Black and white photograph of a typewriter and other stationery items on a table.

On the tabletop in the picture above is an Olympia SM5 typewriter resting on a thick felt pad intended to slightly deaden the noise and vibration it produces. Also identifiable (moving clockwise around the typewriter), are a roll of tape; a fountain pen; a couple of letters in need of reply; a sheet of Air Mail / Par Avion stickers; the base of a lamp; a notebook lying on top of something else (loose paper, perhaps); two bottles of Rohrer & Klingner fountain pen ink with a roll of kraft paper behind them; a box of envelopes and some special-issue postage stamps; a dip-pen; a single folded napkin; another fountain pen and a pair of scissors.

The table is ostensibly a dining table but is seldom used for eating and most often employed instead for writing, hence the profusion of stationery.

It was an SM5 that got me properly started with typewriters. I’d first owned an ugly early ’60s Underwood that I’d fought a losing struggle to keep working, but the Olympia, acquired at a junkshop in 2015 - for all of £17 - was a real a joy to use. Within a few more years I’d accumulated a small typewriter collection. Not long after I’d given that SM5 away to a relative, I bought another (the one in the picture), this time from ebay. It doesn’t look as good in colour as in monochrome, which disguises its blotchy nicotine patina and the spots of paint-loss: for all that, the machine still works like a charm.