Fall upon the leaves

by Scribble Monboddo

Feeling like a splash of colour to get you through the autumn mists? Nero can help! For starters, there's more floral goodness from Esmie, who presumably heard the old call to 'chuck out your Chintz' and resolved to do just the opposite. If minimalism is decidedly not your bag, one of their cute pocket notebooks might be just the ticket.

If you want a colourful pencil, meanwhile, Blackwing's latest series, the 93, is dedicated to Corita Kent; nun, painter, ex-nun - it's a long story - and social justice campaigner. Some parts of that biography are tricky to cover a slender pencil barrel with, but paint is probably no trouble. She was seriously famous for it in her day, as her 22-cent 'Love' (suitably displayed in purple, of course) postage stamp is a handy reminder of.

But the pencils are dedicated to Rainbow Swash, which is a very big painting indeed; reputedly one of the biggest ever, as it covered a huge gas tank on the outskirts of Boston on the road to Plymouth - which as geography fans will deduce makes it either a forgotten section of the Fosse Way or, more probably, a corner of Massachusetts. Corita was a peace activist and, oddly, some of her opponents claim to see the face of Ho Chi Minh in the blue stripe, but this is probably just another everyday case of pareidolia. These days the gas tank is owned by, err, the National Grid - yes, the British energy distributor. Now there IS a conspiracy... cracking graphite, mind!