18 Oct Autumn News and Winter Calendar
Greetings, friends, and apologies for our silence right through this long, wet summer and quite a lot of the strangely warm autumn. We promise that our newsletter is only ‘occasional’, and I feel we’ve honoured that commitment to not cluttering up your inbox over the years, perhaps flirting with ‘sporadic’, ‘erratic’ or even ‘unpredictable’. But this has been an exceptionally long interlude. We were last in touch in June with news of an unexpected relocation. Then radio silence fell as we muddled through our move from a warehouse outside Bedford to a warehouse outside St Ives (the one near Cambridge, not the one in Cornwall) and all the business that entailed of logistics, planning and software integration — things that nobody really wants to hear about. For five months it consumed us. At last we are more or less done with all that. The show is back on the road.
We are obviously, as a company, wedded to the idea of the notebook and the utility and pleasure of recording things on paper rather than digitally. Once upon a time I believed each new notebook was the receptacle into which I would pour out my fascinating thoughts. How many books are there with a densely written first page of diary musings, a shorter second page, and nothing written on the third page at all? Certainly, in my house, many many books. Even at a young age I must have been uncomfortably aware that the thoughts, once pinned down, were not so very fascinating. Rereading years later, it is the mundane details of everyday life we are gripped by – the authentic texture of life as we lived it then, with all the specifics that we had forgotten but which conjure instantly a lost world. The food and the clothes for example. Tell us more about that.
There’s nothing like a list discovered years later to summon up the flavour of times past. These are fictional examples from the great ‘Mrs Weber’s Diary’ by Posy Simmonds. It’s a collection of her cartoons from the Guardian, assembled into a sort of proto-graphic novel in 1979, before that was a genre. It is superb in every detail, but I’ve always found the marginalia (“cleaned out lint from tumble-dryer”) particularly funny. If you have never come across it, it’s now out of print but second-hand copies are easily obtainable.
The point is, lists and memoranda accumulate if you let them into a diary of a curiously genuine and even moving sort. This is a long preamble to announcing that we have a new notebook type: The Very Slim List Book. It’s a notebook with detachable lined pages, tall and slender, weighing almost nothing so that you barely know you’re carrying it and can always have it to hand to jot things down. It has patterned covers and is available in a range of our patterns, some newer and some old favourites. It could just be a useful book for writing shopping lists, or it could be a meaningful record of your life… either way, available now.
Other new things for this autumn include the Ivy patterned paper that you can see at the top of the newsletter, available in three colour ways (Marine Blue and Acid Yellow; Piccalilli and Cranberry; Swamp Green and Orange) and as Hardback Notebooks (both sizes) and an Exercise Book as well as patterned paper.
Customers have asked us over the years if we could make our collector’s drawers in other patterns, and we’ve acted on this at last. We chose an old favourite, Little Stars in Petrol Blue, and a comparatively new pattern, Dancing Hare in the Berry colour way. The three drawers have a coloured lining that matches the pattern, and in both cases the finished article is both beautiful and useful. The careful placement of the animals on the Dancing Hare version is extremely pleasing We have just ten sets of drawers in each of these two patterns, dipping our toe in the water to see if demand exists.
Finally, we usually let you know around this time about any events we have planned for the autumn and winter. Because it’s been such a tricky year, we’ve cut back a bit. But we do have two dates for the early winter that you might be interested in:
WATER LANE CHRISTMAS FAIR
The Christmas Fair at Water Lane on the Kent/Sussex border is a new event for us. Water Lane is a wonderful productive walled kitchen garden, which feeds the onsite restaurant, and which is complete with outhouses, a vinery, and Victorian glasshouses. We will be in the Pelargonium House. The dates are:
Friday 1st December 4—8 pm
Saturday 2nd December 10—4pm
Sunday 3rd December 10—4 pm
A lot of the excellent designers, makers and merchants who have been left bereft by the sad demise of the Great Dixter Christmas Fair will be there, plus many others; there will be delicious hot food, Christmas trees will be available, and the setting is magical. Do come if you’re in the vicinity.
WATER LANE WALLED GARDEN
KENT TN18 5DH
The second date is our annual Studio Sale, so-called for historical reasons though it has long outgrown our studio. For several years this event has taken place at the Unitarian Church Hall on Emmanuel Street in central Cambridge, which is just a few steps from the bus station and five minutes from the market, and easily accessed from the railway station as well. As usual there will be glorious bargains to be had. Our doors will open at noon and there’ll be twinkly lights and mulled wine and mince pies to warm and cheer you, as well as a year’s worth of accumulated seconds, experiments, mistakes, off-cuts, bin-ends and very slightly damaged articles in need of a good home. We enjoy this event so much, and for us it signals the beginning of Christmas. Do join us!
CAMBRIDGE IMPRINT STUDIO SALE
UNITARIAN CHURCH HALL
CAMBRIDGE CB1 1JW
Tuesday 12th December, noon—6 pm