Saturday, 27 March 2010

Washington County, New York

Lets cut to the chase "home of pie a la mode" is the big selling point here. I did not know what this was, (always learning though postcards) but it is apple pie and ice cream, two of my favourite things, although I probably prefer custard with apple pie. My grandmother was the queen of apple pies and no matter if she gave anyone her recipe it never turned out as perfect as hers.  Professor Charles Watson Townsend was of a similar sentiment for the pie a la mode at the Hotel Cambridge,  For the full story go here 

This wonderful old building was constructed in 1885 and was a 'train hotel' as it originally provided rooms and dining for the travellers on the Delaware and Hudson Rail-road.  I read it has recently undergone a refurbishment but thing that peeked my interest was the statement that green rocking chairs line the porch.  Rocking chairs, porches and apple pie, you can't get more American than that, or have I spent too much time watching  "The Waltons".

This hotel, as the name implies is located in the small town of Cambridge which my sender says is very rural, with many farms, trees, even a small lake and hiking trails.  Sounds delightful, apparently it is a perfect place to explore the green mountains, the Berkshires and Saratoga Springs.

 Which links nicely to the stamp which is one of the 2009 National Parks series.  We travel west to the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.  The photograph was taken from Snake River Overlook at dawn.  Those wonderful mountains, as can be seen, are a typical fault block type and the park contains the second highest mountain in Wyoming. The area is full of hiking and climbing trails but they recommend insect repellent in the summer and waterproof boots the rest of the time, so you get a choice wet or bitten, think I would choose wet. 

The photographer is Dennis Flaherty who has some wonderful photographs on his site. 

Thank you Hannah for sending this card which travelled 3,191 miles (5,135K) and took 13 days

Friday, 26 March 2010


"Traction Engine Smash at Arnside 11 September 1914"

Sometimes it is not your day. Having travelled from the seaside town of Southport up the north west coast of England for about 60 miles and arrived at the coastal village of Arnside and then....BANG.  The home owner must have got a shock, these were not small vehicles.  I do not know which road this is but suspect it is the steep hill that runs down to the sea front.  Wonder what the brakes were like on these things.

It looks like the type of road steam traction wagon that were operated by one man and were less than 5 tons in weight, used for general road haulage.  At first they had steel or wooden wheels but later used solid rubber tyres.  It wasn't until I scanned this postcard that I noticed where the boiler chimney was, broken off and lying on top of the rubble.  Once I knew it was there I couldn't understand how I had missed seeing it on the original card.  I had of course noticed the bucket hanging from the vehicle, which would be a must to top up the boiler with water.

The first steam wagon dates from 1890 and by the time of the card they were the best of their day capable, I have read, of attaining 60 mph, when petrol engine would be lucky to hit 35. There were over 100 companies manufacturing them, and having seen pictures wonder if the wagon photographed is a Foden, famous for heavy truck manufacture of all types throughout the 20th century.

Steam lorries disappeared because they became uneconomic to operate after successive governments placed tighter restrictions on the speed, emissions and vapour limits. The last straw was in 1933 when a tax was imposed on haulage vehicles in proportion to axle load.

It is nice that the Ben Purser and Sons lorry has it address clearly printed on the side of the wagon because

here is part of  Lord Street in Southport.

The Best Hearts Are Crunchy is our hostess for Postcard Friendship Friday

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Finnish Seasons

A lovely card from Finland showing the four seasons. The sender says "see the seasons we have here in the north".  Although she has had enough winter now and wishes that spring comes soon. I would guess that the moose in the photo is thinking that as well.

It came with a glittery fairy stamp. The dress gleams and glitters, I vote for more stamps with glitter.

This is from a set of 5 published in January 2010 in time for Valentine's Day. There are two flower fairies, heart, violin and the one that came with my card, the star fairy.

The young designer is Minni Havas an illustrator from Helsinki,

The postcard travelled 1,127 miles (1,813K) and took 10 days.

Thank you Leena for this seasonal offering

Monday, 22 March 2010

Radom, Poland

In the rather brief tourist page for Radom it says "Though Radom is more industrial than a national tourist destination it is worth visiting because of its historic buildings"  What an amazing variety of architectural styles on the postcard.   The man sitting bottom left is the 16th century poet Jana Kochanowskiego.

