The upcycled Noris in Germany

The old and new Noris together

After being able to observe the shift from the traditional, wood-cased Noris to the new upcycled wood Noris in the UK last year (see The new, upcycled Noris) I was able to experience the same transition in Germany now.

What I saw is, of course, only a small snapshot of the two countries as I observed the transition in a city in North West England last year and now in a city in North West Germany. Other parts of the two countries might have experienced the change at different times.

In March 2024, about a year after the switch in the UK, supermarkets here still had the wood-cased version. Here is an example from Kaufland in Ritterhude.

The wood-cased Noris

By now, only the upcycled Noris is available. I assume the old ones sold out and stock just got replaced with the new version. I am not able to find the wood-cased Noris in any other supermarket in and around Bremen anymore, but some pockets with old stock might still be available, especially in shops with low turnover.

The upcycled Noris

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Pencil prank & Pelikan

I couldn’t help but notice the pencil on the cover of the latest Beano issue. Well, I say the latest issue, when actually it was four issues ago because my son’s subscription is slow to arrive here on the continent. At least you can still subscribe to The Beano here. The Phoenix stopped their subscription to EU countries altogether because of issues with delayed and missing deliveries and they don’t offer a digital subscription either.

In case you’re wondering what the pencil prank is, have a look here:

On a different note: registration for the Pelikan Hub 2024 is open. You can register here:

I hope to be able to run a Pelikan Hub again. As I am more familiar with my ‘new’ city, I have a better idea for the location this year.

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Posh pens in a supermarket

Most of us only know the really expensive fountain pens [1]Not sure where to draw the line here. Maybe at €200 plus? from the Internet. No wonder – unless you live in a very big city or close to a specialist stationery store you probably don’t have much chance of seeing them in real life. It’s understandable that many shops don’t stock really expensive pens: they might not sell, so would end up just tying up money that could be used to buy other goods that sell faster.

I am wondering if shops with enough turnover can sell expensive pens on commission / don’t have to pay for them until they sell them. If you know how this works, please leave a comment. The fact that you don’t see expensive pens often makes me think that this is not the case.

With this in mind it came as a surprise to see not one, but three €2,000 fountain pens at a supermarket in Bremen. OK, I admit, that it is not a normal supermarket, but a rather unusual one: It is not part of any of the common German supermarket chains and there is only branch, i.e. it is not its own chain. It’s called Lestra and is a normal, but posh, supermarket that sells milk, bread, butter, cheese, meat – and has a small but very special stationery aisle.

In the top row of the shelf in the next photo you can see Pelikan’s Silver Screen fountain pen (€1,950) from 2009 (limited edition of 420 pens), Pelikan’s Herzstück fountain pen (€2,500) from 2019 (limited edition of 462 pens) and Pelikan’s Temple of Artemis fountain pen (€2,750) that is part of the Seven Wonders Of The World Series and was released in 2006 (limited edition of 440 pens).

As you can imagine this was a very unexpected discovery. Next time I visit I’ll look what other unusual items are there to be discovered.


1 Not sure where to draw the line here. Maybe at €200 plus?

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Alsterhaus in Hamburg

A recent family trip to Hamburg [1]which was my first ever trip to Hamburg included a trip to Alsterhaus, a posh department store that very much reminded us of Harvey Nichols in Manchester.

Excuse the wide angle distortions of the photo but because of construction work I couldn’t move further away

The Alsterhaus sells many posh brands (think Armani, Chanel, Hermes, …), but unexpectedly we also found an extensive selection of stationery brands on one of the higher floors.

Some brands, like Graf von Faber-Castell, S. T. Dupont and Caran d’Ache take up large parts of the stationery corner’s luxury corner, but pens from other brands, like Pelikan and Kaweco, are also in stock.

Despite Alsterhaus’ general focus on luxury brands you can also find affordable stationery items for office and school use.

This includes a great selection of Lamy pens.

Faber-Castell, Leuchtturm and more were also available.

Thanks to my wife I walked away with Caran d’Ache’s Nespresso pencils (more about them at Pencil Talk) and my first ever “Les crayons de la maison” pencils (more about them at Lexikaliker, who discovered that this series is not quite what it is made out to be).

Prices were comparable to what you pay for these items in other shops or online.

This set seems to be the tenth edition, created together with Mizensir, a Swiss parfume firm.

When opening the plastic wrapping you can smell the strong smell from these pencils.

At this stage it is not completely clear whether the different pencils have different smells that are indistinguishable because they were together in sealed packaging or whether the different pencils have the same smell by design.


1 which was my first ever trip to Hamburg

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