: Phaedra My trips to the theatre have been all too few and far between, and can quickly be enumerated in …

: Sylvia Townsend Warner The motley stack of ten books in the picture above contain most – but still not all – of …

: Ceiling The picture above shows part of the decorated ceiling in the drawing room at Castell Coch. I’d …

: Taika Not until I turned thirty was I faced with a need to acquire a set of my own tableware. In the …

: Ocean Songs It has happened disconcertingly often that my belated discovery of an artist’s music has, by a …

: A Glass of Amontillado It’s quite likely that my maternal grandmother was responsible for my first taste of sherry, …

: Clippings From one of the charity shops in Monmouth last week I bought a copy of C.P. Cavafy’s Collected …

: Hollingworth Papers Among the books of paper samples I’ve acquired, the volume of Hollingworth Papers has to be …

: Pegs Of the various kinds of photographic film I tried out, one I didn’t have much luck with was …

: Gotta, LouPer One gets the impression that German-made straight razors tended to be more ostentatious than those …

: Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares A few weekends ago out of the boxes of LPs at one of my usual haunts, I picked up a copy of Le …

: Gorwydd Caerphilly Mass-produced Caerphilly cheese of the kind generally available in supermarkets tends to have a …

: Kursuus-sectâ Twenty years ago, I learned of an exhibition that had been staged in Rotterdam in 1983 called …

: Churston Deckle Shown above, the striking design on the cover of a folder containing an old set of writing paper and …

: Ligotti Here we see the books currently in my library from the pen of the idiosyncratic American horror …

: Big Hand Here’s a photo of a disembodied hand, a surviving fragment of an ancient statue, to be found …

: Torpedo 18a Pictured above is my 1954 Torpedo 18a typewriter. The difference between the 18a and the 18b being …

: Turbulence and Pulse, etc. Latterly added to my shelves, and shown above, is the album Turbulence and Pulse by the South …

: Pistachios In my provincial ’70s British working-class childhood, nuts usually meant peanuts: plain …

: Spare Stamps When I send letters I like to adorn them with special-issue stamps, especially now the standard …

: Imperial Parchment This box of Imperial Parchment paper, obtained recently via ebay, is something of an oddity. …

: Poems of Today The latest addition to my collection of obscure anthologies of translated poetry is Poems for Today: …

: Daffodils As it’s the time of year when the daffodils are proliferating hereabouts in gardens and along …

: Car-key Whereas most people are eager to learn to drive as soon as they’re of the age to do so, I was …

: It's Better to Travel The music I heard as a very young child came in the form of the pop hits of the day issuing tinnily …

: Earl Grey I’m partial to a cup of Earl Grey tea. To my taste, cheap Earl Greys (Earls Grey?) are often …

: Stamtavla A document that happened to come to hand the other day was my cat’s Stamtavla, that is to say …

: Vélin de Moirans Here’s a box of Vélin de Moirans writing paper and envelopes. Moirans is a town in the Isère …

: Journey to the South There are no few novels where an author who has successfully established an intriguing atmosphere, …

: Fridge Poem With Valentine’s Day just over, here’s a photo of a ‘fridge-poem’ I made for …

: SL-1210Mk5 Pictured above is my Technics SL-1210Mk5 turntable. The blue LP spinning on it is a 2020 re-issue of …

: All Thoughts Fly In childhood I came to connect the sound of church organs with feelings of chilly discomfort, …

: Cesanese Cesanese is a grape variety native to the Lazio region of Italy. I came to know it during my time in …

: Final Phonebook A new copy of The Phone Book (for Newport and South East Wales) arrived here last month. At a mere …

: Foolscap Late last year I acquired a virtually-unused ream of foolscap paper. It’s ‘Plus …

: Fitzcarraldo Pictured above are the seven books published by Fitzcarraldo Editions that are currently at home on …

: The Long Room Something else from my time in Sweden, a picture of an extraordinary indoor space, the …

: Ostehøvel On moving to Sweden my first residence was a ground-floor flat in a white-painted wooden house that …

