Sunday, 26 October 2014

Workers of the World

2013: Europa - Postman's Van
For the 'Professions and Trades" theme this week of course my first thought was of  the person we look forward to each day, Postie, and here we see three of them on their rounds.  The one featuring a postman on his bike and the one pushing a trolley looks to be by the side of the River Liffey in Dublin. An Post operate one of Ireland's largest fleets of motor vehicles and the green van is a familiar sight in town and country. The stamp design is by Steve Simpson working with the photographer Harry Weir.

Of course I always want to see stamps on my post so lets pay a visit to the printer
although in this case they are printing books.  This is from a series of definitive stamps issued by Yugoslavia in the 1950s featuring numerous workers at their trade.
In 1969 Belgium celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the International Labour Organisation with a stamp featuring a 1950 painting by Fernand Léger "Les Constructeurs".  The ILO was founded in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles in the  wake of World War 1 its objective was, and is, to "pursue a vision based on the premise that universal, lasting peace can be established only if it is based in social justice".
So here is a bit of equal opportunities and perhaps could be working below the builders on the construction site, there certainly seems to be a ladder behind them, which may be made of wood
Lumbering
The building will have to be wired up so here comes the electrician
From all the hustle and bustle of the building site perhaps its time to retire to the hubble bubble of a chemistry laboratory
for in the 1950s Czechoslovakia also produced engraved definitive stamps on occupations, although I don't have many of this particular set, unlike the Yugoslavian ones which I think were issued for a longer time and in various printings, colours and denominations which may be the reason I seem to have rather a lot in my childhood album. 
Time to take a walk into the countryside and watch the fields of sunflowers being picked.

And then pay a visit to see other Professions and Trades at  Viridian Postcard's Sunday stamps meme here.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Autumn Dreams

.
1971: Maple Leaf in Four Seasons
The leaves are falling, time for a walk in the woods
2006: Seasons
with the burnished autumnal colours crunching underfoot leading along winding pathways.
2003: Mushrooms
Perhaps its time for a mushroom hunt. On the left the delicious chanterelle and on the right Boletlus edulis, the cep, which is sometimes called a penny bun in England but the Facit stamp catalogue has it listed as Karl Johan which intrigued me. It seems the reason is the French born King Charles XIV John (King of Sweden and Norway) popularised its use and cultivated it in the grounds of his residence, the Roserberg Palace and so it is named after him. 

We have been having some marvellous fiery autumn sunsets recently and one appears on a Finnish stamp
 with the added magic of flying swans
This is part of a five stamp miniature sheet issued in 2012 called 'Autumn Dream' described as "surrealistic" it is possibly a vision of the perfect Autumn.  The full dreamlike sheet can be seen here

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of -  Country Life/Harvest/Autumn

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Fair Wind

1980: Kites
The swallows have left us for the year and I will miss their swooping and darting flight but perhaps these Chinese Swallow Kites will stand in for them until they return next year.   The one on the left is a Swallow Chick and on the right is Slender Swallow
  Left, Semi-Slender Swallow and on the right a Duel Swallows. 
Traditionally made from bamboo canes covered with paper and silk kite designs and construction can vary from region to region.  The swallow is a symbol of love but the designs incorporated into the kite also have auspicious meanings with  wings of flowers and fish symbolising a lucky and bountiful life.

The stamps are designed by Pan Keming (b1940) whose art has appeared on other China Post stamps on a variety of subjects.  

One thing a kite can't do without is a good wind  just like a windjammer sailing ship.
Built in Ramsey on the Isle of Man as the Euterpe (the muse of music and poetry) she started her career on the jute run from Liverpool to Calcutta which only lasted a short time but was certainly not uneventful, a mutiny, collision and a cyclone were all part of her two voyages. Shaw Saville bought Euterpe in 1871 sailing from Liverpool to New Zealand carrying emigrants to the southern hemisphere. The ship changed hands again in 1901 when the Alaska Packers Association bought her to take fishermen and supplies up to Alaska and with her holds full of canned salmon returning back to San Francisco.  The ship was re-rigged and then renamed Star of India in 1906 although the original figurehead portraying Euterpe still remains on the ship today. The Star of India was laid up in 1923 and sold three years later to the Zoological Society of San Diego to be used as a museum but the great depression and a war intervened with fund raising and it was not until 1957 that work began to restore the Star of India to her former glory and in 1976 she once more sailed on the sea and today lays claim to being the oldest active sailing ship in the world.  Now part of the San Diego Maritime Museum in California she sails every November.

