Grut, F.

Just over five years ago, I finally filled my first ever Moleskine™ notebook. As I admitted at the time, ever since I was a little kid and read Bobby Brewster, Detective, I’ve been a compulsive notebook collector. Seriously, I can't resist: I've got dozens of them.

Before the year is out—or on 31st December precisely, if I write smaller and time it correctly—I shall finish my sixth Moleskine™. Which means it takes me about a year to fill one.

None of which is at all relevant.

The reason I am suddenly banging on about notebooks is that the Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project has just published scans of two of Wallace's address books as PDF documents, and they are things of great beauty: Book 1, Book 2. (Alfred Russel Wallace, in case you are trying to remember, is the chap who came up with the idea of evolution by means of Natural Selection independently of Darwin.)

Fairly interesting stuff, if you happen to run a website about Charles Darwin, I suppose, but what on Earth has this got to do with Gruts? Well, check out page 3 of the first PDF document:

Address book entry

Wallace address book entry.

Rather pleasingly, F.Grut and C.Darwin appear on opposite pages in Mr Wallace's address book. Yet another tenuous link between Charles Darwin and a Grut!

End of an era

Moleskine

Moleskine numero uno

Ever since I was a little kid and read Bobby Brewster, Detective, I've been a compulsive notebook collector. Not that I ever wrote anything in them, you understand—they were far too nice to spoil with my scrawl.

Then, a few years back, my poor old Psion Organiser finally went west, and I was suddenly without something to note down amusing stuff that might eventually make it into one of my letters to Stense, or something like that. So I finally cracked open one of my many unused Moleskine™ notebooks and started jotting stuff down.

Much of the crap that has appeared on Gruts over the last few years appeared in first draft in that notebook. It has been pretty much my constant companion since 15th December, 2003.

Last week came the end of an era: I finally filled my Moleskine. It was kind of sad. Over the years, in addition to covering its pages with my untidy (and often drunken) handwriting, I had padded it out by sticking in stuff which happened to come to hand. It became a sort of scrapbook. Stuck amongst the pages, you will find collections of fruit stickers, train tickets, idle doodles made on loose pieces of paper, and the occasional raffle ticket.

Pensive bird

Here, for example is a pensive bird I doodled on 17th May this year. It's some sort of finch, by the look of it. When I showed it to Stense during one of our hot dates, she suddenly went all dewy-eyed and girlie on me, saying it was gorgeous, and wasn't I a talented artist? I didn't like to tell her it started off life as a doodle of a parrot which went horribly wrong.

So, anyway, it turns out that my Moleskine is packed full of rather a lot of sentimental rubbish and fond memories. Which is why it was kind of sad to finish it.

I've started a new one, of course, but I haven't really broken it in yet: its pages are far too pristine and, well, white. But I'm sure I'll soon knock it out of shape.