Whether it's fine or whether it's sunny, this'll cope with it all - it's all-whether, tha noos!

by Scribble Monboddo

The late great Humphrey Lyttelton, when asked about his abilities in the sphere of avian identification, reported that "I'm not much of an orthinologist - more of a word-botcher". Here then, is a notebook for both botchers of words and indeed aficionados of our feathered friends, or any fans of outdoor scribbling really. For this is a Glaswegian notebook, and its makers know about the toll the elements can take upon one's scribblings.

Now there's a fine Scots term, dreich, which is so well-used it topped a Scotsman poll for the favourite word in the vernacular. Attempt a trudge along the beautiful torture known as the West Highland Way some time, and you'll encounter its meaning soon enough; grey, cloud-covered, conditions where near-constant drizzle is interrupted only by waves of voracious midges. The scenery is gorgeous when the sun peeps through, but in the meantime conditions can be both dreary and bleak, as the word suggests. Right at the southern end of that path is Glasgow itself, home to the makers of the Alwych book - and you can see now why they wanted it be of 'all-weather' construction.

The makers are very keen to remind us that the brand has been around for a century, which is plenty of opportunity for those claims to have been well-tested. It's not actually meant to be full-on waterproof, but that cover can withstand a bit of rain and will prevent the sun from bleaching your notes too prematurely. It reminds me of the sort of book that SPCK used to encourage upon tourists with the effrontery to expect cathedrals to have gift shops, back in the day when that was a novel idea. Bible black it may be, but if you go up a mountain and come back down with inspiration fit to record for posterity, can it handle the pressure?

Well, yes it can. This isn't designed for calligraphy, so very wet fountain pens may cause some bleed-through, but every-day ink works just fine. On the assumption that you're probably not going to take your vintage flex heirloom on your journey to the centre of the earth, or wherever it is you're planning an adventure next, you'll be OK with an Alwych. If you go into space and you're gripped by that old urban myth about competing designs for orbital stationery, you can even take a pencil.

Pick up an Alwych in any of their four charmingly eccentric formats and see what you can find to write about in the great outdoors. No sooner did I pick one up than I was buzzed by a raptor, after all...