Friday, 16 June 2017

Pass the Post

Postbox LA8 39, Levens, near the Strickland Arms, Cumbria
The arrow of the coast to coast National Cycle Route 70 from Walney Island (the Irish Sea) to the Wear (the North Sea)  points the rider onward.  The perfect opportunity to post postcards in the wall box on the way past.

The Postal Picture will be quiet for a few week as I'm heading to an island of green postboxes, taking pictures and twirling the postcard carousels.   

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Gardens and Forests

2016: Landscape Gardens
In 2016 Royal Mail celebrated the 300th anniversary of Lancelet 'Capability' Brown's birth with some of the significant landscape gardens he created.  Nicknamed Capability Brown because he used to say to those wishing to employ him that their garden or land had "great capability for improvement".  He completely changed the gardens in the 18th Century from the formal French style into the artifice of what looked like a natural landscape.
He worked as Head Gardner at Stowe (bottom left stamp above) and created the Grecian Valley for Lord Cobham and from there everyone wanted to employ him on their estates. Creating lakes, serpentine rivers, bridges, woods and hills on country estates something triggered in the English psyche and we continue to love them.   
150 of  the 250 sites he designed survive today and the National Trust highlight some of them here
2011: Europa - Forests
 But lets head into the woodland of Luxembourg.  The stamps were created by the artist and naturalist Alan Johnston and painted outdoors to "capture the climatic, ecological and geological characteristics of the environment".
2016: Visiting Card From Finland
I love the misty landscape of woods and water on this FDC, it is almost as if one were a bird flying over it.
The 'visiting card' title of this duo  is of course because these are the stamps used on international postcards. The one on the left is  Nuuksio National Park in Southern Finland ("a hikers paradise") and the other is the fresh green leaves of a birch tree in sunlight.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II them - Gardens or Forests - wander and wonder at  See It On A Postcard

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Three Dragons

Flag of Wales – Y Ddraig Goch
Although the dragon on the green and white background only became the official flag of Wales in the 20th Century as the card says on the back "Since the time of Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, the dragon has been used on the Standards of the Welsh Kings. It was believed that the dragon protected his own and inspired terror in the enemy".

The dragon stamp on the maximum card is from the "Celebrating Wales" miniature sheet issued in 2009, one of a series of miniature sheets celebrating the countries that make up the United Kingdom.
Conwy Castle Ramparts

Here are couple of welsh flags I saw flying on the ramparts of Conwy Castle in the gloom of a rainy day.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Flags - flying at Connections to the World 

Sunday, 4 June 2017


2008: Europe - The Letter
What better way to start than to say 'Hello'.  The illustrator Edward Fulglø has chosen the informal Hey (pronounced 'huhy' in Faroese).  The stamp is one of two issued for the 2008 Europa theme "The Letter".  I like how he combines the @ sign with a posthorn. Fulglø's  website contains all his stamp designs each with a little exposition on the subject matter and in this case  "Letters and Haste".
1983: Festival of Rebirth
There is a whole lot going on in this stamp and it is a personal favourite, not only for the tractor /cow vibe but that wonderful serpentine khmer alphabet  and of course we have all the other fonts as well.
2013: Traditional Rituals and Customs (Designer - Simion Zamşa)
A nice spiky font and another festival, this time 'Paparuda' - a ritual to summon the rain which takes place in spring. I don't think anyone will be trying this one in lee of the Atlantic weather system in Britain.
1900-1916: Definitive
Browsing my stamps I noticed some of the pre 1945 Hungarian designs have some interesting fonts, for instance this Magyar Kir Posta (Hungarian Royal Post).  This country name fits itself around the flying bird which is the Tural, a mythical bird of the Magyars seen here hovering above the Crown of St Stephen.
1978: PRAGA 78 International Stamp Exhibition, Prague Town Hall
Lastly a lovely ornate country name on this stamp set featuring the Prague Town Hall Astronomical Clock which dates from medieval times (1410) although the detail on the stamp is part of the calendar dial of 1865 by Josef Mánes which features zodiac signs and as shown on the stamp above - Prague city arms.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Interesting Fonts - See It On A Postcard  


Saturday, 3 June 2017


The largest island in the world and the card gives the latitude and longitude (also helpfully marking the arctic circle) so perhaps one could plot a route to Greenland.  There will be no trouble finding a post office because that is what all the red dots are around the coast on the postcard.  Nuuk on the south west coast is not only Greenland's capital but the home of the giant Santa Claus Post Box
Image from Wikipedia
where letters to the jolly gentleman are gathered all year round.  Razlan from Hong Kong also called in to the nearby tourist post office and shared his photo on Flickr here  Of course another way to 'visit' Greenland is by post and this is what one Canadian postal enthusiast is doing with post office cover cancels  here.  

