DefeatI have just admitted defeat and increased the size of the image on my laptop screen – again. It’s easy enough to do and its no great hardship but I have been putting it off for ages because it is yet another sign of the rapidity of the deterioration of my eyes.
It’s either increase the size or keep having to clean the screen where my nose has rubbed against it! The thought of death has never scared me. (Though I should prefer it to be some time off and painless.) But the prospect of going blind scares the hell out of me. Hopefully that too – if it ever were to happen – is a long way off.
PostcrossingOn a happier note I must mention again the subject of postcrossing. It never ceases to amaze me how many people go to a great deal of effort to find just the right card and stamps for the stranger to whom they are sending. All that is required by the ‘rules’ is that they send a postcard to some total stranger picked for them by the computer. But many people read the person’s profile in detail, choose or find an appropriate card, put the requested type of stamp on it – if available, and write what they think will be of interest to that person. All that and still posting it as soon as possible – usually that very day or the next.
For a while just forget my rant against Hilary Whotshername. Forget the wars in the less fortunate parts of the earth. This can be a lovely world to live in.
Live WriterI have decided to use Live Writer as an experiment. But I notice that even with Live Writer I am getting large spaces between paragraphs. I must see if I can find out why it happens because it bugs me.
Shakespeare CatsSome books can be read in half an hour and yet still deserve their place on our bookshelves, whence they will be taken down and admired time and again. Partner-who-loves-tea and I have just been given such a book by a certain member of the genus Poecile.
from “Alas, poor Yorick!”It’s called ‘Shakespeare Cats’ and is by the artist Susan Herbert. It is brilliant. Thirty two paintings with their appropriate brief extract from the play and an artist’s sketch on the opposite page.
“Blow winds, and crack your cheeks, rage, blow.”
Fountain pensAccording to the Goddess Wiki - "The earliest historical record of a reservoir pen dates to the 10th century. In 953, Ma'ād al-Mu'izz, the caliph of the Maghreb, demanded a pen that would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen that held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib, which could be held upside-down without leaking, as recorded in Kitab al-Majalis wa 'l-musayardt, by Qadi al-Nu'man al-Tamimi (d. 974). No details of the construction or mechanism of operation of this pen are known, and no examples have survived."
I can confirm that no examples have survived because from the age of nine I haven’t found a fountain pen that didn’t stain my hands.
“In 1828 Josiah Mason improved a cheap, efficient slip-in nib in Birmingham, England, which could be added to a fountain pen and in 1830, with the invention of a new machine, William Joseph Gillott, William Mitchell and James Stephen Perry devised a way to mass manufacture robust, cheap steel pen nibs. This boosted the Birmingham pen trade and by the 1850s, more than half the steel-nib pens manufactured in the world were made in Birmingham. Thousands of skilled craftsmen and women were employed in the industry. Many new manufacturing techniques were perfected, enabling the city's factories to mass produce their pens cheaply and efficiently. These were sold worldwide to many who previously could not afford to write, thus encouraging the development of education and literacy.”
“In the 1880s the era of the mass-produced fountain pen finally began. The dominant American producers in this pioneer era were Waterman, of New York City, and Wirt, based in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.“
“Pens still tended to leak inside their caps and at the joint where the barrel opened for filling so many inventors turned their attention to the problem of leakage. Some of the earliest solutions to this problem came in the form of a "safety" pen with a retractable point that allowed the ink reservoir to be corked like a bottle. In 1907 Waterman began marketing a safety pen that soon became the most widely distributed such pen. For pens with non-retractable nibs, the adoption of screw-on caps with inner caps that sealed around the nib by bearing against the front of the section effectively solved the leakage problem (such pens were also marketed as "safety pens", as with the Parker Jack Knife Safety and the Swan Safety Screw-Cap).”
“During the 1940s and 1950s, fountain pens retained their dominance: early ballpoint pens were expensive, were prone to leaks and had irregular inkflow, while the fountain pen continued to benefit from the combination of mass production and craftsmanship. This period saw the launch of innovative models such as the Parker 51.”
It is a Parker 51 that I am using at the moment. Well, I'm not using it at this exact moment because I'm using a keyboard... But unlike the Parker 51 that everyone else uses my Parker 51s (I have three) all include a something created by a sub-designer. An auto-leak device to ensure inky digits.
I was thinking about this the other day as I wrote a letter and I was also reminded that at one time pens dripped large parts of their contents, leaving great blotches on the paper. At least they don’t do that nowadays, I thought. It was no more than a minute later that the letter was christened with two large blots. Ah well…