Do you like that background?

Today is officially the first day of my holiday, although I always consider the weekends to be as much as part of the holiday as the actual days off work. I have been set an interesting challenge for my week off: to sample tea and cakes somewhere different every day. I am not the world’s most competitive person, but that is a very interesting gauntlet to be thrown in my direction. I am happy to oblige.

We officially started on Saturday with tea and cakes at the refectory in Norwich Cathedral. Gorgeous, on all fronts with Ceylon Green tea and almond and raspberry bakewell slice. Then I was at home yesterday so the focus was on Darjeeling and Thorntons’ toffee birthday cake. Today, I sampled the wares at the café in our local Hotel Chocolat which was delicious though the range of cakes was extremely limited. Then again, Monday morning probably isn’t their peak time. Nevertheless, the White Chocolate Moccha (stepped away from the tea as they didn’t have anything interesting) and a lovely Victoria Sponge hit the spot. We’ll see where the rest of the week takes me. I already have a plan for the days I’ll be at home.

Coffee and cake… notice anything else?

Tea and cake, though, is only part of the holiday equation. A saunter around the city must also include some time in Jarrold’s stationery shop and, perhaps, a little purchase. I mean, it would be rude not to, and it is increasingly my spiritual home. I was fairly sure I might be tempted by something in there, be it some Filofax goodies, or a notebook. Pretty much the first thing which caught my eye was a new design featuring cranes on an orange and red background. This is part of the V&A range from the Museums Collection and you may recall that I had a lovely large journal with a jolly birds design last year. I was already finding this new cover pretty hard to resist when I spotted that they had a Perpetual (undated to you and me) Planner. That baby was not going to stay in the shop.

Undated planner… and dates added

The planner is A5 size and what immediately grabbed me was that every single millimetre of the page is devoted to the days. The space feels so liberating. Not to mention that Saturday and Sunday have ample space. Oh, and there is that much-beloved “Notes” area rounding it out with somewhere for a quote, or some other useful frippery.

The paper quality is, in my opinion, good enough. I have some different pen and ink combinations on the go at the moment and my initial experiments have proved that some inks bleed through the paper – not badly, just a few specks, whilst others don’t. For example, Waterman Tender Purple ink in my dad’s normally quite fine-nibbed Parker 51 specked, but Diamine Wild Strawberry in the hosepipe-nibbed Waterman Exception acts angelically. However, of much more interest to me is the lack of show-through – even where an ink has specked onto the next page, the majority of the writing doesn’t ghost at all. The paper is ivory which, I’m learning, is my happy place. It isn’t coated so I expect a little feathering, perhaps, but far outweighing that, exceptional dry-times. Even a fine nib lays down a slightly thicker line on a more absorbant paper and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when the real-estate is so accommodating.

Pretty end-papers, and this book doesn’t waste a single page

I’m impressed that this book goes straight into the weekly pages and doesn’t waste any space whatsoever on blank pages. The downside to that is not having anywhere for pen and ink tests. Never mind. For now I’ve settled on using my fabulous ultra-fine Monblanc Slimline with the Montblanc Midnight ink because that is a combination which behaves really well with no bleedthrough. I was intending to clean the pen out and re-ink it with something different because I was getting bored with the deep blue shade, but this paper has me falling in love with it all over again. Oh, and the endpapers are another amazing Japanese print. This is a visually stunning book.

The changing of the guard

All of which means it’s out with the old and in with the new. Time to stop dithering and start acting like the year has truly begun. It’s no wonder I haven’t been able to settle into my year when this planner was sitting in a shop instead of in my bag. If you’re wondering about my usual mantra of needing notepaper as well as planning pages, don’t worry, I have it covered. I’ve got plenty of slim notebooks that can come along with me and which will be happy to be seeing the daylight again. In fact, it will work amazingly well because the ones I’m starting with have the lovely Stamford Notebook Company paper which the pens and inks that don’t entirely love the V&A book will adore. Horses for courses and all that.

The moral of the story is: don’t be fooled by January 1st, or even February 5th – the year starts today!

3 thoughts on “So I fell

  1. Lovely looking planners. I’m sure they’ll give you hours of pleasure.
    WH is now out of a job – superseded??

    Spookily re your “parallel” comment I have moved away from my WH, it is now for journaling and I am using a Leuchtturm A5 weekly planner though the paper doesn’t feel as nice to write on as I remember it but it is ink friendly with a couple of notebook in an A5 leather notebook cover and of course my Travelers company regular size is now an everyday feature in my work bag.
    All that said I still don’t find myself as convinced that I have got the right 2023 setup as I have been in previous years but we’ll see how things pan out.

    1. I prefer to think of the WH as resting – like an actor – rather than out of a job! The idea of using it for journal entries later in the year has crossed my mind. I might have ended up with a Leuchtturm if I hadn’t seen the V&A planner. Or perhaps a Semikolon which Jarrold’s stationery shop also stocks.

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