: Mingus x 5 Looking around the Music One record shop in Abergavenny late last year I’d seen a few things …

: Saint André How is it that I passed the halfway point of my sixth decade before sampling a triple-cream cheese …

: Without Let or Hindrance Imagining I might spend the summer after my final year of University inter-railing around Europe, I …

: G. Lalo Shown above is the information on the back of a box of vintage G. Lalo writing paper and envelopes. …

: Poor Things With the recent release of the movie adaptation of it, there has been much discussion of late about …

: Swans We’re nearing the end of a spell of chilly weather. With no new photos to illustrate it, I …

: Unicomp I’m old enough to remember the computer keyboards of the ’80s, when such things were …

: John Luther Adams I’d known of the composer John Luther Adams' name long before hearing any of his music. Having …

: Year of Coffee After a sixteen year period during which I must have consumed fewer than a dozen cups of coffee in …

: The Ace of Spades, the Ace of Spades Above are two Aces of Spades from old decks of playing cards I bought a couple of years ago. The …

: Hans Bank Shown above are a pair of mid-20th-Century Hans Bank writing pads, in ‘Duke’ size, as …

: Pollen When I first made an acquanitance with the work of Beresford Egan, some eighteen years or so ago, it …

: He Sees You When You're Sleeping The figure in the image above isn’t Santa Claus gone wrong and hell-bent on brutal revenge, …

: Flat Cap In my youth I never wore hats or caps – it wasn’t the done thing at the time, and, on …

: I Killed Your Dog The inevitable ‘best of 2023’ listicles that proliferated on-line a couple of weeks ago …

: Single Malt Is single malt scotch whisky worse than it was when I first started drinking it, or have my tastes …

: Payment On Demand The image above is another film still scanned from a set of mounted slides I acquired about a decade …

: Smooth Ivory Since last writing about mourning stationery, I have acquired a third set of the stuff, this time in …

: Atlas There can surely be little demand for paper atlases in this age of zoomable and seamlessly uncreased …

: TMAX 3200 Looking back at the heyday of my experimentation with film photography (ca. 2008-13), it’s …

: Moustache Maintenance About a month into the initial Covid lockdown I had shaved my head for the first time. On subsequent …

: IARC The late, lamented jaimie branch’s album FLY or DIE II was the first one of several issued by …

: Golden Cenarth At The Marches Delicatessen in Monmouth the other Saturday I continued my haphazard exploration of …

: Stamps I’m grateful to my Canadian correspondent for sending a letter in an envelope (part of which …

: Plus Fabric “How much simple inexpensive pleasure there is to be had in writing, or receiving, a letter on …

: Shelf Portrait #6 Pictured above is one of four shelves in the bookcases upstairs reserved for larger-format volumes, …

: Nikon D70s In late 2007 I acquired my first DSLR - a Nikon D80. Some five years and 8,000 shots later I sold it …

: Glass On the same occasion I bought the typewriter mentioned a few entries ago, something else at the same …

: Havana 3 a.m. Above is the elegant cover design of a UK pressing of the Cuban bandleader Perez Prado’s 1956 …

: Sea Salt & Chardonnay Wine Vinegar I am in full agreement with the many enthusiasts who rate the ‘Irresistible’ Sea Salt …

: How to Use and Enjoy Your Brother On the shelf of a charity shop last weekend I spotted a small case with a recognizable shape that …

: Bowersburn Princess A good deal of stationery, it seems, was marketed specifically with women in mind. There were sets …

: Diary One Saturday morning this summer in a Chepstow charity shop I spotted a set of six small old books. …

: Superbitch! Yesterday brought another birthday, my fifty-fifth. From an earlier such occasion (no. 42), the …

: Ambassador Up at the pinnacle of manual typewriter design, or very near it, was the Hermes Ambassador: a very …

: Uncatalogued After a tedious yet oddly satisfying exercise of ‘stock-taking’ my music collection and …

