Aaand relax

Had a lovely, peaceful walk this morning. I should know by now that when I’m feeling anxious, I simply need to get out into the forest or onto the heaths, just me and the dog.

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Grass

My local council has introduced a policy of not cutting grass verges, to promote “habitats” for wildlife. In some places they have encouraged wildflowers to grow, which looks lovely. However, in most places they are allowing the verges and vanity strips to run wild with grasses.

Just the other day I realised why I have suffered from terrible hayfever in the last couple of years, making the link between it and the introduction of this no-cutting policy. I used only to have problems with oak trees, but recently it has spread to cover the whole summer.

A lot of the grasses growing are of the type which are positively dangerous to dogs, as the fine hairs can get into their fur, into their paws and into them, causing infections and sometimes death from where they migrate to. Not to mention the increased tick population, also hazardous to dogs (and humans in some cases).

I can almost understand such a policy in urban areas, but I am surrounded by forest and heath. I also originally assumed it was introduced during the pandemic purely because of limited staff resources, but it seems not. More likely they have realised how to save some money - whilst at the same time increasing our local taxes by 3-5%, at a time when inflation was still low. (I dread to think how much more they will want next year - we already pay the second highest rate in the country).

They council are, however, quite happy to allow large developments of new housing, destorying habitat in the process. Hypocrisy? I think so.

Well, it may have been very wet for today's walk, but the light in the copse was interesting. Things look different in the wet and, according to the puppy, they smell very interesting, too.

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Another early start, out by 6:30am this morning; making the most of the quiet of the early morning and the good weather, as rain is forecast for next week.

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I followed one of my usual routes, then took a fairly steep path uphill towards the high point of the area. The plan was to continue across the top to join up with a trail I had walked previously. Unfortunately I turned south too soon for that, taking a route between a couple of tumuli. Not a well-used path at the bottom, and also rather boggy in places.

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I ended up back where I had started, instead of coming out further east, as planned. Still, it was an adventure and the puppy is now snoozing, unaware she's about to get dumped in the bath!

Another walk in the forest, although today we reversed the route and took the path we avoided a couple of days ago. The views were worth it.

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An even earlier start this morning - we were out of the house before 7am. I planned to take a familiar route, with a small diversion towards the end.

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However, a path not found and another path taken took us on quite a beautiful walk.

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This was looking back down a rather steep incline, but it was worth it, as the forest flattened out into some beautiful scenery. Social distancing at its very best!

This was a steeper hill we didn’t take:

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We followed this path back down towards home, meeting some lovely dogs and owners along the way.

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Early walk this morning. Very quiet out, lovelye5f400a3-1a09-44a7-a194-2ed34f3ba4c4fc7b4fcd-73a6-4d90-911d-5687041541c7.
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Out in the garden

The puppy got her first tennis ball to play with today and is very pleased with herself.

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I took the opportunity of a self-amusing puppy to play with the portrait function on my iPhone 11. Not on people, ooh no, why waste it on humans when plants are so much nicer!

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These shots are of a large viburnum in my back garden, which flowers later than some of my others. Yes, I’m a fan - evergreen, early flowering and the buds and flowers are just exquisite.

Charles Lethaby Ion Fountain Pen

I backed the Kickstarter for this pen after it came up in one of my social media feeds. The price was good and in the photos the pen looked gorgeous.

Charles Lethaby is a brand better-known for its lighting products - very nice and rather high end. Part of what appealed to me about this project was that it was a British company, making the process rather easier for me. So, I pondered the options, of which there were plenty. The pen is now on the company website so you can take a look at the various options. Most notable to me is how the character of the pen seems to change depending on which end cap is selected. I was so very tempted by the flat knurled caps and, had I not chosen the brass, I would probably have opted for knurled caps. As it was, I felt the brass looked so very sleek with the domed caps, so that is what I chose.

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The Kickstarter experience was very smooth, unlike some experiences I have had with other pen projects. There was a delay with the Bock nibs (I almost expected that), but I was kept updated in a timely and very polite fashion.

I missed the initial delivery, as I was away, and hadn't expected it to arrive so quickly. Redelivery booked and the pen duly arrived yesterday. The box is classic, sleek and does its job, with just the name of the pen on the outside. Inside was the pen, along with a hand-written thank you note - a very nice touch.

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The pen, as stated in the Kickstarter, has no branding on it; it is simply a long, shiny tube. My pen is heavy, as expected, but once the cap is off, the balance is fine in the hand, despite the fact it seems to be quite a long pen. The Bock nib is large, so if you like to hold your pen close to the paper, then this isn't the one for you. My nib was slightly loose in the grip when it arrived, but a quick twist fixed that. The section is reasonably slender, much thinner than, say, the Namisu Nova (the only other brass fountain pen I own). I found the pen comfortable to write with, but I do have fairly large hands. I'm also ambidextrous so I usually allocate a pen to one hand or the other. This one suits my right hand better. I have no specific criteria for this choice, it's merely a gut preference thing.

The section feels long, but it isn't really, and the screw thread for the cap isn't sharp, nor does it get in the way at all. As with most metal pens I've used, the body can become unscrewed from the grip with use, but there's a decent thread, so that's not a great concern. Interestingly, the threads are only on the grip and both the body and cap screw onto the one thread, meeting in the middle. On other pens I have, the body screws onto the grip and then the cap onto the body. That's certainly the case with my Nova and my Kaweco brass rollerball. Is one approach better than another? I have no idea. This one on the Ion certainly looks sleek and the body and cap have beautiful bezels so they meet and slightly overlap on the inside. I do love a nice bezel; it makes me think quality for some reason. I ordered this pen with a broad nib. I usually write small, using a fine or extra-fine, but sometimes a juicy broad is needed. I think it suits this pen.

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All in all, I'm very pleased with the Ion, although I've not had it long. It's heavy, but not too heavy; it's very well made and exudes quality. As it's a new pen which is still going out to backers I haven't seen many reviews yet, but check out this review from Scribble Monboddo. Naturally he filled his pen with purple ink. Mine is currently filled with Waterman Serenity Blue, but I have a feeling it might get Diamine Monboddo's Hat next, a Fountain Pens UK Facebook group ink, named in honour of the aforementioned Scrib. Until our 2020 teal ink comes out, of course - watch this space!

Kingston Lacy

Another lovely walk at a nearby National Trust property. Snowdrops out in force, along with some early Camelias.

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