Ding Dong All Over The World

by Scribble Monboddo

Naturally, the plan for this blog was to bring you a truly festive product report, complete with a picture of said product in the Christmas Market as the snow fell, but in the real world the snow melted into rain far too quickly, so this piece is sadly illustrated by a background of rather soggy Bruges. A good time was had by humans, even if the product placement went a bit sideways!

On the other hand, the experience amply demonstrated just how rugged the product in question is. Lochby make stuff which can take a bit of rough handling and keep your prize stationery safe on your travels, and the Pocket Journal notebook covers are perhaps the purest iteration of this fine idea.

Part of the concept's flexibility arises from the sturdy sewn construction, which makes it fairly easy to add a retaining D-ring should you wish, or even to replace the zip pull with paracord of your chosen hue (regular readers may not be terribly surprised by what happened in this case). That's a good thing if you want to keep your valuable Tomoe River paper safe, for instance, which is handy as Lochby supply the cover complete with such a refined refill. 'Nice touch, there.

Of course, if you're travelling far you'll need to keep your identity documents safe, and by fortunate happenstance the Pocket Journal cover does that rather well. Passports have been around for a few centuries and, funnily enough, have been getting progressively smaller for most of that time. The originals were great big folded sheets of paper, but became 32-page books thanks to the League of Nations; an international organisation based in Geneva naturally knew a thing or two about needing space for all those stamps from chaps in silly hats. By the late twentieth century the British passport had at least shrunk to something which could just about fit into a suit jacket pocket, if one's tailor was generously inclined, but it was still a whopper by today's standards.

What changed all the giddy variety of different passport types employed by various issuing states was, of course, the rise of the machines. All passports have to be machine-readable these days, thanks to the protocols prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (a branch, you guessed it, of the United Nations) - so obviously they need to be the same size. For that we can pop back to Switzerland to consult the International Standards Organization because, yes, where there is a need for standardisation there's an ISO number for that (ISO 216, to be precise), and the format of larger identity documents (ID3) is prescribed as, wait for it, B7. How does that help us? Well, B7 is 88 by 125 millimetres, just a touch smaller than 'pocket notebook' size, now normalised as 90 by 140 millimetres, so a pocket journal cover like Lochby's can also keep your passport safe, and unobtrusively too. It can't do anything about that dodgy portrait photo, sadly, but it will take you on adventures and get you home safely - and that's not a claim too many stationery products can make.