked forward too opening, but wholeheartedly understand your reasons behind your decision. Life doesn’t so much get in the way, it goes on, and this is another episode in yours.

    I hope you have great success with your job and wish you all the best for the future.

    I’ll hope to see you at a pen show sometime.

    May your nib always be wet and your pen, full!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to see your blog go, You are one of the best pen critics out there (strike through “one of”). Your reviews and commentary were always thoughtful and superbly written (if your writing is not one of your points of pride, it should be). I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Anthony! I am sorry to see you go! I enjoyed reading your blogs. Good luck on all your future endeavors.

    Best wishes from Holland, Marjorie

    Van: UK fountain pens Datum: zondag, 27 maart 2022 om 11:13 Aan: Marjorie Turien Onderwerp: [New post] Goodbye: for real this time Anthony posted: ” Today is as good a day as any to wind up ukfountainpens.com. Unlike my previous end-of-year writeups and other similar posts, I’m not going to indulge myself in a lengthy review of what I’ve achieved or learned over the past five years. Don’t worry”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anthony, Like many others here, I will be sorry to see the end of this blog. I have always enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you – for all your writings over these past five or so years. I hope we will keep in touch and I wish you every success with your new job and all your future plans.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a fellow lefty fountain pen user I have very much enjoyed your musings over the last couple of years. Although I couldn’t possibly afford many of the pens you reviewed I have now a little “wish list” for the future. Wishing you all the best as you start a new adventure in your life.
    Sharon

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  8. Anthony, thank you for very interesting articles, opinions and views.
    I hope all goes well with the new job and ‘human stuff’.
    All the best and take care.

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  9. Thank you for your insight and all the best to you in your new endeavors! I will miss your posts. I will keep an eye out for your “pen sale”. You have an amazing collection! Cheers!

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  10. Anthony,

    Like everyone else, I will miss your blog, your reviews, and commentary, but understand all too well that sometimes we have to let go of things to save our sanity. If you ever start blogging again, let us know.

    Ruth

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  11. Sorry to see you go but hope you will have fond memories of the blog for the years to come. It’s been a very entertaining read, and greatly appreciated.

    Take care and I wish you all the best for the new challenges ahead.

    Martin

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  12. You may feel that your blog was just another one of many, but you had a real, tangible impact on the pen community. You’re reviews were always superbly written and fun to read, even when I had no intention of buying the pen. You’re one of the few reviewers who is critical enough about pens, and who I really trust and look up to when it comes to them. The loss of your blog will be a big one. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us!

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  13. Hi, I have never commented on this site, but I think I should do it now. I think I may have read all your posts since the early days. Your observations about pens are usually the most acute and insightful I could find; and your reviews are analytical, correct (based on the pens I owned and that you reviewed). All posts are well written and pervaded with a subtle sense of humor. Summing up, I think that it’s not true that “there are plenty of other blogs out there covering this patch”. This is a very, very valuable resource to the global fountain pen community. In the name of all your future readers, I would ask you not to delete it. Just leave it as it is. Moreover, you never know that in 5, 10 years, you will take it on again from where you left it. To fund it, you could have a kickstarter, kofi, have a WordPress Donation Plugin, or just post a paypal acct. I am happy to contribute $30. 20 other people like me, and the hosting should be all set for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey! Funnily enough I’ve had a ‘donate’ button on the site for years — despite occasional pleas and reminders, it gets very little use. That’s been one of my motivators for retiring: I’m not out to get rich, but donations and ad revenue amount to relatively little and I’m acutely aware of time spent!

      But I do very much appreciate the kind words. It’s nice to know I’ve made a difference!

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  14. Selfishly I’m sorry to see that this is the end of your blog, but we all understand about needing time for more important things. You’ve been extremely prolific and have put out a product that anyone would be proud to have done. Congratulations on your new job, and enjoy the new direction life is leading. One request. How about locking the comments to the blog but leaving the posts like Matt Armstrong did? The community would benefit from your work for years to come. As we say over here, alright man have a good one.

