words: Jane Audas
As August melts away, cooler weather will bring leaf kicking and the joy of layered dressing in knitted things. This is also the time of year many are preparing to go back to school or college, so buying a new rucksack, pen, paper and eraser. That might be a tad romantic in our time of computers. But even after being out of formal education for decades, I still get the urge to go shopping for a new protractor set when September comes.
I love stationery. The old-fashioned gummed envelope, blue marbled notebook sort. And the washi tape, stickers and improbably cute Japanese cartoon character sort. I like a wall of pens with scribbled on ‘test’ notes lodged sporadically in them. And to find the thinnest nib is my self-appointed, happily accepted, lifelong challenge. So far, I am at 0.03mm.
To my joy, there now exist beautifully created stationery shops. The sort of shop where a notebook with an elastic band around it will cost a pretty penny. But I think something I use every day (as I do a notebook) is a special buy and worth the cost. With age comes the knowledge that four or five cheap tacky notebooks can’t replace the one that really pleases your hand and heart.
I can also be found in more ordinary stationery shops. On holiday I’ll search out both the just-so stationery emporium and the (hopefully slightly dusty) office stationery shop. There I will hopefully find multi-size binders and clear plastic poppered wallets, old paper accounting books with blue carbon copy paper in-between their sheets. If I get lucky there will be a selection of tiny cardboard boxes containing paperclips, drawing pins, small bulldog clips and the like. And if the stars are really aligned, the shop will sell cardboard tubes of different sizes.
A love of stationery began early. As a child I had a Galt Toy post office. This came in a bright red cardboard container, shaped like an old-fashioned post box. Inside bits of paper, a franking stamp and ink pad, gummed stickers, stamps and mini envelopes combined to keep me quiet running a post office from my bedroom.
Growing up with recurring autumnal needs for new stationery set me up for a life in paper and envelopes. One preferably topped off with a tin containing a rainbow of 50 assorted felttip pens. Comedian Victoria Wood had the right of it when she said: “I didn’t want a boyfriend, I wanted a 13-colour biro.”
Our friends at Papier love stationery as much as we do, so they are offering 15% off personalised stationery using code OHCOMELY15 at papier.com. Offer expires 30 September 2018, valid on notebooks, notecards, sketchbooks and planners only