So Facebook has its uses.  It comes to my attention that this week in the UK is “National Stationery Week”.

What does that mean?  Apparently it’s an effort to increase literacy in children and even get them hand-writing more letters.

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National Stationery Week

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Organiser Chris Leonard-Morgan says:

“Writing by hand is more important than ever in today’s digital age, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to work with the National Literacy Trust which is the only national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK, and does amazing work in this area.”

(quote stolen from

The official site here tells us that “technology has merely distracted us from the joy and importance of writing, it hasn’t replaced it. ”

Too right.  I remember some great days when convenience didn’t stop me and a good friend writing long letters by hand during intolerable University terms breaks.  Envelopes decorated with poor doodles would fly back and forth via the stalwarts at Royal Mail (who also sponsor NSW).

Receiving a hand-written letter in the morning to read with a nice cup of Earl Grey made me feel like this:

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Snoopy Happy Dance

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— only surrounded by giant swirls of colour, stars and moonbeams.

Receiving an e-mail, however nice its contents, doesn’t really match that feeling.

In an effort to celebrate I’m going to reminisce about the contents of my old school pencil case.

A rectangular tin.  What was on it?  Silver on the inside, scuffed with streaks of graphite and a spot of ink.


—  One HB pencil, stubby, with teeth marks.

— One HB pencil, brand new, ideally with a rubber on the end (not to be used until stubby is too short to sharpen)

— A small silver pencil sharpener

— A rhomboid rubber with two colours

— One each black and red Biro

— A “good pen” (not for lending)

— A translucent blue protractor, and likewise set-square and six inch ruler

— At one time or another, maybe a mouse-shaped Tip-Ex “pen” for all those botched maths answers.

This was circa 1997.  Those were the days.

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I’m all for getting people to hand write letters.  It’d be a fascinating experiment to see how people get by without predictive text and spellcheck.

And maybe it will get people being creative again.

Draw a little doodle.  Love your friends.  Send joy in an envelope to someone!

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— db