: Sencha of the Earth Having gained a taste for plain, inexpensive green teas, it took me quite a while longer to learn to …

: Tapes Among my latest vintage vinyl purchases, a copy of Johnny Cash’s 1964 LP Bitter Tears: Ballads …

: Writing Case Pictured above, a leather zip-up writing case with some of its original contents: the little …

: El Zarco, the Bandit Back at Broadleaf Books last Friday, a bright orange spine caught my eye, and when I pulled the book …

: Tintern Abbey One Saturday ten years ago I drove up to the ruins of Tintern Abbey. It was a glorious sunny Autumn …

: Moss Agate For the duration of my marriage I wore a plain gold wedding ring on my left hand and a gold ring …

: Red At the Oxfam shop in Thornbury recently, I spotted a copy of the LP Red by Black Uhuru. It was …

: Costières de Nîmes Lately I’ve been enjoying some Rhône wines, most of them courtesy of the local budget …

: Question Shown above is Question 5 from the examination paper I was given in April 1990, for ‘Computing …

: Croxley Writing And Ledger Papers Another book of paper samples, this slim volume of Croxley Writing and Ledger Papers comprises, …

: Case de Lux There are images that look good when framed in the camera’s viewfinder, only to disappoint us …

: Baldfader When I went to the barber’s on Valentine’s Day 2020, it didn’t occur to me that it …

: Hadal Zone Newly-arrived this week, Hadal Zone, a recently-released album from Lithuanian-born composer …

: La Perfetta Sinfonia After nine months' leisurely sampling of the espresso coffee-bean blends readily-available at the …

: Broadleaf Books Really good second-hand bookshops are a rare & endangered species nowadays. My favourite such …

: Two Blue Dukes Shown above are two boxes of Duke-sized (5½"x7") writing paper in slightly different …

: Storybooks Here are four of the six books published in New Directions' Storybook ND series last year. These are …

: Movement When I still had my Nikon D80 camera, a favourite lens I often used with it was the 60mm f/2.8 …

: TI-3500 If £98,376,102 were to be divided equally between 120,000 people, I wondered: how much would each …

: Experimental Doom On asking for recommendations for music outside the styles I habitually favour, a correspondent …

: Garlic Nostalgia For years I was sporadically troubled by localised skin irritation near the tip of my left index …

: Tickets Please It was December 1997 and I really needed to go to the bank. The problem was that I had latterly …

: Orphan Envelopes When using up sets of writing paper and envelopes, I find there will almost always be at least one …

: Red as Blood In my late teens I borrowed Tanith Lee’s short-story collection Red As Blood from the library. …

: Eau de Parfum Of all the stupid ideas for pastimes and hobbies I’ve come up with, the notion that I might …

: Ellis in Wonderland A few of my recent record buys have featured the virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson as a more-or-less …

: XO I was working as a waiter in a cocktail bar when I first sampled an XO cognac. It was late 1991 and …

: Sputnik When I bought a vintage Hungarian-made safety razor from an ebay seller, included with it was a …

: Midas Touch To be filed under “the past is a foreign country”, here we have some cigarette-themed …

: Big Dictionary Energy Dictionaries. I was twenty-five when I acquired my first big one: a Shorter Oxford English …

: Double Exposures Digitally-manipulated photography has meant that composite images have for some time been …

: Baton Barbe Last summer I bought a couple of ‘sticks’ of vintage French shaving soap from an ebay …

: Fly or Die A newly-released arrival in the post this week - the third and final Fly or Die album by jaimie …

: Single Gloucester I had never been to Stroud until last week. On my first visit there I was tempted by the wares on …

: Yost I found the ad for the Yost Typewriter Co. shown above in a 1902 issue of The Connoisseur (‘A …

: Elco Paris Linen Elco is a Swiss stationery brand that is one of the relative few still in business: long may they …

: Shelf-Portrait No. 5 The third shelf in my downstairs ‘display’ bookcase (previously) has the most headroom …

: Mask From my second visit to Venice I brought home a couple of carnival masks as souvenirs: a …

