Thursday, 31 October 2013


Instantly recognisable is the map of Greece and her islands. I enjoyed picking out all the places I have been to and remembering the marvellous time spent there. On looking at the map I realised that I have never visited the east coast of the mainland. Then again, although I've been to some amazing classical sites, I  have not been to the famous ones shown down the left side of the card - Knossos in Crete, the Thasos at Delphi and the Parthenon.  You've got to leave something for the next visit!  The card did not come from Greece but from Kathrin in
Germany so instead of floating on the iridescent Aegean sea with the islands drifting past in the distance here is the 2004 stamp of SS Bremen with the Manhattan skyline in the background. With its high speed engines and streamline profile this ship was the holder of the Blue Ribbon for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic in both directions. The card also came with one of the pretty German flower definitives

As previously mentioned I've never been to Crete but I do have a card of Knossos which I picked up at a charity shop
which shows a more expanded version of the Watch-room of the Palace than the map card and came with a stamp
from the 1970 'Labours of Hercules' series and features the Centaur Nessus (from a vase illustration).

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Windy Day

In one of the coincidences of life this card arrived on an especially windy day, but not a day that would freeze water, although as I write this the umbrella might come in handy for the downpour of rain outside.   My sender, Lisa, sent the card from "a grey and windy Helsinki" so maybe we experienced the same wind.  Nothing stops Inge Löök's aunties from enjoying themselves and I like to imagine them skating out into the Gulf of Finland and round the islands, whoosh.

The card came with one of this year's
postcrossing stamps.  There are four in total and this message on this one says it all. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Uruguay Postal Services

To celebrate the 185th anniversary of the Uruguay National Post Office in 2012 this souvenir sheet, designed by Daniel Pereyra, was issued on the very day it started all those years ago (21st December 1827).  I love how it could resemble a writing desks shelves or even perhaps letter  pigeon holes. Let me take you on a journey through the sheet, the stamp itself of course is in the upper middle and the artist has used the 185 as a letter holder and an outline of Uruguay and below is what it is all about, post being delivered.

To the left of the stamp are PO boxes and parcel post being transported, to the right of the stamp someone is collecting their old age pension from the post office and a blue post office van setting out on its journey below.

The lower half of the sheet features a globe with South America centre stage and Uruguay marked,  below that are all the accoutrements needed for philately.  But look at the man posting a letter, here is a little bit of Britain in Uruguay, a Penfold hexagonal Postbox. Designed by the architect John Penfold in the 1860s and (depending on which source read),  it was either exported after the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition or the result of an direct export order in 1869.  Whichever it was it was an instant success and today there are still six extant in Uruguay, one of which is in Montevideo, but differing from UK ones in that they are  painted blue and black. 

Lastly on the bottom right is something that spans the eras, that is a hand holding a pen to make a signature as it would have done in 1827 and facing it a hand holding a key which signifies cryptography and the use of digital signatures using special hardware and software, very much the 21st century.   There is a more in depth look at this sheet with lots more Uruguayan knowledge than me on DJBM's Philatelic blog

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps

Sunday, 13 October 2013

On the Road

I do like a logo and many famous car badges have been used on this sheet, each symbolising its own unique history.  The commemorative sheet was issued for the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900),  It was his invention of the high speed petrol engine that made the car possible. He founded the company Daimler Motern Gessellschaft with his partner Wilhelm Maybach and after experimenting with 2 wheeled vehicles, then a stagecoach and ultimately produced their first car for sale, which is the one shown on the stamp. It does not look too dissimilar to a stagecoach, how do you fancy rattling down the road in this?

The first gearbox was produced by Louis Renault (1877-1944) and the automotive industry was on its way. The early lead in production by the French has resulted in us using a lot of French expressions, such as chassis and coupé, they also knew you would need a roof  
This is a Peugeot 'Petroleur' Type 3.  It was brought to the island of Guernsey in 1894 by Major A Thom, a Guernseyman living in Switzerland.  The Major and his horseless carriage spent a couple of weeks on the island giving rides to people and racing the electric tram.  Although the first car to be resident on the island was not until 1900 the Guernsey Post Office celebrated the centenary of the appearance of the first car on the island with a set of stamps. 

