I took the photos for this blog post intending it to be on a much broader stationery subject, but having started to write I found I wasn’t at all interested in what I was saying. Does that happen to other bloggers? I always think if I can’t summon up any enthusiasm for my work, I can hardly expect anyone else to.
Yet there is an interesting element in the amongst the dross, a vein of gold in the deep, dark mine, because it struck me that the two fountain pens I selected for my photograph are my oldest and my newest.
On the left we have the lovely bright blue of the Cross Century II, the first fountain pen I bought that is still in my collection. I had fountain pens before that, right through from being at Junior School, but they had departed over the years until I found myself utterly devoid of fountain pens and ink. The Cross Century II was the pen that set me on my journey, although it was my only fountain pen for a number of years. Actually, now I come to think of it, probably fewer years than I recall. I bought the Cross Century II in 2000 and certainly by 2007 I had my first two Watermans.
The Cross remains a favourite because I just love how it writes. For a slim pen, it has a good weight, the converter screws in place and I haven’t had an issue with it in 21 years of use.
Of course, my newest pen is the Diplomat Traveller with its funky but subdued finish. This has been inked up consistently since I unpacked it, but I think it is fair to say that it has yet to worm its way into my heart. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it, or that I feel any remorse. If anything, it is a good indicator of my temperament – I often need to have things for a long time before I come to love them. Like plants in a garden, they need to be allowed time to bed in and room to put down roots. I have no doubt that the Diplomat will carve out its own little corner in my affections.
I currently have it inked with the orange ink you can see in my handwriting on the right of the picture below. It’s quite a good pairing.
Of course, “oldest” and “newest” are just words which are open to a lot of interpretation.
For example, the Cross Century II isn’t, strictly speaking, the oldest pen in my collection – that would be one of the two Parker 51s which date back to the 1950s-1960s. However, since these did not enter my collection until relatively recently, I will continue to think of the Cross Century II as my oldest pen.
In a similar vein, the Diplomat Traveller may not be my newest pen, it is merely the newest pen which I have in my hands. The latest addition to my collection (if we ignore, for a moment, the fact that I am not putting together a collection of fountain pens) has been dispatched and should be with me by the end of the week. I’ve been feeling the urge to add something a little bit different, something red, maybe; possibly even something resin. Please feel free to remember this when I reveal what I have actually bought.