I snapped this frothy floral delight on my walk home from the local shop this morning and it seems suitably buccolic to suit a discussion about the old days… and about the very old days indeed.

This week it was time to finish one journal notebook and move into a new one. The outgoing bound refill from The Stamford Notebook Company has served its purpose well. Having used two of these in a row I can declare that I love the paper, I love the line spacing, and the only thing I am less keen on is that the spine gets in the way a bit for the first and last few pages. I would happily move into another one of the same, but I’m trying to be good and use up some of my existing stock of paper products. With this in mind, I’ve set up the last of my cheap, Silvine exercise books.

I like to start each journal with a quote and I chose a speech from the 1978 BBC series, The Devil’s Crown. This is from the final episode where King John (you remember him from all the Robin Hood films) was waxing lyrical about the last country left to him of all that he inherited from his brother King Richard (The Lionheart – you definitely remember him from all the Robin Hood films – he’s a lot like Sean Connery!) whilst being pressured to grant the Magna Carta. I loved this speech so much when I recently watched the series again, but it made me smile that it refers to the English harking back to the good old days. If this had been written today we could interpret it as a bit of a dig at Brexit, but it was written 45 years ago, not long after a national referendum had seen the British people vote staunchly in favour of remaining in the “Common Market” and perhaps the writer is seeing something more enduring within the English soul (for John, in his time, was king of England and Ireland only).

I am using my Cross Bailey Light at the moment, filled with J Herbin Cacao du Bresil ink, which is a soft brown that sits at the mid-point heading towards grey, though it comes across in my photos like a black ink. If it was a bit less pigmented, I would call it an elephant grey, a bit pinker and it might be a mushroom. In fact, I’d describe it as the colour of the underside of a mushroom. An entirely work-suitable ink which could lull non-believers into thinking there’s nothing too outrageous about fountain pen users, especially teamed with an ultra-conservative pen design like this.

I was hit with my own bout of nostalgia yesterday, an intense pang of regret for things that are gone. It was triggered by, of all prosaic things, choosing some tomatoes whilst doing my online grocery shop. Suddenly I could smell the inside of my dad’s greenhouse, the old, wooden-based one at the top of the garden, back when I was a child. The tang was with me: wood, heat, freshly watered soil, and tomatoes ripening on their vines. I compounded this feeling of loss by being sidetracked into some photos of my last Christmas in my childhood home – you’d think I would know better by now.

To cheer myself up, I’ve been getting on nicely with my first sock out of the Rico Vintage sock wool and finding it a very nice yarn to work with. I like the effect as this is knitting up and I’d be tempted to buy again in a different colour combination, but I think it’s probably a discontinued line. Never mind, other lovely wools will happen along when I’m ready for them. I have a pile of pens to clean out, and ironing to do, but I’d really like to spend the afternoon knitting and listening to a good Cadfael murder mystery.

How is your weekend shaping up?

3 thoughts on “The good days of Henry The First

  1. Interesting color to the ink and those socks are going to be lovely. A fan of Cadfael. I’ve read 6 of Edith Pargeter’s ok “Ellis Peters” Books.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I’ve got a feeling Cacao du Bresil is one of those colours that defines itself in comparison with others, so if you put it with a brown ink it would look grey in comparison, but it you put it with a grey ink it would look brown in comparison. You get the some thing with some colours that lie between blue and green or between red and purple. Or, indeed, with grey itself which you can sometimes read as black until you put it next to a proper black and then you realise how grey it really is.

      We read the Cadfael books when my mum was still alive – she loved them and they would generally do the rounds of the me and my sisters two before being returned to the library. I’m not sure if we ended up buying enough of them to have a “family collection”. We definitely amassed a collection of the Falco novels by Lindsey Davis which currently resides with me. Have you read them?

    2. I had a similar ink experience with De Atramentis, Fog Grey. I would rename the ink “Blue Fog.” I have not read any of the Falco novels. I guess I should investigate further. Thanks

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