An elderly pencil

We have had the decorators in and everything but everything has been boxed up. The job has been so long that all our cardboard boxes are now hidden wells of discovery,  Looking through one such box. I found this pencil.


Walter Brennan taught me to sail. I was 13 or 14 at the time – so the pencil is a little over 50 years old.

It was inexpensive – free, in fact, because he gave them away. It hasn’t been used constantly but it has survived over the years where a number of expensive and increasingly sophisticated computers have not. And whereas those computers became obsolete, this piece of kit will still do what it was designed to do – act as a printer for whatever is going on in my head.

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Obviously it is ancient hardware and I don’t offer it as an alternative to a computer – (certainly not with my brain!), but as a design that stands the test of time.

Having found it again, I am able to use it instantly – no recharging,  no cables, no wireless router, no waiting for startup, no searching for software and apps, no need to update.  It is portable and versatile. So is my mobile phone – but I guarantee my pencil will outlive my mobile too. (And I can’t chew the end of my mobile).

On the boat, I have three versions of gps – plus a clutch of 2B pencils.

If you’re younger than thirty you possibly don’t care. That’s ok. But at the weekend I watched my three year-old grandson climb the stairs while watching a television programme on the iPad he was holding. He had found the app and opened the programme himself. I don’t suppose he will be impressed if I leave him my pencil in my will. However, my pencil will last longer than his iPad.

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Perhaps the pencil will be the shape of computers to come.

Who knew they would reduce a computer to look like a large postcard?

Who knew a smart phone would become the size of a small chocolate bar?

All power to the pencil.