Year: 2019

HB birthday

HB birthday, Bleistift blog!

Over the last ten years you have made Bleistift part of your stationery reading. Thank you.

Coinciding with Bleistift’s birthday is the belated start of‘s Mechanical Pencil Day Contest 2019, running until 7 January 2020. You can win mechanical pencils from Lamy, Caran d’AcheFaber-Castell, and BIC. Please visit for more information.

As far as I can tell Bleistift blog must be the longest-running English language pencil blog that operated without a break, but please leave a comment if that is not the case.


Earlier this year my family and I made a trip to Sizergh castle in Cumbria, not too far North of where we live.

Sizergh Castle wasn’t quite what we expected, so we finished there early and with some time to spare we decided to go to Kendal.

On the way there I remembered that a few years earlier I read about a stationery shop in Kendal: Iridium.

Trying to link to this blog post I noticed that unfortunately, the A Fool With A Pen blog, where I first found out about Iridium, doesn’t exist anymore. Luckily I was able to find an archived version of the blog post. If you can spare a few minutes please take the time to read this blog post. The blogger took the shop over for a day and wrote about his or her experience.

Our trip was a few years after I read the blog post and we originally didn’t plan to visit to the shop, so we didn’t do any research, but luckily the blog post and the name of the shop were so memorable that it was easy to find the shop – on the Internet. Finding the shop in reality wasn’t easy, though. I thought I just put the name in Google Maps and it will lead us there, but finding the entrance to the lane that leads to Iridium was rather difficult. We expected this shop to be on a normal street, which might have been a contributing factor. After a few attempts we finally found the lane “New Shambles” and the shop, but unless you are familiar with Kendal or spend a bit longer in this town you are unlikely to find this shop by coincidence.

The entrance to the New Shambles lane

Iridium isn’t big but is making great use of the available space and is full of items you normally only see online or might not have come across before. Prices were also very reasonable for a brick and mortar store.

Malcolm, the owner of the shop was very friendly, helpful and knowledgable. We couldn’t have asked for more.

The visit a few months ago long ago, but I am not sure whether Iridium is still open. According to Google it’s ‘permanently closed’ and I can’t find social media pages for Iridium but the owner’s LinkedIn page shows that it’s open.

Of course, Google isn’t always correct, but this isn’t a good sign.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the shop. If you’re near Kendal please have a look. It’s very unlikely that you’ll regret the visit.

Paper paper everywhere

[An earlier version of this blog post was written on my phone in a rush and contained many mistakes. The number of mistakes has hopefully gone done after revision. See revised blog post below.]

After the paper computer [1]I used to use this paper computer with my students for a few years, but stopped using it because I wasn’t able to get a clear answer regarding copyright issues from the people who created it. and the paper watch there’s now a paper phone.

The idea of using paper instead of technology isn’t really new to stationery enthusiasts: This time it is Google’s turn to feature the idea of replacing tech with paper and this has been reported by many newspapers and news websites.

The paper phone kind of reminds me of IBM’s ‘Think Pad’.


1 I used to use this paper computer with my students for a few years, but stopped using it because I wasn’t able to get a clear answer regarding copyright issues from the people who created it.

Staedtler at the discounter

In Europe Staedtler stationery is a familiar and regular special buy at Lidl, a discount supermarket chain.

I’m happy to see that Staedtler stationery is now also available at their competitor Aldi, a similar and probably better known discount supermarket chain. I don’t remember seeing Staedtler products at Aldi UK before.

It’s of course no wonder that all the pencils where sold out when I saw the Staedtler stationery. There were only a few erasers left.