Fake Amazon Sellers

Really cute Fake Rabbits
Really ugly Genuine problem
There are ever-increasing numbers of fake store fronts popping up on Amazon - many of them promising high-value fountain pens for under a tenner.

There is some sterling work being done by Oddobnom Elbblircs and stalwarts over at the Fountain Pens UK group on Facebook in reporting these fraudsters to Amazon, but by all accounts they are simply hydras - as fast as one store is closed down by Amazon, another three rise up.

Jinhao 992 | 99p

When these came up on the Book of The Face as being an actual real thing - a fountain pen from China for 99p, including P&P, there was nothing else for it but to buy ALL THE PENS.

Sadly, by the time I'd decided to buy them all, SOMEBODY else had pretty much snapped up all the black ones .... and I decided (after the initial frenetic need to buy! buy!buy! had subsided a little) that I didn't really fancy all the colours - so I bought two demonstrators (the clear one), two blue ones and one cofvefe (the single best thing that Trump has ever done; given us a new colour and morning beverage)

Mindfulness of Writing

Weirdly, couldn't find an image of Buddha
with a fountain pen
The word du jour is surely 'mindfulness'.

As we struggle through our lives being genuinely busy or artificially busy (Facebook, anyone?) we seem to be rushing from pillar to post with hardly any time to stop and stare -  at daffodils, cows or anything really.

The answer, say the sages of the age, seems to be mindfulness.  But what the heck is that exactly?

Calligraphy Guide Paper Notepad

So, aaaaaages ago I signed up for a calligraphy course here on the island. Being left-handed, I was a bit apprehensive about how I would cope with learning the skills.  However, I needn't have worried because it involved a lot of tracing beautiful calligraphic alphabets and I soon found a way to tilt my paper that allowed me to do the heavy and light strokes.

The course left me with the desire to learn a copperplate script - and so off to Amazon I trotted to buy the correct paper.

Up popped Calligraphy Guide Paper Notepad - 25 sheets (50 pages) of paper lined specifically for calligraphy.  Brilliant! I signed up for two.

Diamine Ink in Oxblood

So, I know, it's going to be impossible to own All The Inks, but I'm only a couple of months into this collecting lark and I'm making a damned good attempt at it!

The latest acquisition is Diamine's Oxblood.

Do you remember back in the day when Chanel brought out Oxblood nail polish?  That dark and slightly sinister colour that hinted at femme fatale with the emphasis on 'fatale'? That colour that EVERYONE was desperate to get their hands on (or rather, get on their hands!) for the Christmas Night Out?

Well, THIS is THAT colour made ink!

So what's it like? In the bottle it is a red brown worryingly similar to de-oxygenated blood :) I honestly expected to sniff it and be hit by that irony tang that comes with a serious haemorrhage!

Once in the pen and out onto paper, I think it's a glorious colour to write with.  Lovely flow of ink in the Jinhao X450.  What happens when you use this ink with a broad nib - can anyone tell me? Is it beautifully shaded?

This one is perfect for writing with - a classy blend of brown and blue-red that gives a practical ink; a dark soul with hints of the abattoir .... really gorgeous, expensive-looking and smooth.


I can guarantee that I will be using this bottle until it is empty!  Next task on list - get some wee ink sample bottles so that I can share this!

Here's a video of me writing with Oxblood. Camera in right hand, pen in left hand.  There must be an easier way to do this!  *noob face*

Nib | left handed | does a left-handed nib make any difference?

What do I have in common with Leonardo Da Vinci, Marilyn Monroe, Jack The Ripper and .... Chewbacca?

No, we don't all share the same star sign.  No, we don't all have to shave our legs with a chainsaw (although two of us might).

We are all left-handers.

One of the concerns I had before buying my first fountain pen was whether I was actually going to be able to write with it. Would my hand trail through the ink, leaving a smudgy illegible mess on the paper?

Some lefties write with a 'hook' that would make a pirate proud.  Here's CNN footage of a famous 'hooker'.  No, not the one with Hugh Grant.

Will a left-handed NIB be the very thing to rescue my new inky habit from the rocks of illegibility?

I've already got THREE Lamy pens - An Al-Star in gorgeous Pacific, a Safari in Petrol and a see-through Vista so I decided to be sensible and order a left-handed nib and simply swap one out on my existing pens.

How very sensible of me!

I bought the left-handed nib from Bureau Direct and selected the 'black' option to help me identify it amongst my ever-growing collection of pens.

Hmmmmm - never changed a nib before.

How hard can it be?  *remembers saying this before some cataclysmic gaffes*

I guess that you SHOULD empty your pen and prepare properly, but I simply grabbed the sides of the existing steel nib on my Lamy and pulled with hardly any effort and the nib slipped right off.  I placed the black LH nib on the feed and pushed back into place and lo! it slid on smoothly.

Using my little Rhodia journal, I wrote a sentence with the Lamy with the LH nib and one with another Lamy with a Fine nib.  Was there any difference? I think that it was marginally less scratchy-feeling on the paper, but only because I was really concentrating on the experience.  The Lamy with the ordinary F nib also wrote like a dream.

If I was to do it blind-fold, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you which pen I was writing with, from the difference the nib made.

Why yes, I've got a cardboard Tom Hiddleston. You've no idea how useful he is :D 
So, does a leftie need a left-handed nib?

Dear leftie brethern and sistern, no, you don't need to buy a left-handed nib in your fountain pen, BUT if you were buying a Lamy as a present for a friend whom you know is left-handed, it is a really thoughtful option to order your gift with a left-handed nib.

Be the friend that CARES that little bit extra :D

Fountain pen storage solution!

So after confessing my cardboard box storage shame to the world, I complained to my other half (known in blogging land as 'Tartarus' so that no-one can actually identify him!)

'I'll make you something,' he assured me as he sat on the sofa and fiddled with the controls of whatever game it was he was playing.  I didn't pay too much attention because, frankly, when he's gaming, he would promise me the moon if only I would stop talking to him.

Anyhoo - lo! He retired to the garage and started making me something from a bit of yew tree that we have stored in the rafters.

After some drilling and three coats of varnish ..... TADAAAAAAH!!!!!

Look at it's magnificence!

Tartarus: 'OK - there you go, it's got 17 holes in two sizes to take care of the bigger pens and the smaller ones.  *looks at me meaningfully and repeats*  SEVENTEEN HOLES.  HOLES FOR FOUNTAIN PENS. That should be enough, right?'

Me:  *fixates on corner of the carpet and refuses to look him in the eye* '17? Oh right, yes, absolutely. LOADS OF SPACE, darling.'

*resolves to hide rest of box contents immediately*

Sometimes you HAVE to lie to your Other Half for the sake of your marriage, right? 


And just in case you are impressed with the expanse of tidy desk that you can see in those first two pictures, here's what the other desk currently looks like .....