20 January 2013

Reader Under the Spotlight - Gavin

So today I would like to introduce you to Gavin. Unusually in this series... I've actually met Gavin face to face! It was in Edinburgh in November last year......

Hello I'm Gavin and my online persona sits within the Fegrig blog.

The Fegrig blog is what I see, do and think. It's a sporadic posting exercise but good things come to those who wait, it does however pale in comparison to "Philofaxy" with all it's regularity and focus.

I am the husband of Natalie and the Dad of two increasingly hairy young men, nay adults - oh god, I'm getting old!

Then there's the 2 dogs and the chickens, my love of keeping active and moving before I have no say in the matter and I permanently seize up, the photos, travelling, movies and other interests - most of which will be contained somewhere in my A5 Holborn.

I'm fortunate to have had a varied and interesting career within nursing, with my present post as a Professional Officer within the health sector of the largest trade union in the United Kingdom. This post is the next enjoyable entry on my CV and it keeps my professional juices flowing, my specialist interest as they say on "Mastermind" - is  Community Nursing.

1. When did you buy your first Filofax and what was it?

I'm very fortunate as I've never actually bought a Filofax, they've always been gifts from others. My first ring binder organiser however wasn't a Filofax but a black pocket sized organiser made by a company called Factotum. This was given to me when I started my nurse training in 1986 and gave faithful service until the spine broke and it was retired with it's scuffed edges to the shelf. The first proper Filofax was a zipped personal brown Hamilton that I thought had a broken spine with mismatched rings. I found this recently at the back of the same shelf and I was wrong it works perfectly but presently sits unused but awaiting a call to action. A bit like King Arthur I suppose.

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

Ring binder wise I've had an Italian made personal size binder (a Christmas present) before the gift of my first true Filofax (anniversary gift) this was a zipped Hamilton and I'm now back in the "Filey" groove with a Holborn A5 zipped - the nerve centre of my organising operation and the one ring bider to rule them all, and a mini Finsbury as my wallet and mobile paper organiser. Before the Hamilton and the Holborn/Finsbury combo I was using an electronic diary and organiser through the form of a work blackberry and my personal iPhone with it's apps. They are still there but the paper is back!

Other than this I use A5 Moleskine notebooks for planning, note taking and general work scribbles. Before I ventured back into the land of the "Filey" I used Leuchtturm A5 blank notebooks for my personal bits and bobs. I still use my iphone for contacts and some of the available apps are invaluable but the planning, calendar and diary functions now sit back "Filey" land.

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

Well it has to be the two I'm using now (A5 zipped brown Holborn & brown mini Finsbury) and for the future as long as I can see anyway. Chopping from one size/style/colour/organiser/ notebook is beyond me and my wallet. Brown has been the staple colour for my organisers and yet I only have 2 brown pairs of shoes, oh and a Crumpler bag and then there’s the wardrobe choices..... Brown is me it seems.

4. How many Filofax organisers do you own?

There's the black factotum, the brown Italian, a blue vinyl pocket organiser acquired when I was working on the wards, the brown Hamilton zipped, the mini Finsbury and the A5 zipped Holborn - both brown, did you know that I like the colour brown?

So a very small hill compared to some of the Filofax mountain ranges found in these parts. Three pure and three copies there then. Only the Holborn and Finsbury are in daily use now though.

5. What do you use your Filofax for?

The mini Finsbury is my wallet as well as my "on the move" pocketable organiser as I don't always carry a rucsack or other bag. It contains my bank cards, todo list, some note paper, yearly planner and a week to a page diary. I will put appointments in short hand in here for when I am unable to carry the A5.

The meatier zipped A5 Holborn documents all my plans, travel details, to do lists, appointments relating to my work / personal life, exercise, what I've seen (movies), read (books), appointments and the organising stuff of life primarily on my filofax day to a page planner/diary pages. Add in some colour coding, planning and goal setting, reminders and the like and the pages fill up nicely.

6. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

The organising function obviously stands out but I could do that on my iPhone. It’s the perceived permanence, the feel and smell, adaptability, individuality, the basic 3D aspect of it all and the pencil (as opposed to a pen) on paper thing works for me too.

7. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

Leather soft and stout, strong and large rings - so a good skin and skeleton as basics ready to stand up to any punishment that I could through at it would be the starting points.

More specifically the card carrying capacity is a tad weak in the mini so some design solution to that would be a benefit please.

From when I used my personal Hamilton as my work diary and note book as a Health Visitor I have a thing about safety of contents so it would need to be zipped. I still worry that bits of paper will fall out and be read by whoever, even though I nowadays hardly carry loose pieces of paper or indeed anything confidential. Everything today gets noted on a page sitting safely on the rings.

I like the mini Finsbury but a larger zipped pocket would help, zips again! and I wasn't even a punk.

