Solitude and good company

by Amanda Fleet

"Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company" - Lord Byron

Well, I certainly have the solitude right now, as I'm sure many of us have in these lock down times. And I've always been a letter-writer (as Stu might attest to, though Cypriot post appears to have stopped at the moment).

These are challenging times for many of us, even the most insular and introverted like myself. I'm finding it especially hard not to be able to visit my Dad in a care home. He and Mum are really finding it difficult not to see each other. It's made harder by the fact that he can't manage to hold a phone, and my Mum doesn't have the internet so they can't video-call one another. Instead, they're writing letters. Well, Mum is writing them. Dad's getting one of the carers to help him because he can't manage a pen any more. And (of course) I'm writing letters to him.

I saw this interesting post recently about how to make a letter and envelope combined:

Essentially, there is some jiggery-pokery origami and one side of the paper becomes the 'outer envelope' and the written part is contained within. This was how letters used to be sent, before envelopes became the norm. I did try this in a letter to a friend, and it did work. That said, my letters are usually longer than one side of A4, so I had to write quite small (and divide the page up into 4 sections so the tiny writing was legible!). I can't imagine doing this regularly, because usually my letters are several sheets long! Though maybe the folding would be secure enough to hold multiple sheets within. Of course, if you did use this method, the paper would have to be good enough quality that your letter didn't bleed through or show through to the other side, but don't worry, I know a good online stationery shop that can help with that.

Should you get the yen for letter-writing (please do! It's a dying art. And it would be good to have less ephemeral records of this time than emails and text messages), Nero's Notes has a selection of great paper for you.

If you don't feel up to facing a whole blank sheet, but still want to send something, there are some cracking Viking cards:

I just love these!! Not least because there is a lot of Viking art inspiration in my books. They're simple and stylish. Who wouldn't want to get one of these?

If you feel a bit braver and could manage some A5, then there are several great products on the site, from writing sets (paper and envelopes in the same set) to pads of paper and packs of envelopes.

Or what about this fabulous correspondence notepad, with the amazing little letterpress designs at the top of each page? Each page is 6.25 x 9.5" - big enough to write a decent amount; small enough not to scare the horses.

Feeling even braver? Then there are A4 writing sets too. I might add that all these writing sets are made from fantastic paper!

Already have some paper but need envelopes? What about these from Life?

There are even 'candy stripes' as one of my good friends calls airmail envelopes.

Whichever you choose, make someone's day and send them a letter.

Viking cards (set 1)

Viking cards (set 2)

Life Quoi de neuf envelopes

'candy stripes' (airmail envelopes)

Writing sets (A5)

Writing sets (A4)

writing paper (pads)