Conveniently, for I shall be using cartridges in exams and don’t want to transport nearly-empty bottles of ink home with me, I’ve come to the end of two of my bottles of ink this week. I’ve been writing with ink from a bottle for about a year and a half now, something that isn’t that unusual in Oxford. The primary reason for this is that it’s much cheaper and much more environmentally friendly: a bottle of ink is a fiver or less, and by my calculations the equivalent amount in cartridge-form is about £12 at the price I used to buy cartridges in Sheffield, and £20 at the nearest shop here in Oxford. Substantial for anyone, not just students like me. And think of all the plastic you’re saving.

The secondary reason is that it’s nice to try out different colours. With these bottles I had a nice deep purple and a pleasantly different blue-black, though Waterman Blue–Black is very different depending on the pen, and I still have half a bottle of Diamine Evergreen which is beautifully rich dark green.

However I think that I’m at a point where I’m happy just to have one colour and be consistent, and that colour is Waterman Blue–Black. I’ve never stopped liking it and it doesn’t draw attention away from what you’re writing to the fact you’re writing in an unusual colour. I’ll keep my Evergreen around of course, but I don’t think I’ll fill up with it very often anymore.

Waterman bottles are substantially more practical than Diamine, as they’re shaped to be filled from with a nib whereas the Diamine bottle is just a bottle. The Internet thinks, I recall, that Lamy bottles are even better at getting the last bits out of so I would love to come across an empty one. Fountain pen ink is very simple and you can use ink from any manufacturer in any pen, no matter what the pen manufacturers might like to tell you.

Another bottle of purple I bought, Diamine Imperial Purple, I gave away as I wasn’t too keen.

I really have no interest in fountain pens themselves; I like the way mine writes, but don’t understand why anyone would have more than two and spend loads of money on them. I write a lot and like writing with one, simple as that.