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  1. I always planned to review two reds, Diamine Poppy Red and Tulip next to each other. It saves emptying and cleaning out the pens that are filled with the comparison colours. This one is Tulip from the Flowers Gift Set. This is another very good, bright red. It is very slightly darker than Poppy Red, and has slightly less of the pinkish undertone/edge than Poppy Red has. It's a very saturated red ink that looks even better when it's used in a pen with a broader nib. Like Poppy Red, it looked more subdued when I wrote with it in my fine nibbed pen. I loved it in my Lamy Nexx and they were an excellent combination together. You know when a pen and ink really like each other, and go well together, and you feel you could write all day with them, well it was like that. On the Diamine web-site, they only have small swab stripes showing the colours of the Flower Gift Set. So when I ordered Tulip, from the swab I saw, I thought it was going to be much more of an orange red. It isn't. It's definitely a classic bright red in the style of Poppy and Ruby. This ink was a joy to write with, neither too wet nor too dry. It flowed well in the pens I filled with it, and I experienced no problems with it at all. I'm not sure whether you would need both Poppy and Tulip in your collection, but if you love red inks like me, you might decide to splurge. It gets a thumbs up from me. This isn't a waterproof ink, but it has reasonable water resistance. Not quite as water resistant as Poppy Red, but still not too bad. The water was only on the grid for about 30 seconds.Bearing in mind the paper I use is thick with a shiny, smooth surface, and I used a Lamy 1.1mm nib, this ink only took 10-12 secs to dry. That's very quick on this paper, and a bit quicker than Poppy Red.It flows very well and lubricates the nib very well. I saw no skips or hard starts despite leaving the pen uncapped while I did all of the swab tests.It is currently available in 30ml glass bottles as one of the Flowers Gift set or 30ml plastic refill bottlesDiamine sell it directly to end-users on their web-site.
  2. I went to the London Writing Society show today intending to come back with one or more vintage Watermans (Watermen?) - I've been saving for months, and was pretty clear what I wanted. I wanted to fill in some holes in my collection of 12 1/2 V overlays, and was hoping for one with a very flexible nib; I was also searching for a flexible stub in any model I could find. Didn't end up getting either, to my great surprise. First off, the terrific John Sorowka (Oxonian in these parts) tuned three of my pens and embarrassed me horribly with the amount of crud he found in the nib section of my Waterman 12 POC. (I'd much rather trust someone like John to disassemble a friable old BCHR pen than do it myself - as I said to him, I'm totally cack-handed and am guaranteed to snap something if it's a pen I really care about.) All three are ten times the pen they were when I put them in my pen case this morning: and John is a lovely, lovely man. Now I've met him, I'll be sending him a couple more for a regrind. Some Iroshizuku bottles caught my eye on the Write Here Pens stand. And I didn't buy any, because when I made my way over there, I found this - the Diamine Flower Set. (I thought it wasn't meant to be available until the end of the month?) Like I say, I was shopping for teeny Watermans with flexy nibs. Ray Walters (Vintage and Modern Pens) saw me testing Waterman nibs at his stand on my thumbnail, and collared me: he said he had a pen that might interest me, although it wasn't a Waterman. It's a tiny Mabie Todd Swan ringtop with a sterling silver overlay, and he handed it to me dipped so I could give it a whirl. For a Mabie Todd, it was pricey at £125, but...this nib was THE ONE. I have a couple of wet noodles already, but none are this responsive or display this much variation; and if you could marry pens and I wasn't married already, I'd be having the banns read next week. Here's the obligatory nib shot. (As good as I can manage with my phone, I'm afraid.) It is a *beautiful* writer. It's butter-smooth, gorgeously wet - and you can see the flex. My god, the flex. It's like writing with a piece of oily ribbon. Apologies for the handwriting; it's not my best effort. My hands are still a bit shaky because I'm *stupidly* excited about that nib. Do any Mabie Todd collectors here know what the model is called, and when it was in production? (It's 9.5cm long with the cap on, if that helps.) Gary Lehrer signed a copy of Waterman Past and Present for me, using one of my pens, fresh from John's tender ministrations, because he didn't have one inked. And I considered my bankroll, spent another happy hour and a half or so browsing, chatting and learning new things, before heading out for lunch with my husband (who is not a pens person, but who found himself enjoying the morning very much indeed) and back home on the train. Brilliant day. Thanks to everybody who made it happen!

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