This Passing Year

It has been a mixed year, to say the least. This time last year we were driving 1000 miles a month for dialysis. That didn’t leave a lot of time for pen restoration or writing and the stress of driving on unpredictably icy roads didn’t help. Then we had to leave our beloved Helmsdale and move here to Wick, a mammoth task. When I say we have accumulated a ton of books I’m not exaggerating. The entire pen restoration workshop was another colllection of boxes. It took weeks to get back to where we had been.

I used to have my workshop outdoors in the shed but that’s not convenient here. I have all the tools and supplies used for restoration set out in the den and I bring them through to the kitchen, which becomes a temporary repair workshop for the session. It’s not entirely convenient but I’ve got used to it.

By the middle of the year everything was as back to normal as it was ever going to be. I was able to carve out time for pen repair and writing. I managed to find some good and interesting pens this year. The oldest pens are becoming harder to find but there’s always something new to write about. Prices have risen a lot. I’m buying three pens where before I would have afforded five.

I think that I have written more this year than ever before. As well as this blog which is central to my writing, I undertook, along with several other people, to provide some signal in Fountain Pen Geeks to balance against the noise of all the sales activity. It turns out that some of my opinions are more controversial than I realised and debate has descended into argument in some posts. That’s okay. I’ve never been averse to a little controversy.

Not for the first time, someone has suggested that this blog should be published in book form. While I appreciate the kindness of the suggestion, I don’t think that it’s possible or advisable. Vanity publishing is too expensive and no publisher would invest in a book that would sell very few copies. I also have a concern that book publishing might give my inexpert writings a spurious validity that they do not merit. There are real experts in this field, many of whom I could name. I am not one of them.

Finally my dear assistant had a hard time adjusting to our new residence. Though she insists that she is a person, she is actually a cat and cats are territorial. At 10 years old it was hard for her to carve out a new territory but she did. She fought all the local cats and drove them away. No other cats come near our flat. She leaves by the window every morning, patrols her territory and returns to be fed and pampered. She regrets that this leaves little time for pen restoration.

12 thoughts on “This Passing Year

  1. Deb,

    You are not alone in having a kitchen workshop, however mine these days appears to be rather less than temporary… Another new year’s resolution I suppose.

    That’s a lovely snap of your assistant. I wih you all a happy new year.


  2. Hi Deb – I join with the others in sending you best wishes for 2018. Had wondered if some form of forum might have been a possibility – allowing us to send our pix etc. and join more with discussions. Controversy and civilized debate isn’t a problem – it’s what makes these venues interesting, but most of the pen forums seem to have more than their fair share of those who simply want to be abusive and arrogant, so I’ve really given up with them – pen collecting can still be fun, more peaceful and has less angst.
    Happy New Year to all for 2018 – and guess this is going to be a very late night for you, Gordon and your assistant:-):-)

    1. I agree. The forums can get quite aggressive. I’ve had some recent experience of that. I wouldn’t know how to set up a forum, though, and I suspect that it would be too expensive.

      My assisstant keeps early hours. A happy new year to you too.

  3. Dear Deb: I suspect that one is not alone in remaining sincerely appreciative that, notwithstanding all the critical family exigencies you continue to manage, your contribution to appreciating/sharing the many nuances of the world of quality vintage fountain pens continues undiluted. I suspect that I am not alone in feeling that our world continues to be ‘commoditized,’ a world in which regard for legacy quality is understood by the mass (disposable) market as quaintness and irrelevancy. Thanks for your light on this undifferentiated perspective .. a fight worth having. Peter

  4. Bravely and cheerfully done. (And your assistant, too.) May your flame continue to burn brightly.


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