Sunday, 22 April 2018

Japan

2006 Prefecture Stamps (Shizuoka) : Kawazu Cherry Blossom (Design: Kentaro Taki)
The tree blossom is looking lovely here at the moment, the white being slightly ahead of the pink this year but both bringing joy and promise of the coming season.  To see early blooming cherry blossom then travel to the home of these stamps Shizuoka in Japan which is famous for the earliest bloom with the largest bright pink petals. Millions will travel to gaze at the 8000 cherry blossom trees celebrated in the February Cherry Blossom Festival.  The first stamp has the treat of both blossom and bird which is a Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) a bird often portrayed in Japanese art and indeed also on Japanese stamps.


After meditating peacefully surrounded by the beauty of the blossom maybe the next experience
1995: World Sports Championship
  would be to watch some judo at the World Judo Championships in  Makuhari, Chiba City, Japan.
2009: The 13th Games of the Small States of Europe (Design - Daniel Mangani)
Travel to Europe and Malta issued a set of stamps for the 2009 XIII Small States of Europe Games which was held in Cyprus. I think the judo stamp is possibly the least successful  stamp of the set with its subdued colouring, however for a polar opposite put on your shades
2009: Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 (Design - Studio David Hillman)
for one of the many stamps GB issued in the run up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.



The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter J - here for Japan and Judo - See It On A Postcard

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Dive In

The weather is glorious at the moment here so the beach will be a popular destination this weekend but perhaps a lido or outdoor swimming pool would be an alternative. This card features a railway poster created by Fortunino Matania in the late 1920s to tempt people onto the train and journey to the seaside resort of Southport.  Referred to as a 'Sea Bathing Lake' it was demolished in the 1990s but you can see from these old black and white photos how the artist has brought life to the lake under a vibrant blue sky.   Fortunino Matania (1881-1963) drew for all the famous illustrated magazines of the day and was also a war artist in the first world war.  The fun fact is that he had a photographic memory.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Retro/Vintage - travel back in time at Connections to the World

 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Insects

1972: Insects (Design - Pierrette Lambert)
 This little dragonfly can be seen all over sub-Saharan Africa in swampy habitats, its common name is piedspot. The artist is the multi award winning Pierrette Lambert (b1928) who designed bank notes and stamps for countries in Europe and Francophone Africa.  She produced an amazing number of stamps (1300), her last commission being in 1997 after which she retired to concentrate on painting.
1994-1998 Definitives Flora and Fauna (Design - Wendy Bramall)
One of our most common damselfly's Latin name happily starts with the letter I - Ischnura elegans (Blue tailed damselfly) and despite its name can be found around inelegant surrounds such as brackish ditch water as the artist shows with the plants that also inhabit these places of shallow still water.  For insects with less ethereal wings I turn to the sturdy moth
1994: Moths (Design - I Loe)
Left to right there is the Tiger Moth whose hairy 'woolly bear' caterpillar was always a favourite of mine as a child. In the middle is the Elephant Hawkmoth and on the right, the Emperor ruling the air.
Although this moth is found in Europe it is not present in the British Isles apart from one place in County Clare, Ireland.  This is the Burren Green named after the area in County Clare where it was first found in 1949. The Burren National Park is a special place for both flora and fauna.
2012: Roald Dahl PHQ Card
Lastly some giant talking insects who James Trotter discovers in an enchanted giant peach and in whose company after many adventures around the world ends up in a mansion in Central Park, New York. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl  as shown was illustrated by Quentin Blake.







The Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter I - for Ireland and Insects - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Hedgehogs and Hares

1986: Protected Animals (Design - A Kincses)
It is appropriate this Hungarian hedgehog is part of a protected animals set for the numbers in Britain have crashed from an estimated 30 million in the 1950s to today when it is thought there are fewer than a million of these delightful creatures. 
2016: 150th Anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter
Poor Mrs Tiggy-Winkle what will she do?  As well as the stamp in 2016 Mrs Tiggy-Winkle also appeared on a 50p coin although I've never seen one, maybe people squirreled them away or should I say Squirrel Nutkin away because there were 9 silver coins in total featuring her much loved characters
1977: British Wildlife (Design - Patrick Oxenham)
The hedgehog and the hare are mystical creatures which feature in many folk tales and legends but the hare is the only one considered magical.
1980: Wildlife (Design - Wendy Walsh)
Ireland featured an Irish Mountain Hare which unlike the Scandinavian mountain hare does not grow a white coat in winter and is slightly smaller in size.
1958: Forest Animals (brown hare)
The last time I saw a hare it was siting in an aerodrome car park, at first I thought it was a greyhound (no marks out of ten for wildlife identification for me) until it started to move like this.
1965: Pro Juventute (Design - Hans Erni)
Lets head for the hills and catch a glimpse of the Alpine Hare in its winter white colouring with just the tips of its ears remaining black.  This stamp is one of the Swiss Pro Juventus (For the Children) charity series of stamps which they have been issuing since 1912  
and beginning in 1943 the marginal tabs were inscribed with descriptions in Latin, German, French and Italian.  Traditionally they are issued during the holiday season so they can be sent on greeting and postcards. In this case however part of this 1965 set was sent
Post Code CHS85-7530 Zernez GR, 19.02.85, First Day Advertising Postmark (K965)
on a 1985 cover advertising Zernez, the village which is considered the gateway to the Swiss National Park, the biggest nature preserve in Switzerland and where one can enjoy all these alpine species after being seduced by the postmark and taking a vacation in the area.