: Soulville, etc. One of the best of my recent vinyl purchases was Soulville by saxophonist Ben Webster, who seems to …

: Nilgiri When it comes to black tea from India, not for me the delicacy of a Darjeeling or the brisk …

: Parker 61 When I bought a vintage Parker 61 fountain pen (six or seven years ago), it came with an original …

: Croxley Cambric My first vintage stationery acquisition was some Croxley Script typing paper in the old foolscap …

: Mavis Gallant I’d become a great admirer of the short stories of Sylvia Townsend Warner (of Lolly Willowes …

: Couple While I’ve no particular talent for judging ‘the decisive moment’ in spontaneous …

: Cufflinks A decade ago I happened upon the four pairs of cufflinks I owned at the time, and wondered if I …

: Interval Signals There was a tune that haunted me for about thirty years before I finally found out what it was. I …

: Etna Rosso My favoured wine of the moment is the cumbersomely named Generazione Mille898 Etna Rosso 720 (2019) …

: Invitation to the Dance Here’s another from the set of movie stills I mentioned a few months ago, this one from …

: Writings My odd enthusiasm for old stationery has bled its way into my library, with the acquisition of a …

: Shadow The unassuming photograph above: the shadow of a tree cast on to a yellow-painted structure (along …

: Clock Like a great many others my working routine changed dramatically in the spring of 2020. Working from …

: Singles Of the hundred and fifty or so 7" singles I’ve accumulated over the past decade, a …

: Farls A ‘bakestone’ is a type of heavy flat griddle. The one I have is a disc with a cut-out …

: Index Cards I bought a ’50s index card ‘outfit’ a few years ago: that is, a Winel brand …

: Chivalry Antient Script Pictured above is an old box of Chivalry Antient Script envelopes in ‘Jade’ green, Duke …

: Selected 'Selected Poems' In my recent reading have been half a dozen books with the same title: Selected Poems. I especially …

: Photogram Photograms or lumen prints are photographs achieved without cameras; shadow-pictures made by placing …

: Straight Razors Pictured above are my smallest and one of my largest straight razors, both of which still happen to …

: Dark With Excessive Bright My latest (modern) classical CD purchases were an excellent new recording, warmly praised by the …

: Blonde Roast I don’t know that I’ve ever tried the coffee at Starbucks. I do remember visiting at …

: Return Thanks It’s 1932, and Mr. Johnson has died suddenly in Gloucester. His grieving widow and four …

: Rhys Davies The books in the photograph above contain most of the collected short stories of the Welsh writer …

: Robot/Alien I’ve a soft spot for this photo of a piece of grafitti seen on a wall somewhere in the Manor …

: Screwpull I admit to feeling a sentimental attachment to certain objects. This oftenest happens with useful …

: In-Car Entertainment The car I had before the car I had before the car I have now must have been one of the very last to …

: Absolute Black Having lost my indiscriminate childhood appetite for chocolate I ate relatively little of the stuff …

: 20th Century LOLcat Found pressed between the pages of an old book was the newspaper clipping above, depicting a kitten …

: Wookey Hole Note Wookey Hole, thankfully, has nothing to do with the Star Wars™ universe. For anyone unfamiliar, …

: In Other Languages I’m a monoglot Anglophone yet own several books printed in other languages. Most of these are …

: SM5 On the tabletop in the picture above is an Olympia SM5 typewriter resting on a thick felt pad …

: Astrud When I bought the instalment in the Compact Jazz series of compilations devoted to Astrud Gilberto, …

: Black Olive Paté Amidst the sporadic arrivals of nationally-themed groceries one can sometimes find at Lidl, an item …

: Crane's I haven’t succeeded thus far in obtaining any of the wares of the notable US stationery …

: Shelf Portrait (Number Four) Most of my books are kept in my upstairs study/office which, of my few visitors, fewer still will …

: TLR Seeing Rolleiflex cameras used in movies made it look like TLR photography would be great fun - Fred …

