A couple of days ago I was sitting at my roll-top desk
writing birthday cards and so on when I suddenly had the urge to write a ‘proper’ letter. With the advent of emails my letter writing has almost ceased. Sometimes I think this is a shame but then I realise that the ability more easily to communicate outweighs the more lasting and personal qualities of a letter for most of our communications. I do have a nostalgia however for the letter. When a dear friend from my teens moved to Canada many years ago we communicated by letter weekly for many years. I still have every one of those letters. I don’t keep emails although we can speak more easily (ie cheaply) by phone nowadays too. I was reminded of that because I used to start so many of my letters ‘It’s early morning and I’m on the Suilven….’ MV Suilven was the ferry that used to ply between Stornoway and Ullapool at nearly 4 hours a journey. I am writing this posting on board her successor first thing in the morning as I ply the 2 hours and 40 minutes which the journey now takes.
The other thing I miss is using a fountain pen. I enjoy my fountain pens. A while ago Heather happened to make the comment that she loved using a fountain pen. It was that comment which made me decide that I was going to do a fountain pen posting. So when I wrote my cards the other day I also wrote a letter and I used a fountain pen. I opened the drawer in the desk with the pens in it and thought I’d lay them out for a photo. Even I was quite surprised with how many I’ve amassed over the years. The one in the front of the photo is a Parker which I have had since I was 9 and it has been in use constantly ever since. Most of the official documents to which I affixed my signature during my career as a bureaucrat were signed using that pen. It has been overhauled once over 35 years ago. It says something for the quality of the ink sac that it has lasted since the overhaul and is still going strong.