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Country Map - navigate to Connections to the World

Sunday, 28 May 2017


Cats seem to rule the internet (possibly in their quest for world domination) so it is appropriate that this Alderney set of stamps is called "In Praise of the Cat".
1996: In Praise of the Cat
The artist is the Guernsey born Peter Le Vasseur; I wonder if he has some mischievous cats of his own?
Balls of wool and playful cats seem to go together and also the warning to keep them away from the fish tank
1975: Aquarium Fish
especially if one doesn't want a veil-tailed goldfish to go missing. The stamp engraver is the prolific, and award winning,  Josef Hercík (1922-1999)
1996: Australian Pets (Designer: Dianne Cook)
If you are highly energetic and enjoy long walks then maybe the pet of choice would be a Blue Heeler dog, they are also highly intelligent so like to be entertained.  As a working dog breed they are also called Australian Cattle Dogs and nip at the heels of the cattle they herd, could be useful for rounding up small children.
1974: Young Animals
For an easier and more relaxing life perhaps try a fluffy baby bunny.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Pets - enjoy more companions on See It On A Postcard

Friday, 26 May 2017

Street Scene

Sedan Chair, Seoul, Korea
A moment captured in time as a group of men walk quickly towards us with their coats flying outwards with their movement. The overcoats are called durumagi a traditional garment worn not only against the cold but for ceremonial purposes.  I've shown this card before on my blog (back in 2011), but it is one of my favourites so how could I resist using it for the 'Street Scene' theme.  

I wonder who is hidden from view in the sedan chair?   The uses of the sedan chair (or gama) in Korea are summed up by Wikipedia in a paragraph
 "In Korea, royalty and aristocrats were carried in elaborately decorated litters called gama. Gamas were primarily used by royalty and government officials. There were six types of gama, each assigned to different government official rankings. In traditional weddings, the bride and groom are carried to the ceremony in separate gamas. Because of the difficulties posed by the mountainous terrain of the Korean peninsula and the lack of paved roads, gamas were preferred over wheeled vehicles".
 The card was sent in 1907, not from Korea, but the the seaside town of Weymouth on the south coast of England to Staines just outside London
and as it was the 23rd December then it comes a message "I must wish a very merry Christmas, hoping you are well and got better weather than we have" .

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Traditional Street Scene - walk over to Connections to the World

Sunday, 21 May 2017


1985: British Film Year
From the plasters on Peter Sellers head I would guess that this photograph by Bill Brandt is from an Inspector Clouseau film. I always enjoy film stills and also the lighting used in photographs from the classic era of movies
The photographer Angus McBean used lighting in his portraiture in a highly individual way. He was invited to photograph Vivien Leigh as a young actress in a stage performance and would continue to photograph almost every performance from stage to screen for thirty years. The stamp shows a photograph taken in 1938.
The photographer Howard Coster specialised in photographing men so Alfred Hitchcock fits that gender specific requirement. I think this might be one of a group of photographs he took in 1936.  The stamps in this British Film Year set all have signatures on them in gold which shows up better on the stamps themselves, although not brilliantly so.  The choice of photogravure printing by the designer Keith Bassford doesn't help.
2004: Black Heritage
 A six year campaign and about a quarter of a million signatures eventually brought the singer and actor Paul Robeson to grace one of the Black Heritage stamp.  His fight for social justice, equal rights and his socialist politics made it a controversial choice for some and indeed his passport had been revoked in 1950 for which he had a long fight of eight years to get back. Not only a wonderful voice but a fighter for justice, the quote from when he performed a interracial concert in 1949 and was attacked by a racist mob while the police stood by shows his courage   “I’m going to sing wherever the people want me to sing … and I won’t be frightened by crosses burning in Peekskill or anywhere else"  The photograph is from the studio of Annette and Basil Zarov.
2016: Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition
 Next we have an heroic photographer, Frank Hurley, part of the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica, war starting as they set out in 1914. The iconic picture of Endurance being crushed in pack ice (80 miles from their destination) in 1915 is probably the most famous. Eventually having to abandon the ship
and camp on the ice it would not be until August 1916 that everyone, incredibly, was safe.  Frank Hurley not only photographed but took motion pictures of their long ordeal.

