Today I celebrate the 50th birthday of the acquisition of my Velos 323 stapler. The oldest possession bought by myself.
The day is almost certainly wrong and I could be a year or two out on the year. But the stapler is so old it carries a rare boast declaring ‘Made In England’ – twice.
The machine still functions albeit a little stiff and mottled – a bit like its owner.
My 1956 Dandy and Beano annuals would have pre-dated the Velos purchase but I lost contact with these much-loved books around the time of my divorce over a decade ago.
I have a clear memory of buying the stapler in a stationer in London’s Goodge Street close to where the family home was at the time. It came with a box of staples – let’s say 1,000 of the things. So far the box, yellowed and heavily taped is still more than half full. It’s a sobering thought that I will expire before those staples do.
A satisfying thump on my Velos 323 sealed every letter I ever sent beyond a page – job applications, pleas to literary agents for representation, or just correspondence to family and friends.
We first teamed up half a century ago probably because I wanted to pin together the scraps on which I had started my angst-ridden teenage poetry. And in all senses our attachment grew.
When I die it would be nice to think my stapler will stand at the foot of my grave like some latter-day Greyfriars Bobby waiting to serve its master. But as I intend to be cremated the idea doesn’t work so well.