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8:00am on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2006:



My children both wanted new fountain pens, so yesterday we bought a couple of them. My younger daughter remembered we had some other fountain pens in a drawer somewhere, and got them out to have a look.

One of these old pens belonged to my grandmother, who died in 2000. It was a metal pen that I bought her many years ago, and which I'd got engraved with her name. She really liked it, and kept it to use for special occasions (that was the kind of thing my grandma did). Thus, when it came to clearing her house after she died, it was one of the first things I looked for.

It didn't work as a pen any more. The ink inside had dried up and formed some kind of superglue-like seal that denied entry to the cartridge. I'd tried soaking it in water to dissolve the ink, and soaking it in hot water to make the barrel expand, and I'd even tried brute force (but I stopped when it looked like I might scratch the endpiece). That wasn't the point, though. I wasn't keeping it because I wanetd a pen; I was keeping it because I wanted a memento of my grandma.

Finding that the pen couldn't be opened to put in a new cartridge, my daughter asked me to fix it and I explained that I'd tried. My father-in-law, who's here at the moment, said he'd have a go. He put it in a vice, squeezed it so tight that it dented the barrel, then snapped the end off.

It's in the bin now.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).