Feeling a bit cold?
2007: Island Jewels
Much nicer here on Fraser Island off the SE coast of Queensland, the aboriginal name is K'gari which translates as Paradise.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - photography - click to See It On A Postcard    

Friday, 19 May 2017


The card says on the back "Canada owes much to its First Nation people the true founders of our country" but it doesn't elaborate on what tribe our dancer is from as he swirls into view in a flurry of feathers and fringes on the postcard, or what the dance celebration is although it is possibly the Grass Dance seen here

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Traditional Celebration at Connections to the World  

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Post On The Move

1958:  Sea and Helicopter Mail
The mail is journeying across the planet and Sweden commemorated "the many hundreds of years of Sea Mail Services over the North Atlantic and the 10th anniversary of Helicopter Mail Service in the Stockholm Archipelago"  with the set of stamps seen on the FDC.
The featured ship was the Gripsholm II,(1957-2001) a cruise liner which today lies on the sea bed off Cape of Good Hope having avoiding the final indignity of being broken up by ship breakers.  I am not sure if the helicopter is arriving or departing but glad to see the postmaster is wearing his winter gloves.
1996: Mail Carriages 1862-1996
More Swedish mail transport, this time a sorting mail carriage.  The service ceased in March 1996 and carriages were taken out of use from 1st April 1996 as all the mail was then being sorted at terminals and post offices. The cover cancellation is from the Stockholm-Malmo line.
The stamp shows work in a modern mail carriage but the tradition was a long one as the first mail carriage was established in 1862 travelling between Stockholm and Gothenburg. The service grew and at its peak in the 1930s there were 258 of them.

An entry to Sunday Stamps theme - Commemorative - See It On A Postcard

Friday, 12 May 2017


Dancing towards us resplendent in traditional costumes are women of Italy, Spain, Turkey and Germany.  There is no information on the back of the card of as to where the illustration is from and the only clue from the front is a plate number - 76 (or 16) which would indicate it is part of a series or perhaps from a very large book.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Traditional Costumes - dress to impress at Connections to the World 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Places of Worship

1982-1988 Irish Architecture
This is a church built as a royal chapel for Cormac McCarthy which was consecrated in 1134 and today is called Cormac's Chapel.  Because of a crozier found in his tomb it is thought that Cormac was not only a king but also a bishop.  This Romanesque chapel in County Tipperary can be found on the Rock of Cashel, traditional seat of the kings of Ulster for hundreds of years.
1982-1988 (Drawings Michael Craig; Graphics Peter Wildbur)
A 6th Century Oratorium sits on the uninhabited rocky red granite St MacDara Island off the coast of County Galway.  MacDara is the patron saint of fishermen so every year in July people travel to the island from Carna for mass and a blessing of boats to keep them safe for the coming year. (Seafarers Pilgrimage photos here)

Churches, chapels and monasteries appeared on Brazil's Cultural Heritage definitives of 1986-88

St Lawrence of the Indians church, Sao Roque
St Francis's Monastery, Olinda
St Anthony's Chapel, Sao Roque

When the stamp below was issued in 1925, the illustration was referred to as the "new" Sofia Cathedral.

The gilt domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the largest Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in the world, can hold 10,000 people and is also a symbol of the city.  Construction started in 1882 and was completed in 1912.

The oldest of the structures featured on my stamps today is
1931-41: Land and People
the square minaret of the Grand Mosque in Tunis which was built in 732. 
Lastly is a church with a beautiful view of Lake Lugano, the church of San Georgio Castagnola. In the background is Monte San Salvatore where you can ride a funicular to the top and find a 80m high TV tower and from whose viewing platform one can enjoy a 360 degree vista of lake, land and mountains.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Places of worship - pray visit See It On A Postcard