One of my fun projects of 2021 was to watch every episode of the Columbo detective series, starring the late Peter Falk. There were 69 in all, including two pilots. Such an endeavour lends itself to a double-page spread in a bullet journal, with columns for Series and Episode numbers, episode Titles and a column for any comments on guest stars or plot. It was satisfying to tick them off each week as we made our way through whichever episodes were showing on “5USA”. Spanning decades, they were first aired from 1971 and the last episode was shown in 2003. I have now seen all but one.
Another project was to listen to every one of Elton John’s albums, from those on Spotify. Like many of us, I have enjoyed his music right from the beginning, although not all to my taste. I have seen him live three times: Hammersmith Odeon at Christmas 1974, Highclere Castle in June 2000 and once at Earl’s Court, some time in between. His albums are another bullet journal spread. This is a challenge that I can leave for a while and keep coming back to. I was well aware that I had never heard many of his albums, or had heard only the odd track from them, so I wanted to work systematically through the entire back catalogue. This takes time. It does not do to listen to an album only once. To enjoy and appreciate an album, I need to play it several times and let it get under my skin, otherwise I will have little or no recollection of it.
At the moment, I have got up to The Road to El Dorado, an album of songs from the animated film in 2000. This film and the soundtrack album escaped me completely at the time. There are several great, stand-out tracks which I am greatly enjoying. I have probably played the album over six times and still have no desire to move on.
This brings me to the Cleo Skribent Classic Gold fountain pen. I posted a couple of reviews of my Cleo Skribent fountain pens when I bought them, in 2017 which are listed in my Index of Pen Posts or can be seen from here: Cleo Skribent Classic Gold, Piston fountain pen; first impressions and Cleo Skribent Classic Metal, Piston fountain pen review (about the steel nib version). In the following years, I continued down a path of trying lots of different pens and bought dozens every year. The Cleo Skribent Classic Gold rather got side-lined. However last autumn I tuned the 14k gold nib a little bit, to increase flow and lubrication. It just took a few minutes to open up the tine gap very slightly.
I then started to enjoy the pen all over again. I used it for the month of December 2021 for my journal, for which I had been switching pen and ink combinations every month. I had intended to start a different pen in January. However, nearly half way through February I still have no desire to change pens. I do have a dozen inked but it is the Cleo Skribent Classic Gold that I reach for each morning for my diary. I also enjoy it for notes and letter writing. It is now on its third fill with Waterman Serenity blue ink since November.
Looking back at my first impressions review five years ago, I was not then aware of whether the nib could be easily removed. I since learned that the nib and feed are friction fit and can be pulled out together quite easily for a more thorough clean or if changing inks, rather than just relying on the piston to flush the nib and feed.
I still love the features that appealed to me then. It is a long, elegant pen, extremely comfortable to hold with a smooth gold nib which has a very pleasing degree of softness on the paper. The glossy black resin of the body looks to me just as “precious” as that found on other more famous, German black fountain pens.
I commented in 2017 that the piston seemed less smooth than in my other pens but that it was too soon to tell how this would stand up over time. Well, the piston is stiff in places. I would very much like to be able to introduce some silicone grease to the inside walls of the ink reservoir, to ease the piston plunger on its travels. I do not think it possible to remove the piston mechanism to grease it outside the pen. (If I am mistaken on this, I will be very pleased to hear from anyone who can put me right).
My only real criticism of the pen is that it does not seem possible to grease the piston. With a Lamy 2000 for instance, you can unscrew the section from the barrel and introduce a little grease to the barrel using a cocktail stick or tooth pick – a useful tip that I saw on a Brian Goulet video. Not so with the Cleo. The barrel does not separate from the section. Even with the nib and feed removed, I have been unable to poke anything through the opening and bend to reach the barrel sides.
Ultimately, if the plunger does become too stiff I fear that the piston shaft could break. I assume that it is plastic, as the pen is so light. Hopefully, being inked regularly with a well behaved ink like Serenity blue will be good for the pen and keep the piston working. That said, it has not happened yet and the pen does have a lifetime warranty. Also, it was not hugely expensive at £129.00 and even if the piston mechanism fails, the nib, feed and cap could all be salvaged.
But the message of today’s post is that, as with an Elton John album, it is ok to get stuck on enjoying one pen. A good fountain pen is like a wonderful view: uplifting and good for the soul, but you do not need to see every one there is.