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Grail-Quest

Posted by Dirck on 16 September, 2013

My parents and brother have just returned from a trip to The Old Country, and as is traditional for travellers, they brought back some trinkets the natives gave them in exchange for valuable gold.  The most profound gift brought back was some kind of exotic cold, which my son tried on over the weekend and is letting me borrow today– low-grade, not much mucus, generally quite comfortable as these things go.

They brought me back a bottle of something, too, which I’m to share with my wife.  Long-time readers of this nonsense may be getting excited vicariously now, as they will know that in The Old Country is P.W. Akkerman, and at P.W. Akkerman one finds the most desirable ink bottle in the world (according to some), the amazing two-stage easy-filler:

Its not just a bottle, it's art!

Its not just a bottle, it’s art!

While the bottle is not original to Akkerman (Waterman was using the same arrangement in the 1920s, as was the UK branch of Mabie, Todd, & Co.), it is unique in current production, and certainly something many of us ink-consuming weirdos would like one or a dozen of.  That the ink they contain is reputed to be pretty darned good doesn’t hurt, either.

There is, however, a problem.  Note beneath the name of the company– Den Haag.  There is more than one P.W. Akkerman, one in Den Haag (or, for those who refuse to sound it out, the Hague) and one in Amsterdam.  My family’s travels were based down in Breda, and while Amsterdam is a longer hike than Den Haag, my father has no sisters in the the latter and thus not reason to look in there.  Moreover, as hinted by the “sinds 1910” on the one site and “sinds 1929” on the other, there was some sort of schism; Stephen Brown, regularly appearing Dutch Pen Geek, explained a bit of the history on one of the FPGTV episodes, but the upshot of it is, fancy ink bottles are not to be had in Amsterdam.  This particular grail goes uncadged, which shouldn’t surprise me as my brother’s name is derived from perennial grail runner-up Gawain.

I didn’t, by the way, mention this before they went as a nice thing to get, for the same reason I didn’t mention the rather nice pen-shop in Tilburg, a city I know was passed through several times on this trip.  Why?  Because in a trip composed of my parents, my brother, and his son, adding external demands seemed like a terrible thing to do.  So I didn’t.

My reward, as I mention is a bottle.  Actually, two bottles– one of childhood delight Chocomel, which is profoundly unavailable in Canada, and the other a more persistent solace in the form 750 ml of a of a strong liqueur made by a distiller whose very name sounds like a rite of Bacchus where at least two generations of the expedition wanted to spend an afternoon face-down in the proeflokaal.  I’ll get to Den Haag in my own time, I’m sure.

Today’s pen: Parker Super 21
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black

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One Response to “Grail-Quest”

  1. […]  Just in time for me to go and have an off-campus lunch!  Friday remains film day, and since I mentioned a grail recently, this seems […]

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