Showers, Perhaps Thundery Later

When we last wrote a newsletter back in March, it was a lament for the extraordinarily wet spring, but filled with the conviction that this unusual state of affairs would soon pass. Well that comfortable assurance certainly turned out to be mistaken. Has there ever been a cooler, or wetter, May and June? A few days ago snow was falling on the high peaks in Scotland. Down here in Cambridge it has merely been more or less continuously overcast; occasional gales interspersed with random downpours. Every so often the sun comes out and shines upon the exuberant vegetation all this rain has given rise to, but soon the sky is once again black. Hardy readers from further north and west of the country got in touch after our spring newsletter, pointing out that Cambridge is in a rain shadow, practically a desert, and that the damp weather we were describing was perfectly normal in their parts. Weren’t we being a bit fragile? Touché. We concede: we are usually rather spoilt. But not this summer, so called.

Of course, some people love the gentle, damp weather — and by people I mean animals, and by animals I mean ducks and snails, which wholly coincidentally dominate our most recent work. There is something very charming about the garden after a shower, when suddenly snails are everywhere, going about their mysterious, silent, amiable business at imperceptible speed. Of course their true goal is to eat every leaf, every bloom you hold most dear, but let us ignore that painful fact. We have a new extra-special three-dimensional folding concertina card of friendly snails, wishing the recipient a Happy Birthday. Perhaps it’s not for gardeners.

We also have a new 3D Patchwork Puddleducks card. I believe ducks are in fact the natural enemy of slugs and snails, but we’ll draw a veil over that inconvenient reality also. In our studio at least, the lion is lying down with the lamb. See also our new 3D Calico Cats card, with audacious prancing mouse. Unlike the snails, these two cards have no particular intrinsic message, except that humour and affection are implied.

The ducks seemed a particularly appropriate motif for this damp moment, so we have also made a few printing blocks: one Fancy Duck, one Marching Duck, one very adorable Duckling running to catch up, as all ducklings always are. They just arrived from our blockmakers in Norfolk. There’s a limited supply, so do move quickly if you are interested.

We’ve been reorganising the warehouse a bit, and consequently some types of notebook and scrapbook have been out of stock for a few weeks: our apologies if you have been disappointed. They’re virtually all back in stock now. (The exceptions are the little lined Pocket Notebooks – back in next week –  and the Scrapbooks, which will be gone for another month or so.) In fact we’ve just had a huge delivery of new patterns of Square Notebook from the binder, and these are all now to be found on the website. The Square Notebooks have 84 ivory pages ruled with a narrow line, they are 21cm square (just over 8 inches), in this university town they are beloved of students, and on a perfectly horrible grey day their patterns and colours are lighting up the studio: they are quite scrumptious.

As I write these words, the sky darkens and rain once again begins to fall. These fluctuations are very maritime: like living at the seaside all the time, although we are 45 miles inland. We feel particularly island-dwelling, particularly northern just now. An enterprising young female relative is currently rowing around Great Britain, making the shipping forecast of more immediate practical interest: usually it is poetry only. Lundy, Fastnet. North 3 to 5, becoming variable 2 to 4. Mainly slight. Showers. Good.

Finally, if there are any fans of our smaller letter trays out there, we have just had a big delivery in lots of new colours and patterns.  This is the smaller, more delicate version of the beloved A4 Letter Tray, so useful for organising papers. The small version is good for smaller bits and pieces: for keeping together all the bits of a small craft project, or for organising photographs or cuttings, or for keeping jewellery tidy. I find this size too absolutely invaluable. You can find them now in the Boxes and Portfolios Department.