Monday, 26 September 2011

Little Man

As I have been pounding the art galleries in Liverpool this weekend how appropriate it was to have just received this card. I did see one lone Picasso but not this little fellow because although the card came from Germany this postcard is from the Picasso Museum in Málaga.  The painting is his 1969 "Retrato de hombre con espada y flor(portrait of a man with sword and flower) where he reinterprets one of Velazquez's dwarfs
I love all the little details in Picasso's portrait  especially the hob nailed boots one sole of which seems to have come loose.

My sender Edcgz hopes I like this "funny Spanish hero". Yes I do and thank you. 

Sunday, 25 September 2011

East Africa

How useful my set of Operation Drake covers are being for Sunday Stamps tour of the continents.  We are in  Africa this week, which was the last stop for the 'Eye of the Wind' before returning home. Although the ship left Mombasa on 8th August 1980 the Operation Drake contingent remained in Kenya from mid July for three months. The expedition was asked to do various tasks and one of these was to complete an ecological survey of Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolph) in the north of Kenya. The lake is 160 miles long and 35 across at the widest point and although it is fed by three rivers there is no outlet, the level being maintained by evaporation. The resident birds include flamingo, pelican, ibis and spoonbill and during the migration season thousand of waders an waterfowl flock to the shallows making it an ornithologist's paradise.  What a wonderful three months that must have been.

The stamp used is a celebration of the Flying Doctor Service (their badge appears in the artwork portraying Lake Turkana).  This service operates over an area of a million square miles.  I don't think I can imagine an area so vast, it makes our own air ambulance distances seem like a hop and a jump.  I wondered if I had any other medical stamps for Africa and found one
issued in 1969 by the Republic of Burundi for the 50th anniversary of the League of Red Cross Societies. 

As this started off with a lake maybe I should continue the theme with
a dhow on Lake Victoria.   Then perhaps a bird that might be seen there
not King George VI but the Kavirondo or Crowned Crane, and animals that might come to drink at the edge of the water -

A journey round the world with Viridian Postcard's  Sunday Stamps

Thursday, 22 September 2011


A stunning view of the Rialto Bridge as it shines into the dusk sky. Jump on board the gondola to be taken on a timeless journey. Clare and Al were having a lovely day exploring the many canals before going to the the Ufffizi Gallery and later having dinner next to the Rialto Bridge. What better way to spend a day in Venice.
The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte was finally completed in 1591. It is remarkably similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico the covered ramps carry rows of shops. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice. (Wikipedia)

Monday, 19 September 2011

Whatever the Weather

We've had weeks of rain, everywhere is sodden and when Eeva sent this card from Finland it was raining there too. But nothing phases Inge Löök's grannies they enjoy life whatever the weather.

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather".  ~John Ruskin

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Whose A Pretty Boy Then

The teeming life of the Amazon forest was the subject of a miniature sheet this year in the UK so I thought I would link it to this weeks Sunday Stamps location of South America and my choice is the country of Brazil.  The hyacinth macaw sits on one of the top stamps and
in real life they like to nest high up in dead trees into which they gnaw a nesting hole.  These two look wonderful on the branch against the Amazon sky,

This 2001 joint WWF and Brazilian Postal Service stamp issue shows various species of Psittacidae (the parrot family) in their favourite habitat painted by the wildlife artist Etienne Edmonle and in this instance made into maximum cards.
This one of the Yellow-faced Amazon parrot shows the stamp cancellation more clearly.  Brazil is home to a fifth of the worlds parrots, they must be one of the most fascinating species and in some instances most spectacular.
The Jendaya golden-capped conure
Blue-chested Parakeet

All the birds chosen for the stamps are threatened by destruction of their habitat and also targets of illegal wildlife trade. The  illegal parrot trade increases the risk of extinction of some species, hence post office plea, "collect stamps not parrots". 

An entry to Sunday Stamps

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Crooklands Wall Box

Postbox LA7 235 Crooklands

While posting cards by the side of the A65 in the village of Crooklands one can check what happening on the notice board. Take a choice of pilates or zumba classes, singing at the Endmoor Club or go and see the Girls Alouder tribute band.  I think there is room for at least another poster.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Have you ever though when looking at a group of male grey suited world leaders or businessmen;  how dull and frankly, boring?  The group might be enlivened with a colourfully dressed woman or if lucky Nelson Mandela in one of his wonderful shirts.  How different it might have been if fashion had taken a different direction.

The postcard is one of the Photochrom Company's Gallery series and is from the Wallace Collection  - "A Cavalier by Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier" The picture represents a Cavalier of the time of Louis XIII - early in the 17th Century.  The card says "nearly all of this artist's pictures are very small originals, and this one is of no exception".  So perfect for postcards.  Love those long boots but if perhaps going for a more casual look

maybe this lute player is the answer especially as he seems to have a barrel of wine to hand. No indication on the back to its origin but it
was sent  from my Great Aunt Lucy in (May?) 1911 who mentions, in an afterthought, it was a lovely warm day. 

An entry to Postcard Friendship Friday

Sunday, 11 September 2011


Sunday Stamps is travelling the continents starting this week.  How could I resist using another cover from the Operation Drake circumnavigation of the world.  Last weeks the sailing boat had visited many destinations and travelled thousands of  miles, this one is from the first leg of the journey over the Atlantic from Portsmouth, England to Panama. They stopped in Caledonia Bay for four months in 1979 when amongst other things  they did archaeological research on land and under the ocean. The most exciting discovery was finding a sunken wreck of the 17th Century 'Maid of Perth' which appears in ghostly form at the back of the cover painting.  Can you spot the face in the stamp from  the 1976 Marine Fauna issue? I didn't realise it was a fish at first but it is the Spot Fin Porcupine fish (Diddon hystrix).  For a photo of this fascinating fish curled and flat see here 

To me two things I association with Panama are hats and the canal. As I have no stamps of hats I'll go straight to the canal
and the Canal Zone which had its own stamps for most of the 20th Century.  These are the air mail stamps issued in 1931.
and this one which luckily  has most of a rather nice 'short route' map cancellation,.

