Quink. Just the word takes me back to schooldays. The blue and white box containing a squat bottle with a black lid embossed with 'Parker'. I loved running my finger over that word, feeling the contours. The smooth paper label before it became scuffed and before I doodled on it.
Then the moment to open the bottle. A slight resistance then a pop as the seal is broken. Slowly turning the lid to avoid splashing any ink on the desk. Followed by my favourite moment - sniffing. The tangy smell of the ink, nothing smells anything like it. Even when my pen is fully loaded I can't resist a sneaky sniff of the nib.
Dipping the nib into the blue liquid, trying so hard to only dip the nib and not the pen in. Pulling the lever at the side of the pen and watching the bubbles on the surface. Pushing the lever in and hearing the faintest of slurping noises as the ink flows up into the pen. Repeating the process just to see the bubbles and hear the slurp!
Wiping the nib clean on a piece of blotting paper or tissue. Holding the pen against the paper for just a moment longer than needed, watching the ink growing up the paper, making flowery shapes. Then the moment of truth - making the first mark on the paper. I'd like to say I wrote some lovely poetry with beautiful copperplate handwriting that flowed effortlessly across the paper. The truth is that I probably made a spluttery blot first of all.
I've never had neat writing and I'm a bit cack handed with fountain pens. I do love using them and try to write with them when I can. The joy of using a 'real' pen rather than a biro or rollerball; I'm convinced my writing is neater and more attractive but maybe that's just wishful thinking. I just love the ritual of using a 'real' pan and smelling that back to schooldays inky smell. And yes, I still manage to get it all over my fingers!