Bristol - Brace yourself

by Stuart Lennon
The South West Pen Show takes place on Sunday the third of February at the Double Tree Hilton, Bristol North.

Clare and I will be there.

The theory is that we sell things; but somehow or other, I end up doing a fair amount of browsing myself. If you like fountain pens, this is the place to come. There are a good number of vintage pen dealers as well as retailers offering great deals on new pens. If you need nib help, then come early, the slots with the nib masters get booked up quickly. Fancy a Twiss pen? The man himself is there.

We, of course, will have a selection of ink-friendly notebooks and as many Nock pen cases as we can carry. Assuming that our wholesalers get their houses in order, we will also take some Blackwing. Last year, we had several enquiries and in a face to face environment, we are allowed to sell Blackwings as singles, so a great way for people to see what all the fuss is about.

Now - beware. There is an entry fee. Visitors are charged £5 each. Not the way that I would do it, but I’m a new boy. I’m told that the fee deters time-wasters. It is worth remembering that for the vintage dealers, these shows are an extremely important part of their business.

What’s lovely is that there are pens at the bottom of the price scale, all the way to the very top. Custom-made Onoto anyone? Regardless of price, all the dealers are approachable and helpful (even the ones that look scary).

Clare and I hang out with David, the man behind William Hannah and together, we marvel at the depth of knowledge of fountain pens in the room. Obviously, on no account should you buy his incredible notebooks and covers, don’t let the fact that they are awesome quality at a very fair price blind you - they are dangerous.

Nobody ever owns just one…Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If Bristol is in your range on a Sunday in early February, come along and buy yourself a pen. There are always deals to be had, and yes Clare does force me into offering the odd discount…