Hello from Austria to everyone!
What I do like particularly about this community (apart from the information one is able to get here and the Classifieds section) is the fact that there are people from literally all over the world here. I think that´s an important feature, not only to grabble around in one´s own neigbourhood, but to reach out and get to know new things.
I´ve always been into fountain pens since I was a child. I got my first one (a cheap Pelikan for children using cartridges) when I started school because we were required to exclusively use fountain pens then. That pen may still rest with my stuff from school in my mothers attic - might be fun to climb up there looking for it one day.
When I reached my teen years, I already had acquired quite a range of pens (all of them really cheap and partly in crazy colours (we´re talking about the 1980s here...) and inked them up with a variety of Pelikan colours. (Pelikan seemed to be the only ink school supply shops had in store and the cartridges fitted practically every pen they had as well. There were mainly Pelikan pens, Jolly and also no-name ones. Lamy seems to have reached Austria somewhat later.
When I was 13 or 14 years old, I received my first quality fountain pen as a birthday gift: a Pelikan M400, classically green-striated. My fellow students had a tendency towards the green or blue marbled M200s at that time, but I just wouldn´t have it. I went straight for the green stripes. My mother was not amused as the M400 cost a small fortune, but it was the only pen I wanted. It proved to be a good decision as I used it throughout school and I still have, use and cherish it today, about 30 years later. And this decision seems to have sparked a love for striped pens in general.
During the last years, my old Pelikan has started to breed and I have a flock of 10 birds now, both new ones (M400s and M805s) and vintage ones from the 1950s and 1960s (all of them 400s and their facelifts). I love both categories, but I seem to lean towards the vintage ones.
Also, my flock of Pelikans seems to have attracted other pens and I had to make the appalling observation, that by now they have outgrown the beautiful 20 piece presentation box I have bought a while ago, thinking it would offer AMPLE space. Ahem... No. It doesn´t. Amongst those "other" pens there are several Eversharp Skylines (mostly Modern Stripe ones), some Sheaffers, a Lamy 2000, one OMAS 556/S, a Pilot MYU 701 M-500BS, a Jinhao and a Centropen Barkley in massive silver. All of them are getting inked up and used regularly as I always carry 2 - 3 pens around with me and I like to rotate them and use them on a daily basis at work and at home.
Some of the things I consider the best in life: Having a nice cup of tea while writing a letter to a close friend, using a beautiful pen and a strikingly coloured ink on perfect paper, a cat purring beside me and a book resting on the table, waiting for me to read on.
Yes... I can deal with that. And I suppose there are several people around here who know exactly what I mean.