Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Virginia Woolf goes Pencil Hunting

Virginia Woolf - by CHRISTIAAN TONNIS  
No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner. As the foxhunter hunts in order to preserve the breed of foxes, and the golfer plays in order that open spaces may be preserved from the builders, so when the desire comes upon us to go street rambling the pencil does for a pretext, and getting up we say: "Really I must buy a pencil," as if under cover of this excuse we could indulge safely in the greatest pleasure of town life in winter--rambling the streets of London.
Well, I don't think we can let that first sentence go without contradiction, but in all other respects compelling. The rest of the essay is here .

Many a pencil hunting outing of mine is brought to mind - the narrow streets above Wall Street in Manhattan where still some small independent stationers exist; the flea markets of North Paris; the Old Town in Prague, the magnificent stationery stores of Tokyo.

London is missing a stationery shop - a real, serious one.

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