An entry to the Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter H - for Hungary, Hare and Hedgehog - See It On A Postcard






Sunday, 1 April 2018

Guitar

1969: British Post Office Technology (Design - David Gentleman)
This week Sunday Stamps II has reached the letter G so how could I resist this stamp featuring the Post Office National Giro Bank and their G logo, not only that but for a double G this letter was sent from Glasgow. The cancel "Dial Carefully All figure Telephone Numbers Dial Correctly" refers to the roll out from 1966-1970 of all figure telephone numbers from the previous combination of letters and numbers (the letters signifying the local telephone exchange).  Dialing the wrong number might make one
2016: Mr Men and Little Misses
grumpy.  A celebration of Roger Hargreaves many characters and Mr Grumpy is the grouchiest person in the whole world.  Mr Happy sends Mr Tickle to tickle him if he is mean to someone but perhaps he just needs some music to cheer him up
2018: Popular Culture - The 1960s
maybe a bit of psychedelia or he could learn to play the guitar. Each of the stamps in this Jersey set were designed by different illustrators and the 63p is by Malcolm English (b1946), award winning illustrator and designer  who is famous for his illustrations in the Carnaby Street book.
1965: Musical Instruments
Maybe Mr Grumpy can learn to play this Chadian guitar
2013: Extreme Sports (Design - Bruno Maximus)
or just enjoy playing air guitar.
1983: Music in Sweden (Photo Anders Hanser; Engraver - Czeslaw Slania)
or sing along with ABBA.  I think I will take this option - take it away on your guitar Björn.



Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter G - for Great Britain, Giro, Guitar and Grumpy - See It On A Postcard
 

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Winter Journey

A bus station in 1950s Helsinki packed with people each with their own stories and destinations. Highlighted against the snow the driver is loading cases from the passengers and by the clock a group is patiently waiting to board the bus.  I love transport hubs (and old buses) but Helsinki has an even greater claim to fame for its main bus station gave rise to the Helsinki Bus Station Theory about creativity.

Today Helsinki has a sparkling new bus station where 700 long distance buses depart and the same number arrive. One of the busiest and most modern bus stations in the world and the record holder for the world's largest underground bus station.  If you are wondering what the other record holders are look here


Postcards for the Weekend theme - Transportation - take a trip to Connections to the World

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Flora

1994-1998: Flora and Fauna defintives (Design; Wendy Bramall)
A rabbit sits watching among the buttercups and bracken on the island of Alderney
2014: Easter Surprise (Design - Paivi Unenge)
but one might find the Easter bunny has hidden some chocolate eggs to find among the flowers.
1994: Provincial Flowers and Plants definitive
It will be June before the prickly rose appears in Finland, sometimes called the Karelian Rose this is North Kerelia's county flower.
Flowers are a popular motif for definitive stamps and Ireland did not disappoint with their series of Wild Flowers of Ireland which ran from 2004 to 2010 with different flowers and values being added through the years. The 7c fly orchid first appeared in 2005 with the 20c Thrift, one of three coastal flowers which were the last stamps to be issued in the series in 2008
The stamps appeared in a variety of formats and sizes as can be seen in these 55c of the large flowered butterwort, a plant native to Ireland but not seen in Britain.
The 48c primrose was one of seven stamps to start the series in 2004 which would eventually feature 27 different wild flowers on 50 stamps painted by the botanical artist Susan Sex. They can all be seen here
1997: Definitives

More flower definitive stamps this time issued by the United Nations in New York featuring a cherry blossom in their gardens and a peace rose from their Rose Garden, part of an original donation of 1,500 rose bushes given to the headquarters by the American Rose Growers Association.
2003: British Gardens
Time to take a walk to through the Sissinghurst gardens, designed by Vita Sackville-West to be like a series of rooms.  The stamp designer is Liz Butler who is known for her miniature paintings of gardens, at the moment she has shifted her painting interest into allotments.  They are as much loved by their owners as gardens but as she says are "more temporary and make do and mend"


An entry to the Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter F - for Finland, Flowers and Fauna - See It On A Postcard