It has been a habit of mine since I was 18, to keep a diary. For the last few years my preferred format has been an A5 book, with a page a day. A daily ritual is to write this, using a fountain pen, typically straight after breakfast, recounting the events of the previous day. This little ten minute appointment for myself, is really valuable.
However it is not always easy to find a suitable diary. Last year I used one from Rymans but was disappointed to discover that the line spacing had been reduced to 6.5mm in 2018, from 7.91mm in 2017. Also, with the new diaries sometimes sealed in clingfilm, you do not have an opportunity to see what the line spacing will be before buying. For 2019, with Rymans’ diaries still being sold in clingfilm, I looked eslewhere. In WHSmith, there were A5 page a day diaries but the line spacing looked far too narrow for my liking.
And then in Paperchase, I found a few 2019 diaries left on the shelf, in A5 page a day format. The cover with its pattern of blue and yellow flowers and rainbows of blue, yellow and light green was not my ideal, but was undeniably cheery. The price was £14.00 but turned out to be reduced in a sale, to £9.75. I was set up for the year.
Happily, the line spacing is a wonderfully generous 8.4mm per row (10 rows = 84mm) which suits me fine. This give 21 rows per page. The book feels nice in the hand, with a sort of linen cover. I am not sure whether it really is linen, but it feels pleasantly textured and grippy. The covers are flexible but protective. It is well bound, with stitched binding, dark blue endpapers and one blue ribbon page marker.
It turns out that it is not quite a day to a page. On Saturdays and Sundays you get only half a page. Thus, for two out of every seven days the description ‘Day to a Page’ is untrue and misleading. It is almost as if Paperchase is saying ‘What you do in your leisure time is of no consequence.’ However, I forgive them on this occasion as the book is so nicely made plus it was generously discounted in the sale.
The real joy is the paper: 100gsm off-white paper that my fountain pens love. It is smooth, but if examined under a loupe, there is some texture there which gives purchase to well polished nibs and provides a lovely feedback. I have been using the diary with a Parker Reflex (pictured), medium nib and Conway Stewart Tavy blue black ink. This inexpensive pen is a light weight and effortless writer. The writing experience of this combination of pen, ink and paper is such a joy, that it is a great way to start the day.