Stu's Daily Drivers 2023

by Stuart Lennon

If you’ve been reading here a long time, then you know that my use of notebooks changes, almost constantly. Partly, this is a reflection of life - I’m never entirely sure whether I’m retired, semi-retired or none of the above.

Right now, I’m engaged in a few things. Here at Nero’s, in my consultancy business Lime, and on my own blog. I’m also studying for a Masters degree. I have been working from one daily driver, one book to rule them all, as it were. This is easy, in that it’s difficult to get confused - however, it does mean I tear through books quickly, and finding anything a month to two later involves leafing through multiple volumes. So - I’ve switched to my old multiple book system.

1. Lime. Sometimes described as the jobby-job. I often use a Writing Folder from Smythson of Bond Street and their wonderful refills. These are lovely - but you won’t get much change from £500 for an A5 starter set and a few refills. A true extravagance, one that I afforded myself from an excellent year in the world of anti money laundering compliance. The paper handles any writing implement, including the broad-nibbed fountain pens that I favour.
2. Nero’s. The hobby-job. I’m using a spiral bound notebook made especially for us by Calepino of France. Coincidentally, the card cover is identical in colour to the Smythson refills. The paper is a good all rounder, but does allow show-through from wet ink. The book has Nero’s Notes printed on the cover, a Hemingway quote on the fly leaf and a handy “poche” for recipes or business cards on the last page. At £30, it’s not quite so indulgent.
3. The blog. “Work in Progress” from Octagon of Spain. We’re currently out of stock, but do have the same book with different covers. 120 gsm paper and clever lay-flat binding that doesn’t require metal spirals. These really are high quality notebooks that don’t get enough attention. At £19, they’re a steal.

I have a couple more on the go for my studies. Five A5 notebooks must surely be a sign of my post-pandemic life. The vast majority of my work is done at my desk, and the separate notebooks are my physical cues to switch context. I try to only have one on my desk at a time - so that I keep on task. When I’m working on Nero’s, then the Calepino is open and my computer tabs are focused on stationery.

Pens live all about the place, but I have my “currently inked” selection in my Lochby Quattro. (More stock on the way!)

I’m about to embark on a trip. Five A5 notebooks for a five day trip is hardly practical. Space in the luggage is at a premium, so decisions need to be made. The trip is Lime-focused, so the writing folder will make the trip.

But I’m also hoping to pop in on Clare at Nero’s HQ. I find planes good places to unplug and let my mind wander. Should I allow my different roles to bleed into the Lime book? Of course not - it’s time to get back into a pocket notebook as my multi-role capture unit. My last pocket notebook was begun in March of this year and use dwindled by the end of that month.

Time for a new start. A Norderly Pocket Jotter. Militantly spartan. Perfect.

After a fallow period, I feel my analogue game is getting going again.