What's your ink?
A fascinating collection of posts on the 18th-century email list has been exploring historic inks. It's a reminder of how much more complicated everyday living was in the past; how much you had to know about all sorts of things that now happen invisibly, off stage.
I once intended to learn Chinese painting - might even get back to it one of these days, since I love the results - so I have got a lovely stone palettes and ink sticks, which just have to be ground with water.
But in the West these don't seem to have developed; instead you started from scratch. There are some recipes here. (And if you are wondering about the seemingly essential "gallnuts" they are: "A nutlike swelling produced on an oak or other tree by certain parasitic wasps.")
But the results, it seems, from the The ink corrosion website - which deals in detail with "major threat to our cultural heritage" - were not always ideal.
This left me musing about modern inks: pen and computer. How durable are they? But then again as librarians often warn, electronic records are certainly worse.