Good afternoon everyone.
I thought it is about time to
put pen to paper bash the keyboard once again after an interesting day out looking for pens.
Saturday morning, for a change, was bright and sunny, definitely not November-ish weather at all, so we decided to go pen hunting.
First off, to F.G. Thomas in sheffield to have a close look at a pen that "She who must be obeyed" spotted on one of her previous visits. Straight away, on stepping through the door we were met with a very warm welcome and were engaged immediately in conversations about, erm, pens...
Then, as we had come to snare a rare Conway Stewart, the proprietor (Gary) extracted a wonderful selection of said pens for us to drool over. There were a number of model 100's, a Wellington, some of them with "Henry Simpole" bands on them, all gorgeous, all in front of our eyes. Yummy. However, we were on a mission and had come to pick up a model 58 in Lapis blue, which, was in the very last box brought out. Without any delay, we made the purchase which tonight gets wrapped up and will go under the tree to be opened december 25th. Yep, I know, mean of me, letting the missus see the present and then take it away. However, to compensate, I know she has now got something she really really wants, so no mistakes this year!
Overall, the whole experience was very relaxed, zero pressure on us to even purchase anything and the welcome was very friendly indeed. Up to now the pens we have purchased have been from online retailers, which, don't get me wrong here, we have had good experiences online, but actually seeing quality writing instruments in the flesh really does make a big difference.
Will we visit them again? Absolutely. Value for money? Subjective due to the nature of what we bought, but we would say yes. Easy to get to? Mainline station at the bottom of the hill, multi storey car park next to it, both only 5 minutes walk, with cafes and other shops in the area. Considering Sheffield is a huge city, this store is a little Gem.
We could have stayed there for hours just chatting, but we planned on shooting across country to visit another purveyor of fine writing instruments.
Next up, was "The Pen Box" (penbox.co.uk) across country in Epworth. Epworth is by contrast a small market town in the countryside and the shop itself is tucked deep in a small shopping arcade. As per F.G. thomas, we were greeted with a very warm welcome and were left to browse to our hearts content. Now, I have been hankering after a Pelikan M800 with an italic broad nib for a while and bingo, there was one in stock at a "very competitive price. I wasn't going to leave without this little puppy.
In the mean time, we got chatting to the proprietor and he kindly showed us through a large number of either rare or unusual pens in his collection and it was a drool-fest. Anyone seen the S.T. Dupont Orient Express? We have now and it is stunning! Not only is there a wide variety but there appear to be excellent stocking levels as well.
Would we visit again, you betcha. Easy to get to? Sat Nav took us to an open air car park with 2 hours free parking, the shop being two minutes walk away. The arcade has a number of small cafes and rustic shops, definitely a nice place to visit.
So after a full day out, two gorgeous pens, two bottles of ink and a serious exercise in emptying the wallet, I would have to report that it was was definitely worth taking the effort getting out there to visit actual real bricks & mortar shops. The experience in both was positive, no pressure to buy anything and could not say if one was better than the other, as they were both top-notch. Both shops have a "web presence" and have the usual methods of contact, email. telephone etc. Having visited both and meeting the guys, I would have no hesitation purchasing online from them. My bank Manager however, may have a different opinion...
As per the "usual rules" of FPN, I have taken a couple of quick snaps of the new additions to the collection.