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  15. Best wishes to your new endeavors! Have really enjoyed the blog and the care you take with it–I have learned so much. Thank you for much enjoyment and education. Best, Holly

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  16. First off, thanks for everything you’ve contributed and I totally understand the desire to dial things back. I implore you to find a way to keep the information accessible. The internet needs more QUALITY information these days, not less —and I found this site to be very high quality. You have a knack for writing reviews on pens that can’t be found elsewhere. Your coverage of Onoto pens for example (helped me while buying mine!).

    I don’t have an easy solution for keeping everything online without costing money. Maybe move your blog to a free WordPress site? Maybe bundle all your reviews into a PDF or Ebook format and distribute it via Amazon, Apple Books or Gumroad?

    Thanks again for all the work you put into the site.

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    • Yeah, like you say, there’s no easy solution. I have tens of gigabytes of images and videos, way more than free services allow (that’s partly why my premium WordPress costs money, along with the domain that comes with it). Exporting, formatting and publishing to an ebook? What happens to all the crosslinks etc?

      Fact is, there is a donate button that has *already been live in the sidebar for years*, and if people start using that then great, I can just leave the site live. But it seems a little counterproductive for me to invest MORE time and effort at a time when I need to step back. Also while the site is live I’ll continue to get multiple emails each week from people asking questions. I can of course ignore them, but it’s a constant reminder of something I really should be moving on from.

      I guess I should say one last thing, since I can anticipate one possible solution: while it may benefit the community, I do NOT give consent to have my site scraped and archived and reposted elsewhere under a different domain, certainly without being compensated for it (and this is where the ‘quality’ and ‘value’ assessments will be sorely tested). I am proud of my work and I assert my copyright.

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      • Yeah an ebook or PDF format would take a little work to ensure that links are either functional or stripped. Also heads up: if you take your site completely offline, you may actually receive *more* email. I once had a very low profile website that I decided to scrap and the “lurkers” really came out of the woodwork asking if I could re-publish, etc. Probably no matter what you do, someone will be upset (aka “welcome to the internet” 😉

        Perhaps there’s a forum where you could scrape your own posts to publish for posterity. Maybe the “greatest hits” at the very least. (Fountain Pen Network, Reddit, et al)

        As for donations, it’s kinda tough as I’m someone who certainly doesn’t mind rewarding authors for their work. But the system is so fractured: Patreon, YouTube Membership, PayPal donation, Buy Me a Coffee, et al. On one hand PayPal is pretty straightforward but I actually run into issues personally with my bank vs. PayPal vs. “international payments” etc. And then there’s privacy and data hygiene practices: some donation methods are more opaque than I’m comfortable with when it comes to sending money to a non-business entity overseas. 🤷‍♂️

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      • Donations is indeed fractured. I looked into it when I first set up my button and decided PayPal was probably the most widely used, so I went for that. But I know it’s not for everyone.

        As to the forum idea, I have the same issue as with the Wayback Machine idea previously mentioned. I can see why it benefits readers, because it means my content stays live and accessible for free. I can’t see what it does for me, because a) there’s a setup cost of time moving stuff over, testing, etc, b) I’m not interested in posterity, and most importantly c) I lose control of my work. Once it’s on a third-party site it is out of my hands and out of my visibility (usage stats etc). To me it was always non-negotiable that I publish on my own site, with my own web domain, entirely under my control and my copyright. I may not be interested in continuing this blog, but I am not willing to donate five years of writing and photography to the public domain.

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  17. Thank you, Anthony, for all you have contributed to the fountain pen scene through this blog. I must say that it was your comments on the Leonardo Momentum (3 or 4 years ago) that persuaded me just a few weeks ago to buy my first Momentum – and then a second Leonardo, a Furore – both of which I am very pleased with! So, best wishes to you as you move on in life. And thanks again.