The stamp paintings are by the Manx artist John Hobson Nicholson (1911-1988) who designed stamps, coins and banknotes for the island. This miniature sheet must be the last one he ever produced.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps "Anything You Wish" of which   more here

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Blue Planet


2013: Restoring Waterscapes
 I knew as soon as Viridian Postcard stated the theme 'se-tenant' for this week's Sunday Stamps which ones I would use as I've been looking for an opportunity to share this beautiful composition of stamps.  Swiss Post used the headline "Making Switzerland even more beautiful" in their publicity, although sadly nothing about the artists that created the scene (Franchon Catier and Simon Moser).

Landlocked Switzerland has been called the Water Tower of Europe with its lakes and rivers, including major ones like the Rhone and the Rhine, add to that the water locked in glaciers and snow and its a whole lot of water.  Like many industrialised countries some of their waterscapes have become degraded over the years - rivers constrained by concrete and pipes, pollution and an extensive hydroelectricity network a barriers to migrating fish.  Environmental laws and long term financial support have started to address the problem with projects such as those on the River Aare between Thun and Berne where the bed of the Aare was broadened and returned to its natural state. The River Birs in Canton Basel where it flows into the Rhine was called a "neglected backyard" also has also been restored to give the river more space and as a by-product it absorbs more water which means that during high discharge it helps prevent flooding.  The stamps show how people, and what thankfully is a marvellously resilient nature, are returning to enjoy the river banks.

Our watery planet makes an appearance on the 2013Albanian se-tenant stamps
2013:  Europa - Postman's Van
but this time with lovely postal messages and parcels whizzing around the Earth.  I've just discovered that not only did they issue them in a sheet but also in a two stamp booklet which looks as though it may be in the shape of a Postman's Van from Europa Stamps blog.  I may be on the look out for that desirable item next time I'm browsing stamps. 

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of  Se-tenant stamps - of which more here

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Vosges Fauna

As autumn advances this card of the wildlife in the Vosges region of eastern France is redolent of the season, its colour and light.  The forests of the Vosges must be perfect habitat for all these creatures.  Seeing the lynx on the top right was a surprise to me but I learnt they were reintroduced into the area in the 1980s to link to those already in the Jura.  

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Extreme Sports

If you were to skip into the post office in Finland there would never be a disappointment of the stamps on offer and not only that but  international stamps can be bought all in one handy booklet. I dream of such moments (they had even run out of international stamps last time I was in a UK post office). This is the cover of the stamp folder that Eeva sent me from Finland which she says are about "extreme sports"; lets turn the page
and discover the stamps inside, including their air mail stickers plus a description of the sports.
Posti's website calls this set 'Finnish Oddity', sports that are just the thing for those fun filled long sunlit days of summer - wife carrying, boot throwing, air guitar, old geezer carting, ant nest sitting and swamp football.   The designs are by the Finnish painter Bruno Maximus who is influenced by surrealism, his style is described as "hypnotic, dreamlike realism".  I've seen another painting of his of the ant sitting 'sport' with a giant human sized ant which is even funnier.  Believe me nothing moves me as fast to a standing position as discovering I've parked myself by an ant's nest whatever size the ant is.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps, more to see here   

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Horns Out of Africa

Eastern Transvaal and Kwa/Zulu Natal
Two of the 1995 South African 'Tourism' series featuring one of the top reasons I would want to travel there, the wildlife.  Helpfully the stamps include a map so I'll know exactly where to head for.   The artist is the South African wilderness sculptor and painter Alan Ainslie who has designed stamps for various countries not only featuring wildlife but also well know people.
In the same decade as the 'Tourism' stamps South Africa's definitives were featuring endangered animals and these are ones from the 3rd series.

 For the completist the various South African definitives series throughout its history offer a dizzying variety of printings, gum, perforations, booklet and sheet stamps.  I noticed that the impala on the right has a franking date of 2000 which is the year when South Africa definitives changed to the wonderfully colourful birds, fish and flowers series. 
Waterbuck and Blue Wildebeest
An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of - Mammals