The artist, Robin Ollington depicts the cars against Guernsey backgrounds of the relevant periods.  The top line of stamps are the 'Petroleur', which we have already met, and was capable of 12 mph (I can't spot the 'extra' that was available at the time of a whip for chasing away dogs).
Next is the 24p: 1903 Mercedes Simplex which looks a far racier number. The Mercedes name was first used on German-built Daimler cars in 1900.
35p: 1906 Humber.  This 14.4 hp four cylinder tourer has a top speed of 35 mph which happens to be the island's speed limit. 
Bottom row:
41p: 1936 Bentley. This 4¼ litre sports tourer had a reasonably light body and could reach 90 mph.
60p: 1948 MG TC.  During the1930s the MG Midget became Morris's most popular model and was the first quantity produced small British sports car. The TC Midget was introduced in 1943 being a slightly improved version of the pre-war TB. Its top speed was 78 mph.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of - cars

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Naga

This Naga statue stands in Songkhla, Thailand and Kimberly tells me that it spits out water where the lake and the ocean meet and points out the shipping containers in the background.

The Naga or Great Serpent is a mythical snake with supernatural power and it is told that the Naga and water were at the creation of all things. The spraying water is supposed to bring health, good luck and happiness and washes away sins. This sculpture was designed by lecturers from the Thaksin University Fine Arts Faculty.

One of the episodes of The Water Margin started with the memorable quote  "Do not despise the snake for having no horns,for who is to say it will not become a dragon?"" so from this huge Naga it is appropriate that this card came with
two 2013 Year of the Snake stamps with star constellations.  The other stamps two pink lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera) which although it does not show up in the scan are coated with pearly ink. The yellow flower is the national flower of Thailand, the  wonderfully named Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fishla), a definitive stamp first issued in 2010.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Industrial Revolution

"The Workers' Tale "stamps were issued in 1999 as part of the Millennium Series  on varies themes or tales, as they were called.  I think the FDC design is a play on guild banners which in times past crafts and tradesmen would belong to.   Clockwise starting from the left is the
*19p stamp, designed by Peter Collingwood, a master weaver, and dedicated to the wool trade which was Britain's largest source of wealth in the 12th Century.
*26p is designed by the artist David Hockney and as he comes from Bradford he has painted Salts Mill built in 1853, located in Saltaire, a  model village founded by Sir Titus Salt (a woollen industrialist) for better living conditions for his workers away from the pollution and crowded industrial towns, today it is a UNESCO world heritage site. All across the north of England with its plentiful supply of water were cotton mills  this one made worsted cloth, at the time it was the largest industrial building in the world.  Closing in 1986, and in common with those mills that survive, it has been converted to another use, art galleries, shops, offices and restaurants and one of the largest collections of David Hockney's art.
*44p designed by Bill Sanderson features a ship's hull in a shipbuilding yard.   The industrial revolution saw the change in shipbuilding techniques from wood to iron and steel
*64p designed by Brendon Neiland features a details of the wonderful "inside out" building (the ducts and lifts on the outside)  designed for Lloyds  by Richard Rogers.  This stamp is symbolising the financial sector and intentional banking. A lot has changed since 1999 I don't think we would be celebrating the banking sector today.  I wonder if Isambard Kingdom Brunel had been born in a different time he would have been able to raise finance for  his ambitious schemes, shown on these stamps below?

 For the centenary of Brunel's birth in 2006 royal mail featured some of his famous engineering achievements; the SS Great Britain shown bottom left is now moored as a museum ship in Bristol but the FDC
 insert card used the iconic photograph of him standing in front of the launching chains of the Great Eastern which was six times the tonnage of any ship built at the time.  Two of his steamships were afloat at the time but the Great Eastern proved an unsuccessful passenger ship and was ultimately used to lay telegraphic cables.  The photograph is by Robert Howell depicting the engineer as hero.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamp theme of - Industrial