Monday, 9 December 2013

Hunt for the Black Balmoral

It's Chrissy McGann's fault!
It really is.

I stumbled upon her YouTube video* way back in March 2013 where she showed her Black A5 Balmoral to the world.

I liked it.
She was over the moon about the luscious aligator-style print on the cover.
I really liked it.
She showed all the generous pockets and clips.
I really really want one.

And then.....she opened it up to reveal the HUGE full-length back pocket...


I had to have one.

The glorious A5 Black Balmoral
But like anything worthwhile that is out of reach - I had to wait.

A few months later, I saw one on Adspot.
I tried to contact the seller,
but OOOOMPH!!!
it was snapped up by someone else.

I searched eBay.

Months rolled into months of patient waiting.

Then, out of the blue a Philofaxy member contacted me to see if I wanted to buy hers.
HALLELUJAH!! Of course.
We bargained and dealed.
I waited eagerly for the package.
Waiting, waiting. Always waiting.

Then it arrived.
My search was over!
I ripped open the package.

Black? CHECK!
Shiny? CHECK!
Large pocket? . . . . . . . . . Noooooooooooooooooo!

I was devestated!
My dreams shattered like a crushed lightbulb.

I was so, so, so upset that I immediately wrapped it back up again -
and there it sat on my desk.

I was also so upset with myself for not asking about the pocket!
How could I have forgotten THAT?
I assumed they all CAME with the POCKET!?!
Not so it seems.
I learned the hard way.
Caveat Emptor!

I took it out just once more that day to photograph it and placed an ad on eBay to quickly sell it.
I couldnt bare to even look at it.
I was so upset.

But eBay did what eBay does best!
It was snapped up fast.
I made sure I told the buyer it was sans pocket.
She didn't mind.
She just wanted a top quality binder.
I posted it away
and shook the dust from my shoes.

I was Balmoral-less once again.

I waited. I hoped.
The Balmoral drought was long and agonizing!
Months went by.

And then, another friend told me she was selling her brown Balmoral.

Not a black one, but a Balmoral nonetheless.
and it DID have the wide pocket.
I could live with that?
Couldn't I?


We did the deal.
I was happy - even if it was a brown one.
Yes - happy to get one.
Bitter-sweet contentment.

It arrived a few weeks later.
I was SO hesitant to open the package.

Balmoral? CHECK!
Brown? CHECK!
Shiny? CHECK!
Back Pocket? Yeeeeeesssssss!

I was in heaven.
I really was.
Once it was in my hands.
The colour was not my first choice but it was such a good looking binder.
I quickly knew I could love and use this Balmoral.
The deep rich chocolate colour was stunning in its own unique way.
I finally owned one after all this time.
And it was mine.

I quickly set it up as a work binder.
It was going to be put to good use.
I had plans for this new fellow!

The pocket seemed to go on forever.
It held so much and never seemed stuffed.
It was (and still is) so wonderful to use.
Each morning it came with me to meetings, classes, lectures.
I paraded it around all day.
It won the admiration of many.

The large pocket was EXACTLY what I needed for my work.
Plenty of room to store larger papers and the leather was so sleek and strong.
I was a happy camper.
I had my Balmoral.
I loved my Balmoral!
I could even say I had Planner Peace.

And then,
And then,
And THEN.......

My friend Anamarija messaged me on FaceBook: There's a BLACK one for sale in Sweden!

I couldnt breathe.

Did it have....?
Did it come with a.....?
Has it got the.......?

I could hardly ask
swallow deeply....Does it have the large pocket?

'Yes!' came back her reply.

Keep calm. Keep calm!

Should I?
Could I?

Self face slap!

The race was on!
I tried to bid on it, but the site only registered Swedish nationals!
I live on the other side of the world!!!!

I sent out an SOS to the Philofaxy family.

Can anyone in Sweden help me?

I had an overwhelming amount of replies.
Everyone there is so sweet.
I was humbled to see so many people wanting to help.
Many of them had shared my journey over the last year.
And were there for me to complete my quest.
Of course we will help!
We're a family. That's what we do!

I chose one person.
The wonderful Janet Carr.

She would be happy to bid and pay and post it to me if she won.

Fingers crossed.

I had to wait 7 days.


and then.....tick, tick, tick.
I watched the timer go down to 0.
Only one bidder!
WE WON!!!!!

I yelped with excitement.
I woke up my dogs!
I had won the Filo-lotto!!!!

We did the money exchange and soon got word it had arrived and was reposted to me.

Wait. wait. wait. wait. wait.

I arrived home one afternoon.
A travel-weary parcel sat on my doorstep.

I couldn't breathe.

I sat down and slowly unwrapped the heavy package.
You tug at paper and tape.
You know that feeling?
Excitement with the tinge of fear?

I finally got down to the last layer.

It was there!

My beautiful, perfect, deep, six-ringed, wide-pocketed, black A5 Filofax Balmoral.

All mine!

I just sat there
smoothing my hands over the near perfect shiny cover.
I checked every inch of it.
Opening and closing the double strap catches.
eyeballing the rings for gaps and scratches.
Smelling the almost new leather smell.
Enjoying the end of the search.
Taking in the moment.

It was mine.
Really mine!

Some people say God honours those who wait.
I don't know about that.

All I know is that I had a dream come true last week.

I am looking at it now as I write this.
We are going to become good friends - this Balmoral and I.

This long awaited filofax from across the sea.

Today I am happy.
I really and truly now know the meaning of Planner Peace.
My search is over.

And I am grateful!

* Here's Chrissy's YouTube video that started the ball rolling:

and my video about the Brown Balmoral:

and the new Black Balmoral:


  1. Sounds like you really love that A5 Balmoral, Kent, and you're not exactly quelling my desires for a Personal in caramel. I have to ask, though: do Balmorals have the old-style rings (with just a lowercase F), or the new, with 'fILOFAX' running in both directions?

  2. Congratulations on finally get your black Balmoral!
    It's beautiful & I'm so glad to hear you've found your planner peace :)

  3. So, so pleased that you finally got one after all this time :o) x

  4. So glad to have been part of facilitating your wonderful new acquisition. Will be linking to this on my blog - your joy is infectious!