In his never-ending quest for rum doings and exotic curios, Nero digs up all sorts of surprising associations. In that light it should perhaps be entirely natural for the words 'Kyoto' and 'brickworks' to appear in the same sentence, but nevertheless some explaining appears necessary.
Brickworks have traditionally sprung up all over the British countryside, wherever there was suitable clay to bake - and Sussex has that sort of soil (as well as similar terroir to the Champagne region, nearby - but that's beyond our remit today). In Rudgwick, brick-making continued from the mid-nineteenth century right through to about ten years ago, with short breaks for the Second World War and for the discovery, in 1985, by the wondrously titled Morris Zdzalek of the bones of a previously unknown species of dinosaur which now revels in the name of Polacanthus rudgwickensis. But now that the kilns have all cooled, other purposes have been found for the site - including the manufacture of very classy notebooks.
ESMIE, you see, is an acronym; Exquisite Stationery Made In England
. That's a perfectly justified boast, too, as these really are very neatly assembled, with proper sewn bindings in the old-fashioned style. Then there are the covers, which apparently result from silk-screen printing using classic techniques in Kyoto, the old capital of Japan, which is also home to - drum roll - the World Brick Museum
. But of course!
The result of this smorgasbord of influences is a unique product which somehow looks like it should always have been on your bookshelf.
The contents are of a fairly old-fashioned nature too, featuring the subtle ridges characteristic of 'laid' paper-making. That's perfect for graphite and firm steel nibs, albeit a bit of a work-out for more flexible fountain pens. So, if you are a secret fan of Japanese brush calligraphy, this is definitely the notebook for you - but otherwise it might just suit those of us who want a slightly posher book to keep the shopping lists in!