Start Bay notebook covers - as the names suggests if you're familiar with the West Country - are made on the south coast of Devon. They're leathery (very leathery) and tough (very tough) and really nice. They are the vision of Peter Cattermole, and are hand-made using full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather. They are as beautiful as they are durable, much like the coastline mere steps away from Peter's workshop.
Peter's preference is for full-grain. This is the bit of the hide which is just below the animal's hair: the fillet steak of the leather world if you like, as opposed to the budget mince. It's the toughest leather you can get, the sort of stuff that will put up with all manner of abuse and look all the better for it. Because it's only one step away from actually plodding around a field, full-grain leather is as unrefined as it's possible to be, so there are imperfections and variations in the finish, but this is what makes it so want-able. It weathers beautifully over time (and we're talking a long time, here), developing an attractive patina, which is one of the things that lovers of leather like.
So making notebook covers from a material such as leather is a no-brainer really. Notebooks - if you use them as much as you're meant to - will, over time, become dog-eared and a bit torn, and pages might fall out, which is not a good thing. It doesn't matter if that notebook is used for the shopping list, sketches of the shed you're going to build, or your travel journal; whatever is in it is important, or it wouldn't be in there. And by its very nature it's the sort of thing that often needs to be carried about - in a handbag, a back pocket or a rucksack - and that makes it vulnerable. So what you need is a cover to protect your thoughts. Even better is a cover that could protect many thoughts, in three or even four separate notebooks. (All right, you could use a smart phone tablet thingy to record all these things, but let's face it, if you dropped it, it would probably break. And it needs a power source). So you're going to have to rely on good old-fashioned pens (we sell them!) and paper (that too!) And what better way to preserve your ponderings than sandwiched between the sort of leather that - in our grandmothers' words - will see you out?
Start Bay notebook covers give you all those things: they enable you to carry around up to four notebooks in one secure home, safely stowed against the elements in one of nature's most naturally beautiful materials. Notebooks offering different types of paper can be threaded through the elastic bindings inside the cover, giving you easy access to lined paper, or plain paper, or paper with dots on it, or coloured paper, or watercolour paper… anything that's useful to you. You could have your shed sketches in your plain-paper notebook, and a list of stuff to buy from B&Q (other DIY shops are available) in a lined-paper notebook. Or you could have your travel memories in a dot pad, to combine words with drawings, and your itinerary in a planner. The possibilities are - if not endless - at least very numerous. And a thicker elastic binding on the outside ensures that everything is kept tightly together, reducing the risk of pages being damaged or - yikes! - lost altogether. Available in both A5 and 90x140 sizes, their design is simple (because leather needs no titivation) and they come simply packaged in an untreated cotton bag, embossed with a leather Start Bay logo.
They're equally at home balanced on a sunburnt knee on the edge of the Peruvian desert, or spread on a chic café table on the French Riviera, or ready on a writing desk that looks out over the stunningly unpredictable Devon coast. But wherever you choose to use them, Start Bay notebook covers will take you anywhere you care to go, for as long as you like. In style.
10 May 2016