Banana Pens, Sex Workers and a Measuring Tape

Here in the UK the Duchess of Sussex (the royal formerly known as Meghan Markel), was in the news this weekend – because she wrote notes for sex workers on bananas.

A clever idea to write the notes on bananas. If you think how crazy people can get when it comes to celebrities  and royals the bananas would probably have to go straight to the freezer if the recipient wants to sell them to some eccentric collector.

I remember that a friend of mine posted about a banana pen. I forgot the details, but luckily Gunther, of Lexikaliker fame, has a better memory than me: He reminded me that I saw it in this post from a friend.

You don’t need to look for this pen if you want to write on bananas. You can just use vinegar, e.g. in a brush pen.

I wonder whether the Duchess of Sussex used a banana pen / vinegar or a normal marker, like an Edding or a Sharpie. There have been numerous reports that she is or was into calligraphy, so she might know about banana pens…

Another clever idea, maybe not as clever as banana pens:

A measuring tape with a built-in pencil that takes 2mm leads.

Seen this weekend at Lidl UK.

The screenshot in this blog post has been  taken from BBC News. I believe that the use of the screenshot shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

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Pencil Calligraphy: a look at the Manuscript Lettering Pencil Set

Thanks to Scribble and the United Inkdom crew I recently had the chance to try out the Manuscript Lettering Pencil Set.

It comes with a glass file for shaping your own leads as well as preshaped leads in assorted colours.

Have a look at my video to find out more about this pencil set.

You can find further information on Her Nibs’ Blog and on Scribble’s Blog.



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Pens on Exhibition

You might have noticed that Bleistift is much quieter than it used to be. This is mainly down to a change at work, which will keep me more busy for the next few months [1]The good news for a fan of wood cased and mechanical pencils is that the new job title includes the word “lead”..

There are a few unpublished, half finished posts plus there are videos from the last few months that have not received the accompanying blog post yet. New blog posts in the next weeks and months will probably be mainly made up of these kind of articles.

Before I disappear from the blog again for another few days, here are a few stationery related things I have noticed that I want to share with you.

This puzzle sorter looked quite possibly useful for stationery-related purposes. I wonder whether it would make a great stackable pen storage. The packaging was sealed, but as far as I can tell each tray (there are six inside) should provide enough depth for a pencil.

These Japanese transfer from Clover are pencil I haven’t come across before. Curious…

One last surprise: you don’t get to see a Pilot pen on exhibition in your local museum very often. The museum had an exhibition to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the East Lancashire Calligraphers’ Guild, including some of the tools used and some of excellent examples of calligraphy.




1 The good news for a fan of wood cased and mechanical pencils is that the new job title includes the word “lead”.

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Visiting an Arabic Calligraphy Workshop

A few weeks ago I went to a calligraphy workshop. My first ever. I found out about it when one of my students, who knows I like stationery, told me that a calligraphy workshop will be held on the premises of my employer (a university).

The student told me that the workshop was organised by the students’ Islamic Society, so I assumed it would be Arabic calligraphy, but wasn’t sure and couldn’t find out more online.

Well, I went there and it was Arabic calligraphy after all. As I don’t know anything about Arabic script I thought this would be an opportunity to learn more about it. When I asked I was told that the workshop is suitable for someone who doesn’t know Arabic.

I paid my £3 fee, but it all turned out a bit different than expected. I expected to use tools somehow similar to a dip pen and parchment, but instead, we wrote with colour markers on easel pads. I am still not sure how Arabic calligraphy works. Someone wrote with a board marker on a white board and we copied that sentence again and again. The idea was that you vary the look of the letters (if that’s the right word, are they called letters?) to look good ..but as I don’t even know how the letters are supposed to look like I wasn’t sure how they can be changed or varied while still staying recognisable to someone who can read Arabic.

No idea whether this looks good or not.

It was an interesting experience, but it would be nice to make these events more inclusive by making them less of a ‘you copy down what’s on the board’ exercise and giving some explanations about the writing system.

I wonder whether there’ll also be Western calligraphy workshops in the future.



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