I’m not so old that I remember writing with a goose feather, but writing implements have changed over the years.
I remember my first day at my Balham primary school; I sat at my new desk, wondering when my afternoon rest was going to start, when I had a lump of slate and chalk thrust into my hand. Was I expected to start a fire with them? Was this a type of drum? Was I to write the odds of the 3.30 at Newmarket?
Before this I’d only had crayons. My nan had a biro to do the Evening News crossword every night. I wasn’t allowed that as, the only time I’d been given one, I bit the end off and got blue ink all over my mouth. My mother assumed I was part of a royal family. Biology not one of her stronger suits.
When I was ten, we were introduced to italic pens. After ten years of mastering writing with crayons and the occasional pencil, suddenly everything had to be slanted – like I was doing my classwork from the other side of the desk.
At secondary school the desks were so old, there were still inkwells in every desk. With the advent of cartridges, the only use of the redundant inkwell was to place your mid-morning tuck-shop iced bun in. Although, if you found you suddenly had royal blue icing, the inkwells were clearly still being used.
But if your cartridge had run out, there were always the geese running amok on the rugby field.