Radom is situated in central Poland (little map on the back of the card places is south of Warsaw) in the valley of the Mleczna river. It is one of the oldest Polish settlements, its first church being built in 1187, and in modern times is now both a railway junction and industrial centre. The main industries are leather, glass and chemicals.  If the name seems familiar it is probably because of its annual air show. It is going to have an international airport soon, due to open in 2011.  The idea that it is a railway junction sold it to me, I love travelling by train.

With the architectural theme of this card it was appropriate that it came with one of the

Polish Manor Houses (which are now museums) series of stamps. This is one of the two first issued in 2001, designed by Andrzej Gosik.

It is a late Baroque wooden mansion house reconstructed at the beginning of the 20th Century and moved from Moniale in 1977-85 to Janowiec on the Vistula River.

My sender was determined it was going to reach the UK because she wrote the country on both the top and bottom of the address.

The card travelled 1,034 miles (1,664 kilometres) and took 9 days.  Thank you A.O.

Friday, 19 March 2010


When I received a parcel recently I thought I had time warped back to the 1980s as I looked at the stamps. It was too wide to go through my letter box so collected it from the main post office in town , the post assistant was equally fascinated by the number of stamps on one envelope.

The two commemorative stamps are the 1983 British Army Uniforms (Paratroopers) but my theme today is


This is the Europa stamp for 1988 whose theme was Transport and Mail Services in the 1930s, designed by Mike Dempsey.

The 31 pence stamp shows - Glasgow Tram No 1173 and a Pillar Box.  Somebody is portrayed  happily posting a letter in the days when there were lots of collections and deliveries each day.

Glasgow had one of the largest urban tramways in Europe.

Many cities and towns of this time had tramways, but in 1932 the tramway shown here in Barrow in Furness was closed to make way for motor buses.  We have gone full circle now for many cities are now reintroducing tramways.  The first tramway opened on this route in 1885 with steam trams.  They had a bit of a problem when the tram depot caught fire and destroyed parts of the building and the trams, but in 1903 that would not happen again, because electrification was started by the British Electric Traction Company, who electrified many tramways in towns and cities all over the UK and also in Australia and New Zealand.  The first electric trams ran in 1904 down the route pictured. I hope the weather was better then for it appears to be an open topped tram.

If you like factoids then the system ran on a 4 foot gauge and Christmas Day 1929 was the first time they operated on that day.

Standing  in the same place as this today, apart from the tram, nothing much has changed, the introduction of traffic lights alter the scene, but all the buildings still stand.  The one on the left was the first Working Men's Club and Institute in the town, being built in 1871, and ironically know locally as the House of Lords.

Postcard Friendship Friday is hosted by The Best Heats are Crunchy.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Finnish Lapland

A cool card of Finnish Lapland (Lappi) entitled Drinking Water (Tunturipurojen raikkautta), how wonderfully clear and icy cold would that water be.  I love cards with mountains on.  I think these rounded fells are called tuntun by the Sami people who live there.  So far so generic, but I thought I would look at the publisher Arctic Paradise's site to see what other scenes they did, and there under an article about Kilpisjarven was this very card. The Land of the Great Mountain Fells borders on Sweden and Norway high above the Arctic Circle.  Kilpisjarven is both the name of the lake and the village.  All the 1000 metre peaks are in this area which has Europe's cleanest air.  It also has more northern lights than anywhere else in Finland.  How nice that this card also came with

one of the September 2009 stamp set of the Auroral Borealis (named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, and the Greek name for the north wind).  In Finland called rovontulet.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute has a great site called Auroras Now!, almost as good as being there, not really, but its the closest I will probably get.  This is part of the European Space Agency Space Weather Pilot Project which  is monitoring conditions on the sun, solar winds and  the magnetosphere amongst other things.

This card came from Seppo in Tuusula who tells me that the weather is cloudy and -3 degrees centigrade, hope it has warmed up a little over there since he sent it.

The card travelled 1,823 kilometres and took 6 days. Thank you Seppo.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Lunenburg Heath

A card from part of Lower Saxony, northern Germany.  Most of this area is a nature reserve. It reminds me a little of north Yorkshire around the Pickering area which also is heather moorland.  In fact the sender tells me there are lots of sheep and moorland, a bit like here in Cumbria.  It is also has a temperate climate moderated by the Atlantic, with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation all year round..  Yes we tick all those boxes as well.  There the resemblance ends Luneburger's highest point is 555 feet so no mountains, but it has sessile oak and beech woods just like here.  No wonder the Saxon's felt right at home when they first came to these islands many centuries ago.

