I have three pens in my leather jacket.

Actually, all told, I probably have five.

Two in the breast pocket, one hanging from the pocket zip, and perhaps two more that have slipped through a hole in the pocket and now rattle around somewhere in the lining.

None of these, however, is my good pen.

When I was a kid, the finest thing in all the world was a Parker pen. Everyone I knew had one. We learnt to write, joined up (which I believe our American friends call ‘cursive’), at primary school with fountain pens. We were some way into secondary school when we realised that biros were more commonplace in the real world. Not only that, they were cheaper, and you didn’t have to fiddle about with ink.

Still, we learnt with fountain pens and ink cartridges. I don’t know if anyone else remembers the ink erasers? They were pen-like and had a really wretched smelling end, which could wipe away any erroneous inkings, and a bright blue nib on the other end, to write in corrections. Because, you see, once the eraser had been applied, you couldn’t write over the top in normal ink. It would just disappear on contact.

It was about eighteen months ago that we had a best-selling author at the Legion. She was very kind and signed her newest novel for me, spelt my name right (which is an achievement in itself) and she used a proper fountain pen.

No sooner had I got home, I ordered myself a new Parker pen. For when I had books to sign for people.