The building of the Panama must be one of the greatest civil engineering feats of the 20th Century. The French first attempted it but had not surveyed it properly and despite 21,900 workers dying  from disease, landslides and accidents they were unsuccessful.  The US also ran into trouble when they started it in 1904 but in 1907 the US President Theodore Roosevelt made an inspired appointment of  the army officer and civil engineer George Washington Goethals as chief engineer. This was to change everything and the building of the canal was completed in 1914 (two years ahead of target). Goethals paid particular attention to sanitation and control of disease from mosquitoes and reduced the incidence of disease and death amongst canal workers.  Despite this 5,600 still died but the toll would have been much greater without his efforts.
 In 1939 the USA issued a stamp celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic. Under treaty the US controlled the canal and the Canal Zone surrounding it until 1977 when it transitioned to Panama under joint control, the Panama Canal Authority taking complete control in December 1999.   

I now return to a little more of Mesoamerica
in this Panama stamp of 1968 issued to commemorate of the Mexico Olympics in art which I think is a piece of Mayan art and this one
is definitely Mayan because it says 'Maya Figures'.  A 1938 definitive of the British Honduras colony which is now the country of Belize.

An entry to Sunday Stamps

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Jack Hill

 Postbox LA11 140, Jack Hill, Allithwaite
No need to guess where this postbox is,  the street sign says it. Its a rather grubby modern box, time for painting I think.  You could post your letters in the box, sit on the seat and wait for the bus
to come down the road to take you either east or west from here.

Friday, 9 September 2011



"Skylark, said a dear little boy.
Pray, where do you go when you fly so high?
Skylark, say, it is true
That you sing to the angels in the sky?
If so, my Mother's an angel up there.
And we do miss her so, you see
So would you please, the next time you go up,
Take this message from Dad and me".

To follow our hostesses Beth's theme of the anniversary of the Twin Towers perhaps this card symbolises all the people who went to work that day and never returned home.

The verse is a music hall song of 1901 written by EW Rogers.
The card is unused but I would guess from the message at the top telling the purchaser that it "may now be used for communication" must put it in the years after 1902.  James Bamford began his career as a manufacturer of lantern slides and the Bamford company became one of the largest producers of model slides.  This "life-model lantern slide" is one of the many reproduced by the company on postcards.

An entry to Postcard Friendship Friday

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tropical Waters

 "This cover was taken on 'Eye of the Wind' from Jakarta to Cocos (Keeling) Islands for franking. It continued on the ship to Kenya for backstamping in Nairobi. It returned on a VC10 direct flight to Royal Air Force Brize Norton on 22nd October 1980"
I think the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is just the sort of place one thinks of when the word  tropical island is mentioned. Their tourist website calls it "Australia's last unspoilt paradise in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean".  When HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board  sailed here in 1836 his mind was on scientific exploration,  and resulted in his  paper on the geology of these types of islands called the "Theory of subsidence of atolls and coral reefs"

The large sailing ship on the cover is the 'Eye of the Wind', the smaller boats typical fishing boats used by the islanders. This group of 27 small coral islands in two separate atolls was one of the calling places of Operation Drake's round the world expedition; a youth project which included scientific exploration and land based community service. Over 2 years the 'Eye of the Wind' travelled 37,000 miles and 414 young people from 28 countries sailed the oceans .   The marine biologist Dr Trish Holdway whose signature is on the cover signed up for a few months and ending up spending much longer with the boat and directing research.  Maybe she saw some of the fish featured on the stamps

The 20c stamp is Amphiprion clarkii or Clark's Anemone-fish, the two 1c Forcipiger flavissimus, the Yellow Longnose Butterfly fish.  Fascinating fish so here is another
butterfly fish, featuring on one of the island of Mauritius's definitive stamps issued in 2000, the Pavillon (Forcipiger wheeleri). They live on reefs and corals using their long jaws for probing in reefs and nipping off tube-worm tentacles as well as catching small crustaceans.  And lastly
the Freckled Rock Cod (Cephalopholis Coatesi) part of the 1976 Tropical Fish issue of Papua New Guinea. This fish is another one fond tropical reefs but is also found on sub-tropical waters along the coast. It has rows of teeth so don't get too close.

An entry to Sunday Stamps whose theme this week is the Oceans

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Hi Canada

The Disney characters have gone on holiday to Canada but I don't think they had good weather for when my sender, Denise sent this card her side of the country was having high winds and rain.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a might man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawney arms
Are strong as iron bands

One of the many poems of which I only know the first two lines. In times past children would learn lots of poems by heart at school, my father had a stack of them.  This Longfellow was one. Some were his favourites he used to regularly  quote, but he could always come up with some we had never heard before.

Although this card quotes the familiar first verse it portrays one of the later ones:

And children coming home from school
Look in the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar.
And catch the flaming sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing floor

The card was sent on the 15th September 1905 "Just a line to say we are both well, Mother and I, the weather is fine for a wonder and we hope you both getting on all right and keep well. Uncle Aunt and ? love to Jane and Hilda"

An entry to Postcard Friendship Friday