    Like

  18. many thanks, anthony. your writing has been a pleasure. your reviews, surveys, musings about the whys and whats of your collecting – i enjoyed it all a great deal. so naturally, i am sad to see pretty much my favourite pen blog go. but at the same time, your reasons are very hard to argue with as well. i wish you all the best, on the new job of course, but mainly with the human stuff. what could be more important than that?

    an aside concerning posterity: you could make backups of blog posts on the wayback machine – that way, it wouldn’t be all lost, and it wouldn’t be a drag on your wallet either.

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    • Actually the site is already scraped by archive.org, although I’m not totally happy about that. As I replied to another commenter, my work is mine, and I like to have control and visibility over where and how it’s accessed, to the point of being able to see the visitor logs. I’m quite uptight about intellectual property. I can see why having an archive freely available scraped on Wayback is beneficial for readers, since they can continue to access my work for free, but I can’t see how it meets my needs or benefits me (aside from zero cost). In particular, if I delete the site and archive.org keeps the backup, I have no control over that content, no easy way to edit, delete, reclaim, update, monetise or reproduce that content in the future beyond the blunt instrument of a DMCA takedown notice. Whereas if I export the WordPress site locally and delete it from the web, I retain full control of my creation for future use. It may sound curmudgeonly and selfish, but I feel I’ve already given enough to the community without also totally and irrevocably donating millions of words and thousands of pictures to the public domain.

      Like

      • oh no, totally not curmudgeonly and selfish – i see that as a reasoned and principled stance. hence me asking if that would be an option *for you* to take instead of blindly assuming it to be fair game.

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      • > I’m quite uptight about intellectual property.
        > I’ve already given enough to the community without also totally and irrevocably donating millions of words and thousands of pictures to the public domain.

        Small correction: by allowing archive.org to scrape and host your content you *don’t* automatically waive your copyright, you’d have to do so by explicitly relicensing your work (eg. under CC0 license).
        Further, it is actually not that easy (and in many countries even outright impossible) to deliberately release your work into the public domain (i.e. completely abandoning your copyrights) without being dead for 70 years.

        > can see why having an archive freely available scraped on Wayback is beneficial for readers, since they can continue to access my work for free

        Not only for free, but they/we can continue to access it _at all_. If you delete your site, all links pointing to it eg. from other fountainpen-blogs will be dead and valuable context is lost forever. Fountain pens are not exactly an ephemeral hobby; you yourself have reviewed a fair share of vintage pens, and even 10 year old reviews of 50 year old pens are still valuable. Link rot is a real problem despite supposedly “the internet never forgets”, and archive.org is doing its part to alleviate that problem.

        > In particular, if I delete the site and archive.org keeps the backup, I have no control over that content, no easy way to edit, delete, reclaim, update, monetise or reproduce that content in the future beyond the blunt instrument of a DMCA takedown notice. Whereas if I export the WordPress site locally and delete it from the web, I retain full control of my creation for future use.

        Why not let archive.org archive this site if you take it down, and ask them to remove that copy if you ever decide to put it back up again?
        Alternatively, I think it would help if you would just throw a number out here, like “I need x£ per year to keep this site up” – I’m sure you’d find some people who’d cover the cost by regular donations.

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      • I’m not trying to get into an argument, but I find it interesting how we’re approaching this topic from such different perspectives.

        You’re fundamentally arguing that if I have no interest in actively managing this content, I should let archive.org publish it. And that seems to be based on a belief that people should be able to freely and continuously access this content because it is useful or valuable to them.

        My perspective is that this is my content, and nobody has any entitlement to continue reading it if I choose to take it down, and I don’t have to secede any control of it if I don’t want to, with no justification at all.

        If I may be a little tongue-in-cheek and provocative: Instead of trying to persuade me that archive.org scraping will benefit future readers, maybe try to persuade me of an approach that would benefit me 😘

        As to the cost: my WordPress premium plan, domain and extra storage comes to about £180 per year.

