Here's one of the notebooks from the Autumn Trilogy. How very seasonal, and just the thing as the leaves fall outside the scriptorium, drifting through the dawn mist and WOAH THERE! When did Americans start calling it autumn? I mean, don't get me wrong, that's the right name for this time of year in the northern hemisphere, but cripes. Well, I'm not going to miss hearing it confused with grumpy Mancunian art-rockers The Fall, but maybe that's just me.
Anyway, the big news here is that I've finally been allowed to try Field Notes. There was, it's fair to say, just a touch of hesitancy about that at Nero HQ because - and let's get this over with early - this absolutely isn't the thing to write on with a fountain pen. Honestly, I've seen better line definition on blotting paper. But that simply isn't what these are for. They're for breaking out your poshest graphite, you see - you wouldn't take your exotic gold nibbage out to the middle of a corn-field to check crop growth and record soil humidity and the like, would you?
Time for a little history, then. The 'fly-over' states of the US have, like much of Canada to the north, a long tradition of large-scale agriculture, serviced by seed companies, tractor firms and the like - and the sales reps used to hand out useful pocket notebooks to remind farmers of their brand. There's a terrific collection of them on Field Notes' own site, and a stand-out example for recording really serious s$&t is featured below.
Nowadays Field Notes produced splendidly artistic special editions, and this is one of them, featuring three sets of leaves (I got to play with an American Elm). It has been suggested that these are 'disposable' but I couldn't be persuaded to throw them away, that's for sure.
I've been warned that these tend to sell out rather quickly, so if this particular special edition floats your boat then it may be wisest to order one before we get to the pencil test. Got it? OK, let's break out the graphite!
It's amazing how many yellow pencils turn up when you go looking for them. Here we have a vintage Sandhurst, a Pentel frankenpencil, a Calepino #2, a chunky WorkZone carpenter's pencil, a completely random HB which even I've not reviewed yet, and the venerable Viking Skoleblyanten. It handled them all with ease, and still looked good afterwards. Maybe these have grown on me after all - even if I'll still carry a second notebook for the nibs when travelling with one!