Simple Pleasures: Writing with fountain pens

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 Colours from The Writing Desk's coloured ink selection
Life as a 40pluser takes you to some interesting places and this weekend The Women's Room found itself at the Writing Equipment Society's annual show in Kensington Town Hall. We were there with Amanda's dad, who has inherited a big collection of rare and vintage fountain pens he knows very little about. We have always loved the process of writing with fountain pens and think words somehow look better when they are written with a scratchy, inky flourish.  

Stall after stall of pen dealers enthusiastically offered advice and friendly banter as well as identifying some of the more hard-to-trace writing instruments (as pens are known in the trade) from the inheritance. All looked exactly like Amanda's dad, old blokes with a passion for pens who knew their subject inside out (the word super-nerdy came to mind as we were trapped by a particularly enthusiastic retractable pencil lead collector….). .

Things got really interesting though, when we discovered the display of coloured inks at The Writing Desk stall. Who knew there were so many glorious shades of turquoise, lilac, orange and green inks with which to fill our pens? We were shown pages and pages of colourful smudges in variations that would make fashion designers swoon with pleasure.

Naturally we bought, two chunky square glass bottles in fact, one of Saffron (bright orange) and one of Storm (violet) from the Caran d'Ache range at £6 each. But we found it hard to limit ourselves to two, fuchsia beckoned, as did a glorious crimson from the Private Reserve range. After a few minutes of study you wonder why on earth anyone sticks to just blue and black.

And not only do these inks look fabulous, they smell good too, Herbin scented bottled inks come in lavender, apple, rose, amber and violet so you can perfume even the most boring written jobs. For those with secrets, Herbin also sells professional invisible ink.

While we were admiring these wonderous new discoveries, the pen crowd were happy to engage in friendly banter, "You women have fashion and clothes to get creative with," said one chap, "We men have only got ties and pen inks". So there you go. release you inner pen nerd and visit the Writing Desk website to pick a colourful ink to play with (check out the colourama guide, you'll be there all day trying to decide…).

Writing (with a capless Pilot fountain pen, ingenious retractable mechanism) is a joy when the words come out the colour of saffron.

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