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Just a notelet…

Having just enjoyed reading through my Monday morning digest of other people’s blogs, I can see quite a few people are blogging more often, and I’m wondering why that doesn’t seem to be the case for me. I haven’t even updated my ‘Eastbourne Diary’ blog since the lockdown, and yet there’s plenty to report about the garden, and the moving around of furniture and other household tales. I think maybe I’m trying to do more individual reaching out, and consequently the blogging has slipped down the ‘to-do’ list.

A couple of weeks ago I had the thought of writing to friends, to ask how they are and tell them what’s going on in our little world-bubble. But I confess my handwriting is poor, and after 20 years of RSI it hurts to write longhand. Then I remembered how much I’d enjoyed making ‘Foot Wear’, my little A6 sized pamphlet, and thought I would revive the quaint art of the ‘notelet’ – a sort of cross between a card and a letter. I have a large stock of good quality A5 paper, so I started painting sheets of them, just random background paint, the more sloshed-on the better. When they were dry, I flattened them between the pages of my OED, then set about trimming and pamphlet-binding two sheets together into little A6 booklets. But what to put in them? I decided on a kind of mini-magazine – there was space for one poem (something I liked and/or felt was appropriate, but not one of mine), one ‘topical’ prose extract or flash fiction, a recipe and a knot instructional (I’m big into knots at the moment). It seemed a bit dry, so I got out my copy of the fascinating British Poetry Magazines 1914 – 2000 and photocopied a few of the poetry magazine covers from times past. And added a postcard. The notelets were all slightly different – I tried to choose the elements according to the person I was sending to.

British Poetry Maga zines 2014 - 2000

When it came to writing in the notelets and sending them out, I wondered if I’d gone a bit crazy. I could picture some of the recipients opening and thinking ‘oh no, Robin’s lost it’. But in a good way I hoped!  In actual fact I’ve had some really lovely responses, including a handwritten card and letter, and no-one seems to have been weirded-out. One friend said, ‘it’s fascinating to see what people get up to during a lockdown!’ I’ll take that!

making notelets


Published inBlogLockdownPamphlets


  1. I think that’s a typically lovely idea, and I bet they brightened the recipients’ days. It’s cheered me up just reading about it. I also want a copy of that book! Thanks for this post, Robin – I don’t thank you for yourblog often enough. I really appreciate it though!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Belated thanks, Cathy, for your comment – it’s very nice to hear from you, I hope you’re well. Lovely that you enjoy the blog. All the best, Robin x

  2. What a lovely idea, Robin. There’s something about handiwork that is so restful, both to make and receive. Lucky friends! Cx

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you Claire – handiwork! Yes I like that word … it feels more specific than the more American ‘crafting’, although perhaps they both have their place. All the best, Robin x

  3. Ann Perri Ann Perri

    Brilliant. Yes strange times. X

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Ann 🙂

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Robin Houghton 2024