I’m something of a sucker for gadgets but I usually hold off and await more rational moments to avoid buying the more outlandish offerings. There are a couple of things which always fascinate me though, I’m not really sure if either qualify as gadgets, but both have that element of uselessness, at least to me, which seems inherent in the term. Whenever I’m found looking in a jeweller’s window I’ll be looking at watches, be it analogue chronometers with day, date, small dials for lap times, stopwatch and moon phases or digital offerings with altimeters, depth gauges, alternative times for a plethora of places I’m never likely to visit. I haven’t worn a watch for many years.
The other thing is pens. My writing is crap, always has been and I think I’m now safe in saying, always will be, but I like to imagine that there is a writing implement out there which will turn my spider trails into something resembling a mediaeval manuscript. I hardly write anything at all nowadays. I did once have a job which required a fair amount of writing and then PCs on every desk came along and that was that apart from a signature on the bottom of the letters. During that time I found a pen that did more for my writing than anything else I had used, a Tombow Object fountain pen. It wasn’t cheap, but is wasn’t expensive either as such things went. I used it for a couple of years and enjoyed it everytime I picked it up. It didn’t cause everyone around to implore me to handwrite their wedding invitations but my handwriting did improve. And then I dropped it, bent the nib and it was never the same again. I couldn’t find another, W H Smith had stopped stocking them and I put it away about 10 years ago. A couple of weeks ago it popped up again and I wondered if I could find a replacement nib unit and found one on The Pen Company website. £12 inc. free p & p didn’t seem like a bad price, the nib unit is the guts of the pen and the other bits are just an anodised alloy cap and barrel and the whole thing was £33, so I ordered one on the Sunday and it turned up on the following Tuesday.
The nib is now back to working as well as I ever remember, however, ‘progress’ appears to have raised it’s ugly head in the years since I bought it. I suspected there was a problem, even before opening the jiffy bag that it came in. It wasn’t heavy enough. The original unit was a piece of cast metal and gave the pen a certain heft, the replacement unit is all plastic and gives a very different feel whilst writing. Still a very nice pen, but no longer what it once was.