Looking for a Calligraphy Mentor….?

I have been contacted by my niece, Charmaine, and she is desperate to learn calligraphy for her upcoming nuptials in 2020. I offered her my services but she is adamant that she wants to address the wedding invitations herself, mostly because she considers me to be so addled and ancient that she fears I may be dead before I am needed. Charmed, I’m sure. Anyhow, with a heavy heart I have agreed to help her. Obviously she has been pouting over Pinterest and is determined to learn a modern calligraphy style, in return I have said that if she wants my instruction then she will learn my way, and that she would do well to learn several styles… I mean, who is to know what will be fashionable and slapped all over Pinterest in 2020??

She has now been here for several hours. I have locked her in the attic. It is furnished simply with a wooden desk and chair, upon the desk is a rudimentary lined notepad from Tesco’s, a straight plastic holder, a no.2 1/2 William Mitchell nib, a bottle of Higgins Eternal ink, a small paintbrush, and an old Sheaffer instruction pamphlet that includes a basic italic examplar. Before leaving her, and locking the door, I demonstrated how to insert the nib into the holder i.e. this is the nib and you shove it in the holder. I also disgusted her by sticking the new nib in my mouth and giving it a good slosh round with saliva. I did explain that this is my way of getting the protective factory coating off the nib, but she is welcome to spend time messing around with flames, toothpaste, alcohol, vinegar, etc, if she finds the saliva method too repugnant. My gob is like acid and never fails to strip a nib. Any nib. I then fitted the reservoir for her, checked the nib was writing okay, locked her in and then went up the pub.

I am back now and fixing her a bowl of gruel, which I will take up to her after I’ve finished my fag. I am excited to see how she has progressed after my in depth instruction. If all goes well then I may think about taking on a paying student as there is something comforting in having someone locked in the attic whilst I potter about. I will upload pictures of her work in my next post.


Take the nib, shove it in the holder and then suck it and see….then add the reservoir
Warning: these nibs have been used. Please do not suck used nibs.

32 thoughts on “Looking for a Calligraphy Mentor….?

  1. upcoming and 2020 – ?? – seems like plenty of time. I can’t think of anyone who planned a wedding that far out in time. Our neighbors’ son had a far out wedding at the zoo. We didn’t attend, thank God.
    “My gob is like acid and never fails to strip a nib.” Wow that sure would be an attention getter on any dating site profile.

  2. Is the protective factory coating poisonous? Or a hallucinogenic? If the latter, please forward a few.

    You used “gruel” and “fag” in the same sentence. That’s so British. I love you guys.

    Who plans a wedding five years out! That’s daft! (See…I can talk British, too.)

  3. I’m thinking of having some personal calling cards printed. May I use “addled and ancient” as the tag line? If so, is there a licensing fee?

    • As it’s you, Mr Lax, I will waive the licensing fee of £200 per card, and you, and you alone have permission for ‘addled and ancient’. Apologies, but I can’t say the same for ‘ancient and addled’… which is the real money spinner.

  4. Ah, Charmaine – didn’t she help out some moons ago ? Good to know that there’s always the chance to become the man in your attic (I could try my hand on the Yage letters or so) and with the help of hallucinogenic nibs and the occasional drop of acid gob it should become quiet an experience. There must be a secret sloshing technique involved, the famous scarlet wiggle perhaps ?

    • Charmaine did indeed ‘help out’ some moons ago, but I have since forgiven her.
      This post has taken a rather addictive turn… but then again, calligraphy is a rather addictive sport. As for the wiggle… this is aided and abetted by my not unattractive limp.

  5. This is the only way to do it. How will the young things ever learn otherwise? Don’t let your heart soften – I don’t want to see her out of that attic for at least a month!

    • Thank you, Moya! Agreed!! I have told her that after a month in the attic, that I might return her mobile phone, but this does depend whether she can produce smooth continuous curves… I might even throw in (literally) a fish finger sandwich as well, if she has achieved this to my satisfaction 😉

  6. 2020? Now that’s a long engagement!
    There’s a Charmaine works in the tanning salon across the road from my house. Never looks happy poor dear, even when she smiles it looks like she’s in pain. She needs to get some real sunshine.
    This coming St. Patrick’s Day it will be eleven years since I’ve had a fag in my mouth. 😉


    • Congrats, Mr Cheen!!
      Maybe your Charmaine has bunions or some such? This might explain the pained expression.
      Real sunshine…? With real heat coming off it? Oh, Mr Cheen! Don’t let’s ask for the sun when we have a deluxe facial solarium tanning therapy lamp at our disposal.

  7. I’m a great believer in long engagements, so I’m delighted to read that your niece is taking the sensible approach to any prospective nuptials. It may be, and I have no wish to pry here, that the long period of preparation might also allow her to select a husband of decent virtue and catering abilities. As for slurping the old saliva round an object which needs to be cleaned. Another great tip from the home of good handwriting. Thank you most sincerely 🙂

    • Apologies for my tardiness, Mr Ducks, you really do not deserve such an abysmal service from this blog! A husband with catering abilities? Now there’s a thought… I could convert the cellar into a cookery school for young men of easy virtue… I mean decent virtue…

      • In fact one of the gaping holes I have in my manners, are a failure to reply to comments on my Blog. I don’t why I don’t because I always love it when others reply to mine. A poor show all together I fear. Thank you for visiting my Blog again. Your visits are always cheering

    • I just couldn’t do the Valentine thing this year. Apologies, Mr Lax. I’m sure there are many other ladies who have reciprocated though… YOU ASKED ENOUGH OF THEM!!!!!

  8. Ah, so it was you who brought back the fashion of imprisoning someone in one’s attic. I wish you’d given a little more notice – It’ll take an age to clear out my attic enough to squeeze an actual person in there (even a small one).

    P.S. We must swap gruel recipes, too.

    P.P.S. THose nibs look like tiny dragon heads.

    • Well, I did have Mr Beastie loitering in the cellar… so the only way was up, hence the attic. Perhaps I should put the fine wines in the cellar? That would be a novel idea.
      Oh yes! But we must keep gruel recipes betwixt ourselves – one thing though, when serving, are you an advocate of a roll on Sundays? I am toying with the idea.

    • You are lovely, Mr Ducks!
      As of tomorrow there may be more wordy activity from me. I have a filthy cold to shake off first… but tomorrow is definitely the dawn of a new era. Yes… a new laptop is imminent 🙂

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