Find yourself someone who knows Nottingham. Then get them to take you to the random little house clearance and bric-a-brac shops on the outskirts. I went to one of these on a cold December afternoon. And promptly nearly bankrupted myself on gorgeous nostalgic books, keys and household bits and pieces. As it happens, I was prevented from buying another typewriter. But only by the good sense of my companion. They pointed out that it physically wouldn’t fit in my ridiculously impractical car, and anyway I already owned two.

Pfft. As if a girl can ever have too many typewriters. Anyway, what I did manage to bring home was this:

The cloth-bound cover. In a wonderful washed blue.

The Typist’s Desk Book, by Drury and Pearce, was published by Pitman. It contains such gems as a fold-out London postal code map, several typing exercises and newspaper cuttings. And some typed and handwritten snippets from a long-ago reader.

There’s no publication date. But clues to its age are numerous but varied. Firstly, a quick Amazon search for the title yields 1936 and 1953 as possible publication dates. Inside is a newspaper clipping dated March 8, 1953. Printed in the back is an advertisement for the fourth edition of the Typewriting Dictionary, published in 1942. And the advert imploring readers to “insist on the new Oliver 20” would indicate the earlier date. This model 20 typewriter was produced between 1935 and 1950.

So this little book is certainly 60, and probably closer to 80 years old. And when, on perusing its pages, I found this…

It reads “serendipity = gift for finding one thing whilst looking for another” and was tucked in between page 72 and 73. Truly serendipitous!

It feels like it was meant to be!