: Soap and Brush For a proper traditional shaving experience one needs a razor, a brush and some soap. Having tried …

: Roberta Last August or so I saw or heard someone singing the praises of Roberta Flack’s debut album …

: Havana Club Last night, while listening to Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Song Book, I reached the bottom …

: Menus One of my less successful typewriter purchases was a 1956 Voss S24 I ordered from a French ebay …

: Laroche-Joubert The stationery set shown above is one of a couple I’ve owned that were produced by the French …

: Orlam Although more a standoffish admirer of P.J. Harvey’s music than an outright fan, I was …

: Wedding I took numerous old-school analogue photographs at my older niece’s wedding last year. They …

: Snake-plant My history of houseplant husbandry has been characterised by failure and misfortune. I brought home …

: Rendezvous Buying records based purely on their cover designs is something I’ve frequently regretted and …

: Oolong Neither of my parents were tea-drinkers. My first taste of the stuff came when I was maybe nine or …

: Red Flags Continuing and concluding the East German theme, the above is one of two miscellaneous colour slides …

: Koenigstein It surprised me to learn, when perhaps it ought not have done, that communist East Germany was a …

: Solenoid The work of Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu came to my attention in late 2019, by way of a review …

: Up Against the Wall My erstwhile enthusiasm for photgraphy came about, in part, because I’d seen the writing on …

: White Right Hand On my mantelpiece there stands a glossy white right hand with an inexpertly-repaired break in its …

: Shelf Portrait (iii) The Compact Disc has been largely unloved for at least the past fifteen years. There are scattered …

: Brie de Meaux Round one, 1995: taking some baby steps to ever-so-slightly enlarge my hitherto blinkered view of …

: Waldorf Club Waldorf Club writing paper has nothing to do with the Waldorf hotels (aside, perhaps, from a hope of …

: Love and Rockets I didn’t hold on to any of the books of my childhood & teenage years, not the odd …

: Life Work In a 2009 issue of the Boston Review, a piece by John Crowley about Nicholson Baker’s novel …

: Safety Razor For decades I unwittingly bought in to the fictional narrative of progress pushed by the marketing …

: Sweet Child My last record-buying outing netted me five LPs and a 7" single for a total outlay of £23. The …

: Blood Oranges Living at a latitude inhospitable to the cultivation of citrus fruit means I’ve only been …

: Special Bargain Offers An interesting ebay purchase was a folder containing “Specimens of Die Stamping, Notepaper and …

: Shelf Portrait #2 It took a few false starts before I developed an enthusiasm for photography, but once I did, things …

: The Good Companion I am in possession of no fewer than eleven mechanical typewriters in more or less working order, and …

: Shelf Portrait No. 1 The block of records above represents nearly a quarter of my collection of 12" vinyl. …

: Like a Sculpture in the Glass Midweek - either Tuesday or Wednesday - I will often have a glass of wine. Only one glass, but quite …

: Telephone Pen John Heath is my father’s name, so when I saw a box of John Heath brand ‘Telephone …

: Mourning Stationery While its roots are apparently older, black-edged mourning stationery had a long heyday in the …

: The Forgery “Charco Press” says the blurb on their website, “focuses on finding outstanding …

: Kodachrome I came to Kodachrome during its declining days, when there was only one lab in the world that could …

: Olympia CD-520 How many of a given item does it take to constitute a collection? If, for instance, having purchased …

: Rockferry, etc. At the local charity shop on Saturday I felt discouraged at just how many of their stock of LPs were …

: Moka Express For about twenty years - from my late teens - I was a coffee-drinker. To begin with, I considered it …

: The Unguarded Moment From an incomplete set of of black-&-white 35mm slides containing movie stills I bought from an …

: English Lawn As a small-time collector of vintage stationery, researching one’s ebay acquisitions can be …

: Only the Road With the long-standing ubiquity of hip-hop culture and its many offshoots, poetry must surely be as …

: St. Murphy's Day It’s my blue-eyed cat’s fifteenth birthday. His name is Murphy. Falling as it does the …