One thing we do not have in common is the breed of sheep that inhabits this area, called


One of the nice German 'Blumen' stamps came with this:

This is the the flower Sonnehut or Sun Hat. Isn't that a lovely name and so descriptive of the plant. I'd like a hat like that.  We know it as Rudbeckia or Black Eyed Susan.  I looked in my Kate Greenaway 'Language of Flowers' book and apparently in Victorian times it symbolised Justice.

Thank you Petra from Munster for showing me your world.

Green mark at the top is Lunenburg Heath

Friday, 12 March 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday

Are you considering when to put in your first early potatoes?  Has the ground warmed up yet?  Well apparently Crome and Taylor's manure is the thing.  From a small basket to a HUGE pile, they will increase.  At least that is what my Great Grandmother Winifred Swindlehurst says on this card.  The family farmed at Hazelslack Tower and she says "I have been a customer of yours for many years and I am able to state that the Fertilizers I  have bought of you, from time to time, have proved most beneficial in their effects. This year I have had a splendid crop."

I wonder if they were provided with a lot of these cards for this one was sent to my Grandmother, also called Winifred, from her sister. The family consisted of 11 girls and 1 boy.

 It was posted on January 5, 1912 and it says "Dear Winnie, Just a card to tell you, to let me know, what day and what time you land at Arnside, then I will try to meet you, from your affectionate sister Lucy".  Lucy is probably referring to the nearest railway station to Milnthorpe which would be Arnside.  I don't know what my Grandmother was doing in North Rode, which is a village in Cheshire, about 100 miles away, perhaps working at The Creamery, she could turn her hand to anything, and would be about 20 years of age at this time.

I think Crome and Taylor were a large fertilizer company but they no longer exist, according to Company House, being dissolved in 1990.

but large crops were their selling point, another of their cards, but with the eulogy on the back and a man surveying his crop. I also found on the web one of their invoices from 1900

Look at that heading paper.  Nowadays if someone was selling fertilizer it would probably portray some rural idyll but for Crone & Taylor it was the chimneys of industry that denoted progress and the scientific basis of their fertilizer.

Happy Postal Friendship Friday, the meme is in full swing over at The Best Hearts are Crunchy.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Walney Lighthouse

It is always interesting to see how an artist sees a place.  Here is the artist and printmaker John Duffin's "Lost At Walney Lighthouse".  I have only found three of his works on postcards, so am on the look out for more.  He paints his home town a lot and this lighthouse is on Walney Island which lies in the Irish Sea attached by a bridge to Barrow in Furness in north west England.

Here is a blue sky view of the same place. It is located on the south end of Walney Island, and when the first lighthouse was build in 1789  it was adjacent to the high water mark, but now as can be seen the current lighthouse built in 1804 it is completely surrounded by land.  The houses used to be occupied by the lighthouse keeper's family but since 2003 it has been unmanned.  Or should I say unwomanned as Peggy Braithwaite (1919-1996) was the first female lighthouse keeper in the country.  She originally moved here with her father and as a teenager became the assistant, it was managed by the family for several generations and Peggy became principal keeper in 1975, until her retirement at the age of 74.  Nothing beats good sea air for keeping you active.

Visit The Best Hearts Are Crunchy who is hosting this week's Postcard Friendship Friday

Monday, 1 March 2010

Lilies of the Valley

I did not know there were pink lilies of the valley but aren't they beautiful. Like their white cousins they like shade and are just as fragarant.  In the Victorian Language of Flowers Lilly of the Valley symbolised 'Return of Happiness'

Lovely card for the first day of spring sent by Agnes who lives in the La Dombes area of France which is located in east-southeastern France.  Although I have visited France many times I had to look up where it was and found it is a paradise for birds, possibly because of its 1000 + lakes or etangs and it can have unpredictable weather, rain, fog and low lying cloud. Almost sounds like the lake district without the mountains.

The card travelled 1,066 km (662 miles) and took four days.

and had a Year of the Tiger stamp.  Thank you Agnes.