Illustration | design

Tiny Tea Dispatch


It’s official, this summer will be our final one with this green garden. The dog is taking advantage of any spot of sunshine to get some sunbathing in. No worries though, our new place will give plenty of opportunity to catch some rays.
That’s right, after the many ups and downs of house hunting, we finally found a place that has room to house the dog’s toys and food bowl.
Not sure it will fit all our books, but it’s important to have your priorities in order.

# Retro corner #

Not much new in the way of Gameboys or Gameboy photography at the moment. I still have a few projects waiting but I’m not that motivated to sit here soldering in the heat we’ve been having. I did see this beautiful Citro├źn deux chevaux in town the other day.

# Homemade

Remember the Gameboy game I made? It now exists on a few physical copies as well (the picture is just a mock-up, I haven’t printed the actual labels yet).
I got my hands on a decent cartridge reader/writer + knock-off Pokemon cartridges, to put my own game on.
I know, I know, it’s a very niche thing to do but I thought it would be a fun thing to have in physical form. There’s 5 cartridges, 1 of which I’m keeping for myself, the rest I plan to send off to a few retro game enthusiasts whose work I’ve enjoyed or who have inspired mine.

# Inkwell #

It’s been a while, but I did recently buy a few more fountain pens. While they look nice, I was specifically interested in them for the nibs.

You see, modern pens don’t usually have flexible nibs anymore. If you really want a pen that can give you nice line variation and is responsive, your best bets are to buy vintage or Frankenstein your own pen using a Zebra nib.
There are a few exceptions to this. Most notably, Indian manufacturers (perhaps even just 1) produce a modern type of ‘flex’ nib which I’ve only found in a couple of American-made fountain pens which have mixed reviews and are expensive to import. To my surprise though, Indian-based Kanpur Writers actually makes and ships their own at very reasonable prices.

I have to note though, that for as nice as the seller is, and as pleasant as the pens are to use, there are some negative points.
The materials and build quality are pretty cheap. I’ve been using the ‘pearl green’ pen for a few weeks now and some of the plating on the clip has already come off. The body and cap are also made from cheap plastic instead of the quality resin I’m used to from other pens with similar effects/coloring. You notice this immediately, because there is almost no iridescence and it doesn’t feel the same in the hand as other pens.
The metal band on the cap also came out of the box with a scratch and there was some glue left on the bottom of the pen body. I was able to carefully scratch it off without damaging the pen but this isn’t something you want to be doing with a new pen.
But hey, the nibs are great and that’s the most important thing here.

# Seen/Read #

Affiche Heyst-sur-Mer – Duinbergen, 1913

I moved around a lot as a kid but I suppose the place I would categorize as ‘where I grew up’, would be a Belgian coastal municipality consisting of (amongst others) Knokke, Heist and Duinbergen. Can’t say I had a great time there but as I’m moving again, I’ve been thinking a lot about the history and architecture of the places where I’ve lived. I suppose that, as you grow up somewhere, you don’t really pay much attention to that kind of thing. But it’s interesting to revisit 20 years later.
This poster comes from a relatively recent book (Duinbergen – Het Zoute, published 2016) describing the rise of tourism at the Flemish coast and the changing of the landscape alongside it. Sadly, most of the interesting buildings are long gone, as we Belgians are usually terrible at conservation of our cultural patrimony.
Well, I say ‘sadly’ but they’ve been demolished for the same reasons as why they were built in the first place: to create and accommodate tourism. These places have always been hollow: a collection of illusions and idealised/nostalgic living built on the back of the lower working class. It’s just that I find the Art Deco, Modernist buildings and even early Cottage style, a lot more pleasant to look at than apartment buildings and white villas. There’s not much merit in that either.

# Closing thoughts #

I’ve had to put the closing paragraph for this newsletter on hold for a few days, because of a 3-day stay in hospital. Long story short: I have a herniated disc that’s been stable for a long time and suddenly got a whole lot worse. To the point where I couldn’t walk anymore.
Yeah, it’s been a rough week but things are going better now. Boo and I have been discussing how to pimp the rollator. I’m thinking of painting it black and adding the Batman logo, for a Bat(mobile) look. Flames on the sides are also an option.

I will leave you with this picture of our dog, who likes to take up as much space as possible on the couch.

See you next month!

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