I commented on a post about marginalia at 60 going on 16. I love marginalia. In fact, marginal glimpses into what others want to remember are often more memorable than the actual book! I also love green ink, which I mentioned in my comment because the color of the marginalia in the original post was green.
Well. Who would have imagined that green ink has an actual connotation in England? My first clue was contained in a comment by Juliet, of Musings from a Muddy Island, whose "heavens!" was both emphatic and puzzling.
Had I read Lucky Jim, perhaps I would have remembered that the hero receives "ill-written" letters in green ink. (Note: no "perhaps" about it. I always notice references to ink, pens, paper, and notebooks. Always.) But how could I have known about the "green ink brigade" that writes letters to newspapers in England?
- “The expression is the more-or-less affectionate description given by journalists and politicians to the people who write them eccentric letters, often in block capitals and frequently underlined in multicoloured inks. For some reason I have never heard satisfactorily explained, the most obsessive of these correspondents seem to prefer green."
(Incidentally, I also stumble on less-enjoyable things. I stumbled down half a flight of stairs last week. I didn't break anything, but the fall was an insult to my spine, which has been curling itself into a combination of a double helix and the golden ratio for decades. My spine, alas, is far more creative than the rest of me, and far less tolerant of insults. Just one of those things.)