Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hang on, I'll just check my diary

You can buy a lot of great things in France, including suitcases, which I had cause to do while I was there. However, suitcases don't enchant me so much so I left Mr Baxter in BHV to choose the right one and anyway, his French is better than mine.

I oozed my way over to the stationary shelves nearby where I found this:

There was only one - all its brothers and sisters had been sold. Diary? Notebook? I opened it up and quite a number of my wishes came true at that moment.

A Filofax! But slim and light and eminently portable! With a comprehensive diary! In leather! Pink leather!

With all the saints' days included! In French! And a notebook too! And a jotting pad!

And room for business cards and things you tear out of magazines in the doctor's waiting room! (I don't do that.)

This is one of the most important purchases I have ever made. I haul kilograms of stuff around with me and for the sake of my shoulders have had to pare down the weight of my work bag. It was with great regret that I tucked my faithful red Filofax into my desk drawer and started relying on my phone to store phone numbers and grocery lists. This grieved me because I am a note taker, a pen user, someone who likes to keep written records of things. Such archives are easier to maintain in a notebook than on a phone. For me, anyway.

And this sliver of an agenda is perfect - light and comprehensive. To give you an idea, here it is in context with other purse inhabitants,  including my terrifying intelligent phone that sighs with boredom every time it sees me.

I love my Filofax Flex. They're not available in Australia but you can buy them, and the refils,  on the Filofax website (if I don't clear them out before you get there).

The French appreciate fine stationary. At ever pen counter in every store - even the most jam packed, modern, prosaic supermarket - you will fountain pens alongside the biros. I know this because I am obsessed with pens and own hundreds, many of which I've bought in France. I have been known to befriend people simply to get closer to their pens. I bought quite a few on my recent trip - some cheapies in lovely colours..

 ...and four rather posh ones:

There are no prizes for guessing my favourite. The second and fourth pen in the above photo are Waterman, my favourite pen company in the world. The third from the top is branded Balmain, although I am guessing it is a licensed product rather than a piece of pret-a-porter from the great fashion house. And the Ines pen ... sigh. That little gold leaf you can see is the clip you attach to your jacket. It doesn't look particularly effective but it clamps your pocket with the tenacity of a cobra.

And I bet you didn't know that all the best hair clips are made in France. This is why, when you are next in a French department store or supermarket buying fabulous pens, you should then make your way to the beauty aisle and fill your basket with handfuls of hair delight, like I did.

There is no keener pleasure than needing a dusty pink bobby pin and being able to find the perfect shade, right there on your bathroom counter.

Incidentally, the suitcase is orange, very light, and has four wheels.


  1. Nice haul! The Filofax Flex is a gorgeous color. (It'd look good on my blog!)

    And Waterman is my favorite pen company. At work, I carry around two identical blue ballpoints and, in my desk, I have a large black rollerball for signing documents. All Waterman. Love their pens.

    You did well!

  2. Aaah, no better way to start the day than with a Baxter fix! Thank you.

  3. Shy, you crack me up! As soon as I read your comment I wondered "what colour is the Shybiker blog again?" I went straight over to your blog...and laughed and laughed. And yes, Waterman is the king of pens. I have a theory that it is the preferred pen of lawyers - is it some secret code amongst you guys? My former boss, a very senior prosecutor, had a magnificent gold and green enamel Waterman fountain pen. I coveted it.

    Happy to oblige, Jen! Thank you for taking the time to read it.