Saturday, 3 October 2020

Writing in pen in the Canterbury Tales


"Sick-hearted Damian in Venus' fire

Is so consumed, he's dying with desire;

And so he took his courage in his hand

To end a grief he could no longer stand

And with a pen that he contrived to borrow

He wrote a letter pouring out his sorrow,

After a fashion of a song or lay,

Indited to his lady, dazzling May,

And wrapped it in a purse of silk apart

To hang inside his shirt, upon his heart.

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, 1392.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Dunhill pen set of Tom Wolfe


 There was a large handsome leather-bound desk blotter, a gold Dunhill pen-and-pencil set mounted on an onyx pedestal, a collection of paperweights and medals imbedded in Lucite, several of which had been inscribed to Revered Reginald Bacon by civic organisations, a stack of papers held down by a paperweight consisting mainly of the letters WNBC - TV in thick brass, an intercom with a row of buttons, and a large box-shaped ashtray with leather sides framed in brass and a brass grillwork over the top.


Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, first published 1987.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Blue and red pencil of Borges


I found what I knew I would find. The American watch, the nickel chain and the square coin, the key ring with the incriminating useless keys to Runeberg's apartment, the notebook, a letter which I resolved to destroy immediately (and which I did not destroy), a crown, two shillings, and a few pence, the red and blue pencil, the handkerchief, the revolver with one bullet.

Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths, first published 1962.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Pencils in the time of Covid

Community spirit in the time of Covid: one of the neighbours is sharing writing and drawing supplies during the first lockdown in north London!