8. How do you carry your Filofax?

The A5 Holborn is usually carried in my rucsack or whatever bag is being used that day, when stationary it sits on my desk at work or home. The mini Finsbury has the ability to be in any pocket that I have and carries cash, coin and cards as well as the initial jotting or checking of appointments, the writing down of todo's and other notes, my immediate paper thought dumping point. It all depends on the what, where, when and how of my daily life.

9. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

I know the models that I like and I'm fortunate enough to now have them in my possession, so no need to buy anymore. As I said earlier I neither have the wallet , (although ebay is a great place for "filey" bargains) or the butterfly tendency that some of my fellow "Filey" users have. I suppose I'm a "Filey" sloth in comparison to some, but I'm quite happy to sit using what I have.

10. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax? Which model?

Nothing, as they've all been gifts, the Holborn A5 zipped was a late birthday gift once I had decided to return to the paper side from the dark electronic side of the force and the mini Finsbury was an early Christmas present.

11. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?
The ideas and suggestions of what and how to use your organiser, really it's a black art to non users, so the site is a great place to start. On the surface it's a ring binder with paper inside but once you step into the "Filey" world, it's like the magic circle where you are able to read other users tricks and magic solutions. The nosey-ness factor however should not be ignored, what people do with their organisers. Human nature is a wonderful thing.

12. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Content wise, you can't argue with the readership and comment stats, simply it's a quality blog and a great community. There is one thing though of an aesthetic nature, the background beige is a bit too cotton cream for me as I am a white note paper kind of guy, sorry.

13. What was the last music album CD you bought or downloaded?

The last bought? That was in 19 oatcake, although I've turned my back on the electronic world as far as organisation goes and not being an audiophile the ability to buy the track you've just heard on the radio, captured by Shazam, bought and downloaded within the following minutes doesn't bother me and it is great. It takes me back to my early teen years with pocket money in hand buying a "single" in the local record shop "Ards". I last downloading some individual tracks this week and then danced around the kitchen as I washed the stone floor to the accompaniment of the downloaded dance tracks. Gav's Disco experience!

Thank you Gavin nice to meet a fellow Trade Unionist too. If you would like to be our featured Reader Under the Spotlight please contact us philofaxy at gmail dot com


  1. A man who washes the kitchen floor AND dances in the kitchen?! Bravo! (lucky family). I agree about the beige background...it actually looks pinky beige on my monitor. :0 As an American I haven't heard the phrase 19 oatcake but think its brilliant...may have to borrow that. For example when someone asks me 'what's a Filofax???' I can say, 'oh, you know, those day planners that have been around since 19 oatcake'. Can't wait to try this one out!

    1. I've made it a little less beige this morning. It does vary from monitor to monitor and even different on my iPad compared to my laptop.

    2. I like the beige, Steve. Reminds me of my husband's cream-heavy cup of coffee. ;)

    3. Ahhhh Steve hope you didn't think I was complaining. It's totally my monitor (the pink beige flesh color). My laptop is hanging in there going on 5 years so it definitely isn't the greatest. Looks great on my Ipad though :)

  2. what a wonderful writing style!

  3. Great post, love the phrase " it's a black art to non users".So true,sure my Hubby thinks I'm dabbling in the occult with my Filofax obsession !!

  4. Great, great post, Gavin! I enjoyed it immensely. It's my favorite one so far.

  5. I soooo love (and am inspired by) your contentment with what you have. I'm trying to do the same...right after I acquire my much-sought-after purple A5 Malden, of course! ; )

    And, I had no idea of the phrase '19 oatcake' - I thought is was a band!! *teehee* Ah, the things I've learned surfing Philofaxy...!

  6. I soooo love (and am inspired by) your contentment with what you have. I'm trying to do the same...right after I acquire my much-sought-after purple A5 Malden, of course! ; )

    And, I had no idea of the phrase '19 oatcake' - I thought is was a band!! *teehee* Ah, the things I've learned surfing Philofaxy...!

  7. Thank you for the opportunity Steve, hopefully your readership like the posting, those who have kindly taken the time to comment on the words above - Thank You!

  8. Enjoyed your lively post, Gavin....

    Although I think that Filofax will be nervous after reading your comments about having no interest in getting new Filofaxes....and just think what would happen if everyone decides to do like you!.....


  9. Hello Gavin,

    nice to see you here, a bit of a shock, mind you I should not be amazed, you are married to Natalie, and she's got lots of us going back to our filofaxes.


  10. Lovely to 'meet' you, Gavin :)
    I'm also a zipped A5 Holborn fan & glad to hear about your filo contentment.

  11. Thanks for sharing, Gavin! Nice to get to know you a bit better.

  12. From a fellow Scot, loved reading your post. As opposed to "oatcake" I tend to use "19 canteen"!!

    Does being a thrifty Scot bring planner contentment? I am no collector, just a have few which I love and use.