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  19. You are a gifted essayist, and the only essayist (as opposed to blogger) I know writing on pens, so I will miss your posts. That said, I wish you all the best in your next stage of life and career.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sad to see you go, but real life is asking. Your down to earth reviews, infused with a sense of humour, will be sorely missed. You were the first to open my eyes about trimming the pen herd, the ink herd, instead of just accumulating. Your blog is a piece of fountain pen history.
    Perhaps another option is possible? Other than deleting the blog?

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  21. OH NO,
    I totally get it, about time, cost & effort. but from a selfish point of view, i will miss your site, i always looked forward to your reviews (the best on the web) and have watched over many years, the wide range of pens reviewed. I have bought pens based on your reviews, and have found new suppliers, and even bought a pen from you, so i feel integrated into the UKfountainpens world.

    The blog will be sorely missed, but go forth and enjoy family time, which is ultimately the most important thing.

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  22. Dear Anthony I am really sorry to see you go. I have enjoyed your content for the last 7 months. Your insights into the pen hobby are extrmely original and interesting, way above the average of pen blogs and reviews. You have influenced my collection in many ways, having sold quite a number of pens to elevate the level of my collection. Thanks for highlighting pens like the Santini Libra, Montblanc Homage to Homer, The Pilot Custom 912, Custom Urushi or the ASC Gladiatore medio, that I now own. Your posts about classification of pens were most wonderful. You must be very proud of what you have achieved here and wish you all the best in your new endeavours. I hope that you might keep a window open to the hobby in FB FPUK group or elsewhere. Good luck.

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  23. I disagree that other voices cover “this patch at least as well as [you] do;” your posts and thoughts are particularly intelligent and interesting, and they will be missed. Nonetheless, I think it’s fantastic that you are prioritizing essential life stuff. Thanks for all that you’ve given to the community, and best wishes in your new position and all your “human ‘stuff'”.

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  24. Thanks for everything. You’ve been one of the best online in the 9 years or so that I’ve followed pens online. When you say you’ll delete all the content you mean save it somewhere, right? Even if I never get to see it again, I’d feel better just knowing it exists in some form. Maybe you could write a book? Pens of the Early 21st Century, perhaps? Have a good life.

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  25. I’m saddened your blog will be ending as I looked forward to reading every new post before bed. I hope you will keep the blog up at least 2-3 more months so I can re-read them all! Good luck!

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  26. Always enjoyed the blog, but it is nothing more than a hobby in the end so your decision is perfectly understandable. Unlike most other commentators I also think you should delete everything if you don’t like the idea that people can access your writing without you benefitting from it in some way. That’s just bound to lead to disappointment and might eventually even overshadow the good memories.
    I’ve always seen blogging, talking about pens on social media and elsewhere, uploading videos to youtube, giving free advice to others etc. as mere extensions of the hobby and something one does because it is fun to do for yourself, so I never expected any compensation or thank-yous from people and likewise would also feel strange offering the same to others, but that certainly doesn’t mean that other POV aren’t just as valid, so this isn’t meant as a criticism. It’s just that I suspect lots of people might feel similarily and thus making a decision based on a cost/benefit ratio might not result in a satisfactory outcome.
    Anyway, good luck and best wishes.

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    • Thanks Mark. Yes it’s mostly been something I’ve done for fun, certainly at first, but for a long while it has been a kind of work too, particularly when I moved beyond reviewing my personal pens into sourcing review samples, and when the enquiry and request emails from readers increasingly rolled in, and when traffic volumes increased (70k visits per month). Reviewers and columnists at magazines do this for their job; it is a kind of work, there is a degree of professionalism and standards involved, it generates a lot of value (or so people here have said). So yeah, I have got to the point where I need something in return beyond the various perks, and where I consider my 500+ reviews and posts to be a body of work product that belongs to me, not to the community.

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  27. I’m sad to see you wrap up and say goodbye to this blog but also inspired by your decision and dedication! At the very least I know you’ll still enjoy fountain pens even if you’re not blogging about them ^_^. All the best with human stuff!

    Like

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