We returned recently from a couple of weeks in the country of my dreams, Japan. Japan is such a photogenic country. Everything is interesting. It’s been fun, albeit hard work, sorting through the thousands of photos we brought back with us, although it is joyful to relive it. I’ll be publishing a photo diary of our trip, starting with the theme of Streets of Japan, the first places that any new visitor to a country really sees.
Do you ever look at the stationery you’re using and wonder how it came to be? I do. With this in mind, I recently visited G.F Smith, a paper maker. I had come across G.F Smith online when reading about various paper projects so when I saw that they have a space you can visit and a gorgeous paper art installation, I popped over one lunchtime to visit this Great British company.
Once a year, London Design Festival descends on my fair city. Installations are highlighted by red markers outside the doors of tiny shops, to world-famous museums. Best of all, most of it is free! So I made a point of making time to see world-class design for nothing.
A few weeks ago The London Parchment turned a year old. First and foremost thank you so much for sticking with me! I’d like to use this post to pick out a few brief thoughts I have of the year gone by and to revisit some of my favourite photographs. There are links dotted throughout for you to check out if you joined me somewhere throughout the last 12 months.
It was a spectacular drive to New York. We crossed the border straight from Canada into New York state and drove through another stretch of forest without hardly seeing another soul. We were so deep in the great outdoors that we actually lost phone signal for about 2 hours on the drive. Driving into Manhattan is an experience in itself. (Practical real-life tip: if you’re dropping off a hire car in Manhattan, don’t agree to return the tank full. There are no petrol stations anywhere!) Within 100m of emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel I was honking like a local.
Montreal, what can I say. It took all of about three hours for Montreal to become my new favourite city in the world. High praise, I know, but it is well deserved. The picture below is a shot I took of Habitat 67, a housing complex originally designed by an architecture student, designed to amalgamate urban apartment living with having the qualities of suburban life, such as open space. I spent quite a lot of time walking around it and it was so interesting. Just one of the things that makes Montreal unique.
How tasty does this smoked meat look? It was as delicious as you imagine and was one of the defining moments of my few days in Quebec City!
The drive there was strange in that there was the most amazing scenery on the stateside leg – forests, lakes, empty roads, blue skies, fluffy clouds, yes all very awe inspiring. Then we crossed into Canada and strangely it seemed to be very flat! Anyway, after a five hour drive we arrived in the walled city.
I’m going to distil my recent trip to North America into 5 posts because there’s so much so them. Then there’s all the stationery I brought back. I feel like I have enough to keep The London Parchment going for a year! Here’s a little map I drew of my trip, starting and finishing in Boston at the bottom of the right page (apologies for my scrawl):
We had such an amazing time. Such a diverse holiday with so much to do and so much to see. To help in communicating it to you without writing a full on essay, I’ve drawn a little brainstorm of my impressions of each place.
In America Maine is known as Vacationland and I couldn’t put it better myself. It’s a vast state, America’s most north-easterly and is full of juxtaposition, from coastline to mountains, forests to rocky outcrops, winters skiing to summers doing watersports. We’re very lucky because my fiance’s family live in Maine in a great, cavernous, wooden house overlooking a lovely town on Maine’s interior called Norway so we got to spend a few days taking in the best of it all.
How to sum a couple of days in Maine up?
The views. You seem to be able to find the most unexpected and unbelievable view on any drive you go on. We barely saw a car in front of us or passing us on several of our drives. Just us and the landscapes.
Beer. I love American Pale Ale and I didn’t really know that until this trip. Maine has an enormous range of microbreweries and local craft breweries, the variety on offer is endless and the cans are all bright and colourful.
The sea. The coastline is awesome. Lighthouses standing tall, waves crashing ashore, shades of deep blues, turquoise and white.
Trees, trees and more trees. I would love to come back here in the autumn. We spent a day in a state park an hour or so away from Norway and saw a waterfall full of meltwater, the start of the famous Appalachian Trail, rivers… all within an endless stretch of forest.
It’s just, well, such a cool state and I have barely even scratched the surface of Maine so far. It’s a state for all seasons and has a great character to it. Here are some of the many little eccentricities I found…
The next couple of weeks will see a break from posts on The London Parchment as I’m off on an adventure. My fiancé and I are off to spend a couple of weeks taking in the springtime Maine countryside, Quebec City, Montreal, New York City and Boston. I’m really looking forward to it!
I’m going to be travelling very light on the stationery front on this trip because I plan on stocking up big time. I’ve already had a few treats delivered to the friends we’re staying with in Boston to pick up tonight when we land! But much more on that after I return. Suffice it to say I’m travelling with a singular everything: my trusty Staedtler Mars Lumograph B grade, my Kaweco Sport F nib with Diamine teal, my Ballograf Chrome Epoca, my Milan eraser, Uni Jetstream and a yellow Muji double ended pen. I’m also bringing my Hobonichi Techo to keep up with journaling, and my Polaroid ZIP because I really want to include a daily photo from this trip. I’ve realised that a daily photo from “normal” life isn’t sustainable with the Techo because it would just become too big over the year. But daily photos during holidays are essential, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Finally this is all topped off by three pocket notebooks full of travel tips that I’ve been amassing for each of the places we’re visiting, all cosied up in leather and elastic in my gorgeous green fauxdori. That’s it! We’ll see what I return with!
If you have any tips, stationery related or otherwise, for any of the places I’m heading to, I’d love to hear them!