It being Sunday, I felt in a reflective mood today. I rose early and enjoyed writing for an hour in the quiet of the morning. From the pen cup, I picked a Kaweco Sport Classic, newly filled yesterday with Noodler’s Sequoia, as I was keen to see how this ink would perform in a wetter pen.
I then went for an hour’s walk, taking in a circuit around Golders Hill Park. It was still only around 9.00am and very empty. It was cool, a bit misty and damp with lots of wet leaves on the ground and wonderfully quiet. I particularly like one section of footpath which winds uphill, between the trees and glades. It occurred to me that I was in my favourite part of Golders Green, in my favourite time of day. There is an animal enclosure, a free zoo in the park and I always enjoy stopping to look at the pair of Eurasian Eagle Owls, standing quietly in their open fronted hut.
Over at the duck pond there was some commotion. One mallard was fighting another, beating the water with his wings and chasing the other one quite persistently and aggressively. Even in such lovely tranquil surroundings, there is always something to spoil perfection.
As Christmas and the year end approaches, I counted that I had acquired around 40 fountain pens over the year. I know this because I keep a record of them on a handy App called “Memento Database”. Most were inexpensive and so this is not as extravagant as it sounds but the number came as a bit of a shock even to me. These pens all have one thing in common, namely, that they seemed like a good idea at the time. And I do enjoy the vast majority of them.
Being very fond of writing with a nice pen, it becomes addictive to acquire a different pen, in the hope that it might be even better. By “nice pen”, I do not mean only expensive ones as I get huge pleasure from using some which cost literally only a couple of pounds, if they write well.
Having accumulated (“collected” implies a more purposeful and focused approach) quite a number of pens, I suppose an obvious question is what is the best? The favourite. That is hard to answer. I suppose my Pelikan M205 blue demonstrator (pictured) is certainly up there in the top few, simply because I like demonstrators, I like piston fillers, I like that you can easily unscrew and clean the nib unit, that it has a large ink capacity, that the nib never seems to dry out and be unready to start and above all, it has the most wonderfully smooth and slightly springy stainless steel broad nib and writes like a dream. A joy to use.
With just about any pen, you can list some things that you like about it and things which you dislike. One person’s list will be different from another’s. But there is no such thing as the perfect pen. Of course, the range of fountain pens caters for all ages and tastes and uses. In comparing factors, there is no ideal pen which has every conceivable attribute and sets the standard by which all others are judged. Yes, there may be some pens which have very little to dislike about them. But these often lose out on the grounds of being very expensive. Once you factor in the cost, it becomes harder to chose and everyone will have his own views on what is a reasonable amount to spend, to get the best. But then who really needs (as opposed to wants) the best?
And so I wrestle with these conflicting ideas – the addictive urge to acquire another good pen – with a small voice of reason telling me that I do not need it. I am very bad at resisting.
And so these ideas were going around in my head on my walk today. Ironically I had no pen and paper to hand to capture them! All of these pen purchases were at home. I almost always carry at least one fountain pen and a notebook and perhaps there is a principle which says that inspiration will only come when you have nothing with which to write it down.
Is there a common thread to these meanderings? My point is that pens are not perfect. But neither are we. How boring it would be if the perfect pen was invented, all the others disappeared and there was no choice. And how boring too if we were all the same. Like pens, we all have some good points and some not so good. Perhaps this is how God sees us.
On my way home, I did stop to glance in the window of Rymans. Their fountain pens are on the wall right by the window and so you see them all hanging up, the Cross Bailey Medalist, the Cross Aventura, the Parkers (Vectors, Urbans and IM’s) and of course the Lamy Safaris and Al Stars in a range of colours. I hope that they will all find appreciative owners and that new generations continue to enjoy the fountain pen life. I would like to say that in the New Year I will write more and buy less but time will tell.
And that Noodler’s Sequoia goes well with the Kaweco. The green-black shades nicely and makes a nice change from my more usual blue-black in this pen.