{08/02/2013}   The joy of stationery

As a child, my parents would often take me to Boulogne or Calais as daytripping foot passengers.  Other than the excitement of certain food and sweets, I used to love French stationery, especially the graph paper-esque pads that were the norm there.  I loved that you could get stationery that you couldn’t get at home and that everything about it was different.  I still love stationery.  I must never be allowed un-monitored access to office stationery cupboards or let loose in the massive three-storey Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road.

I don’t have a huge need for a lot of stationery but it’s amazing how many stationery receipts I have for my tax return.  The other day, with time to kill, I ended up in Ryman’s and exited the shop clutching a bag of treasury tags and two erasers.  There is a chance I didn’t need either but while looking around it occurred to me I hadn’t been able to find an eraser (I really want to write “rubber” but there were too many rubber and condom jokes around when I was in my formative years so I still can’t say rubber without sniggering childishly) recently, thus needed a few to place around my flat.  I also thought of a use for treasury tags and I know I currently only have ridiculously long ones.

In the past couple of weeks I have had two trips to the aforementioned Paperchase and purchases were made, almost all sale things.  I now have even more notebooks, some nicer business envelopes than I usually have and some (more) writing paper.  Oh, and a retractable pencil (it’s been a while since I’ve had one of them and I must say it’s a joy to use!) and a four-colour pen with dinosaurs on it and – check this out – a fluorescent marker pen on the top where an eraser might otherwise be.

Oh dear, the more I think about it, the more stationery things I can think of that I’ve acquired of late, including more solicitors’ offices pens and pads.  What’s with the stationery obsession?  I do like to have the right equipment for the job, as it were.  So, for example, only certain notepads can be used for certain things.  The problem with that is that I have a ridiculous amount of notepads on the go at any one time.  But I love that and at least it means I usually know where to find information I’ve written down.

I recently discovered quite a particular stationery/craft tool shop on Columbia Road that must be fairly new.  It is one of those rare finds in that the craft knives, precision erasers (of course I now have one of them!), notepads, etc, are laid out beautifully and a lot of things are in table cabinets.  It is neat and lovely and everything on display is just for display, so if you want to buy something, you just say what you want and it’s brought out from “out back”.  Usually this kind of shop makes me feel nervous but I was in a mini shopping heaven there and the lady who appears to own the shop really knew her stuff.

I am now daydreaming about some beautiful stationery shops I have been to in Italy and Stockholm … I am so ridiculously easily pleased sometimes and I’d rather love shopping in stationery shops than designer clothes shops, for example.


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