A short note on pens and post-its

Following the enthusiastic response to my post about notebooks, (I just knew I wasn’t alone)! several people mentioned pens too, and I also admit to a passion for pens  – a little less loved than notebooks but definitely up there. At school, like several of my friends, I used a Conway Stewart Dinky , a fountain pen just half the normal size.  In those days I used Parker Quink in turquoise and was forever in trouble with my history teacher who said that ink should be washable blue. Fortunately other teachers had no problem with it, presumably reasoning that what one wrote was infinitely more important than the colour ink used!

Nowadays I use my much loved marbled green one purchased in Selfridges when we were in London for my 40th birthday. Only ever filled with purple ink,  even the act of drawing it up and wiping the bib with blotting paper brings pleasure.

Ink & pen

A fountain pen would be impractical at work, but ever the rebel, I eschew the standard issue black biros in favour of purchasing my own. Cheap and cheerful, and I get to write in purple and turquoise, along with pink and green if I so choose. My granddaughter thinks it’s a hoot that I use ‘kids’ pens’ as she refers to them. Every note during my recent time at university was written in these colours. Fortunately the days of hand-written assignments  were long gone or I may have had be a little more conformist! (Just so you don’t think me totally unprofessional – I do conform when signing official letters and contracts at work – black is the order of the day).

Multi pen

Years ago I discovered with delight  that post-it notes didn’t come only in pale yellow but in a myriad of pastels, brights and even florescents.  I was hooked. The stationery lady at work looked aghast when I asked for a pack of purple, jade and turquoise and refused to order them because they were twice the price of the standard ones. No matter, I told her, and bought my own. Since then I have always had post-its in a selection of colours, current favourite being lime green.

Maybe we can do envelopes another time! Note cards with beautiful tissue-lined envelopes also hold something of an attraction.





  1. That brought happy memories flooding back … me and my Parker 51, the first present my husband gave me. Of course, he wasn’t my husband then. It took me through my secretarial course where I learned shorthand and typing, but I never needed the shorthand so I’ve forgotten all I learned, but I enjoyed learning it and my pen was ideal fir the ‘outlines’ as they were called. Our elder son bought me a Lady Shaffer (is that the spelling?) many years ago and I still have that, only the inside of my Parker has perished (it could be mended, but I think it would be costly.) Today I use a bright yellow Lamy Safari pen and love it. I’ve not used a ball point pen or a fibre pen for donkey’s years, I only use a fountain pen, even for scribbled notes.
    My English teacher in my grammar school was a stickler for correct form and we were taught how to lay out a letter (handwritten of course, in those days.) And we had to use white or pale blue or pale grey paper, and never with lines, always blank paper. If you couldn’t write straight, you used the dark ruled guide sheet under the paper. When you turned over the first page (on which was your address on the top right) you couldn’t start to continue what you were saying at the top of the page, but had to come right down until your writing was below the address on the other side, if you see what I mean? And as for coloured ink, that was completely out of the question. Ink must be dark blue or black. I was then about 14 or 15 and using green ink, as girls sometimes did in those days, but I soon stopped that and have used black ink on white paper ever since. Smart and dignified – well, until you see my scrawl! But these habits learned more than 60 years ago have stayed with me and stood me in good stead, I think. So few people know how to lay out a formal letter these days, or even when to use “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully”. Does anyone write formal letters these days, I wonder, bar solicitors? I dread the day when solicitors might write, “Hi, Margaret” and end “Cheers!”
    Margaret P


    • Letter writing (in the correct format) was considered an important lesson at school, and we too were taught the correct way to structure formal letters. As for using ‘faithfully’ and ‘sincerely’, our wonderful English teacher, Miss Templeman (with whom I credit my love of English language) told us simply to remember that we should never put the two Ss together (i.e. never ‘sincerely’ with Sir). My mother was also very ‘hot’ on the right way to write; she was a great letter writer, keeping in touch with friends from her army days and time spent working in various hospitals. She also wrote weekly to her mother as, in those days, long distance telephone calls were very costly. The standard of covering letters with job applications that I have encountered over the years demonstrates very clearly that formal letters have fallen by the wayside – a great shame.


  2. My four colour pen is blue/black/red/green. Red for confirming orders, black for documentation and the other two? I use them on my own notes.

    The only multicoloured pens aren’t very nice here. Usually poor quality Chinese imports with 10 colours, most of which don’t work (yes, I learnt that the hard way)

    Post it notes, ooo. I buy them on holidays as souvenirs. I have some from Drumheller that are too nice to use, views, and multi coloured. I won’t turn down promotional ones, either.

    I’m lusting after a fountain pen and have made it known I would really, really like one this year for my birthday


    • Oh, I have black/blue/red/green too, but I use the purple, pink etc in preference. How lovely to be looking forward to a fountain pen for your birthday – I’m sure you will love getting back to using ink.


  3. I used to write with a Parker 55 fountain pen (blue Quink ink); we were required to write with fountain pens from 4th grade, onward. Ball point pens were not allowed and blue was the required color. I don’t know what happened to my pen – I think I must have given it away before I left my country of birth. These days, I write with ballpoint pens and blue seems to be my preferred color.


    • We had to use ink at school too, but then I went on to college and they were happy with ballpoint pens. My mum used to use Quink in blue-black.


    • My granddaughter says that they are ‘kids’ pens’. I told her that goats don’t write. She looked at m in that way she has perfected. It says ‘poor old thing’.


  4. Oh my goodness Eloise you put me to shame I haven’t used an ink pen since I left school preferring black biro’s. It was always black for professional documents, blue for personal correspondence and cards and only ever in red if it needed to stand out so that someone knew there to be an instruction. That has stayed with me all these years and still to this day I only possess two colour of pen black and red. Black for when i am taking notes or minutes and red so that it stands out for me to pick up as an action from the meeting or as an instruction that I need to remember to do something. I don’t think I own any pens with blue ink in these days as they are such a big no no in the NHS and only the pharmacists can write in green don’t know why but that too seems to be historic too.

    I do have a bit of a thing for note books and have a selection that are yet to be used and if I spot one I like I will buy it thinking it will be given as a gift thats to fool myself as I know in my heart of hearts it will join the others on the shelf patiently waiting their turn.



    • Oh I would miss my pens! Auditors often use green in business. I too buy nice notebooks for gifts but find that I like them too much to give away.


Comments are closed.