Thursday 17 December 2020
No longer for perfection, but for the one, the fittest.
Not the grandest, the strongest or the like. The one most suited to me, which fits me the best of all.
A bit Darwinian, a process of natural selection?
Who is selecting whom, me or the notebook?
It comes down to sensing the aura, the Zen of the book
Taking the Zen thing a bit further, it's not how do you feel about the book, how does the book feel about you?
It's the strange feeling, the sensation of losing touch with something.
Pick the book, whatever it is, take it down from the shelf. You sense something, a sympathetic resonance perhaps? You replace the book on the shelf and continue browsing, and end up where you started with the first book you lifted from the shelf.
You take it to the till, pay the cashier, and away you go. The book arrives home and its not the same, strange but it happens.
I remarked in an earlier post about my first encounter with the Moleskine brand and how I felt it necessary to find the right instrument to make the first mark.
I admit, I fell for the romance of the history described in the pamphlet that comes with each one. I bought the book and the story and it took me a while to get over it.
It was the day my brain clicked into gear and did the arithmetic. I checked the figures. Page for page the three pack of the pocket sized cahiers with the soft cover was equal to a hardcover notebook of the same size, and roughly half the price.
I made the switch and awaited an introduction to the Fauxdori, the Traveler's notebook lookalikes.
That introduction stared a whole new journey that brought me to here, now.
An odd side effect has been to bring to mind all the different notebooks I've used over the years, and decades and attempts at homemade notebooks.
Armed with a printer, photographs and a comb binder, assorted papers and a laminator. The research, documents downloaded and printed out would be comb bound for future reference.
Now I'm on the handmade notebooks, cut and trimmed to size and bound by a pamphlet stitch. A new expression of life with a notebook, springing from a superbly matched surprise gift. The Fittest gift I've received in a long time.
Christmas is around the corner, and this year there is a sense of anticipation of what it will bring.
Only a few more sleeps and we've notched up snow already this month. The bookies adjusted the odds for a white one.
Let the dreaming begin!
(Image, December 2010)
Thursday 10 December 2020
Sunday 15 November 2020
Wednesday 28 October 2020
Sunday 25 October 2020
Not the first notebook I ever had, that is a long forgotten memory. I can hazard a guess it was probably a Silvine brand notebook with lined pages and a stitched spine.
This first notebook is my first attempt at scratch building a Midori style traveller's notebook.
I've touched on this in an earlier post, so I'll try not to digress too much.
Having entered the world of the Traveller's Notebook, I'm struck by the ethos of flexibility it generates amongst user and aficionados. I have become a fan, and will spend time tinkering with the mechanics of compiling, assembling, binding and trimming the components of the refills. Right down to securing the signature spines with a pamphlet stitch.
A reasonable achievement for me, my track record with a needle and thread lies with lashing things together, rather than sewing.
The relatively simple matter of lining up the holes for the stitching and the spine of the outer cover caused a bit of headscratching. A basic card template helped. Unfolding the papers and laying them flat after the initial fold usually meant one or more holes were misaligned.
I needed a cradle. A simple V shape to drop the pages and the template in together with as little distortion or displacement as possible.
The inspiration lay with Wallace and Gromit, erstwhile heroes of "A Grand Day Out," "Wrong Trousers." "The Curse of the WereRabbit," etc,
An old biscuit tin on top of he bookcase stamped with an impression of the characters holding electrical bits contains pieces of Meccano. An engineering construction toy from way back.
Working - playing - with Meccano is a noisy job, especially when the bits are in a biscuit tin. Digging through the metal parts looking for the right one.
I spent a while nosing around the Internet, especially Pinterest, picking up ideas and wound up with a vague idea of what I wanted, and how I might do it, nothing planned, a sort of picture in my head and little else to do for a couple of hours.
The Meccano built the base, the cradle, and the bed where the paper would lie came next.
A while ago, I had a need for a six inch rule (don't ask, it was an idea stuck in my head moment and only a six inch rule would do,) and ended up with a packet of ten or more from a supplier on the Internet. Two of these rules became the sides of the bed, held by a couple of rubber bands to stop them slippping and the job was good to go.
The test piece was a handful of folded pages torn from an old reporters notebook, and they proved the cradle worked. It was strong enough for the job. The jeweller's awl was too big. The holes were far larger than required.
The solution came with a return to my original home made awl, a needle thrust into the cork from an Islay whisky. It punched beautifully and the holes were closer to the size of the needle I use for stitching. I was happy with the result.
The moment of truth beckoned! A new refill, as I had done with all the others, I clipped the leaves and the template together, dropped them into the cradle and punched.
Two out of three ain't bad, according to Meatloaf.
I want three out of three.
The cradle gave as I pressed down. The rubber bands around the six inch rules flexed slightly, allowing the leaves and the template to drop with the bottom of the cradle, into the V.
Because I had clipped one side of the booklet to hold the leaves together it flexed awkwardly and couldn't follow. The spine was thrown out of line at one end and the needle missed the mark.
Next time, without the clip, I folded the leaves and the cover together, slipped the punching template into the middle, tapped them straight and dropped them in.
I punched the centre station first, and the flexing cradle sorted the alignment. Three out of three, spot on!
The job is a good one.
I am pleased with the result. It has the over engineered qualities of Wallace and Gromit, or Heath Robinson, (Rube Goldberg has a similar reputation in the United States,) in the spirit of cobbling it together, hey, it works.
Only one thing left to say.
Sunday 11 October 2020
No pun intended, but the idea of the Midori, Traveller's notebook or whatever brand name your variant may, or may not have, it strikes me that is what this item does. It gets under your skin.
Sunday 27 September 2020
I found the time, and the place, to break the surface of the Wanderings Notebook. The brand of the "Midori-style" notebook I had been given. It was either birthday or wedding anniversry, I can't rememebr which, the look of satisfaction on the giver's face I do remember.
Monday 7 September 2020
Monday 31 August 2020
Saturday 1 August 2020
Saturday 30 May 2020
Saturday 23 May 2020
Saturday 25 April 2020
The recent strikes affected their study time and access to the tutors and facilites at University, and the students personally.
The petition is based around Sheffield Hallam, the strike was national and so was the imapct.
I appreciate the position of the lecturers and the concerns that led to the strike, but if you are in a well paid job tasked with negotiating a deal. Do your job, if you can't, step aside and let someone who can do it, on both sides!
Friday 20 March 2020
Thursday 27 February 2020
Saturday 8 February 2020
A serious note, picked up from Guido Fawkes, not that actual one obviously, but the website order-order.com (Guido Fawkes, Parliamentary plots and conspiracy) highlighting the discrepancy between printed and digital booksin the Uk. Print media, newspapers, books, magazines are all zero rated. Digital carries a burden of 20% VAT.
Axe The Reading Tax is dedicated to ending the disparity. An online petition and a call to your Member of Parliament to act. Check out the website by following the link for the full story. Duly signed and delivered, digitally.