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.