Recently a friend reported that it is no long possible to buy a Writing Pad. In this electronic age they appear to have become obsolete. Sure, you can buy packs of dinky little notelets, in supermarkets and chain stores. You can buy pre-printed invitations to weddings, parties, christenings, and there’s a wildly expensive greeting card for every occasion under the sun. But a pad of ruled writing paper? Nah. Not going to happen.
Croxley Writing pads were a big feature of my school days – back in the Olden Days, when we had zero access to the telephone; cellphones hadn’t even been dreamed of (incredible, I know, but there was a time), and communications were limited to writing a letter. Quaint, but true. Emergencies were dealt with via telegram. Arrival of a telegram always meant big drama of some sort.
But Croxley writing pads were regular features of life. They provided a whole world of possibilities: blue or white paper for letters home, to your parents; maybe yellow – or even green – to friends or penfriends; and if you had a boyfriend, then pink or mauve … a whole pastel world of promise.
Your wealthy friends scorned commercial writing pads, and wrote on thick sheets – unlined, of course! – of creamy Basildon Bond, which also came in a sky blue colour, but that was it. No vulgar pinks and greens.
Your overseas relatives used flimsy blue aerogrammes, which offered limited writing space and un-co-operative gummed flaps to close the letter, which always tore in the wrong place when you tried – no matter how carefully – to open the wretched things.
So: I have to say that texting and e-mailing, while quick, convenient and cheap, offer none of the excitement of opening a real letter, which arrives in a sealed envelope, bearing a stamp. A postage stamp – you’ve seen those, surely? I learnt the other day, of a young lady in the Ukraine, who collects stamps, but she scans them in, and has a Virtual Collection of postage stamps. Stanley Gibbons must be revolving in his grave like a threshing machine …
P.S. I’ve just spent a fruitless half-hour searching the free Clip Art sites on the web, hoping to find a graphic to illustrate this post – no way José, nada, nix. Writing pads have been well and truly obliterated.