Sunday, 23 April 2017


1989: Definitive stamp
The Quesnard Lighthouse featured among Alderney's first definitive set of stamps, although it came along later and a different size because of an increase in the basic postage rate to the UK.  The artist was Gordon Drummond (b1921) who began designing stamps as a hobby but it eventually became his full time career and he has created stamps for 70 postal authorities.

The Quesnard lighthouse was established in 1912 and warns of treacherous waters on the approach to the northerly part of Alderney and Guernsey.  It made another appearance this year in Guernsey's Post and Go stamps but with the light shining out under a sunset. 
Visitors can enjoy a conducted tour of the building.   The lamp has a range of 28 nautical miles and the fog horn emits four blasts every 60 seconds and can be heard in excess of 4 nautical miles.  Its near neighbour is 

on Casquets built in 1724 after the ship owners petitioned the proprietor of the rocks. Today the station is run solely from renewable energy.

The Sark lighthouse is located on the north east of the tiny island and was built in 1913.

The Castle Breakwater lighthouse was constructed in the 1850s and forms one arm of Guernsey's main port.

Les Hanois Lighthouse rises from a reef on the south west of Guernsey.

Bréhon Tower was built in 1856 and the light is mounted on top of the stone fort which was built to guard the shipping channel between Guernsey and Hern and protect the harbour of St Peter Port
Here is the the full set of the lighthouses stamps, designed by Robin Carter and featured on a FDC
2017: Lighthouses (Designer - Robin Carter)

Guernsey Post is vending these stamps at their Smith Street Post Office kiosk specifically for cruise ship tourists visiting the island with an additional inscription which will be updated each time a ship arrives in port.  There are a lot of ships visiting as Ian of the Norvic Philatelic Blog and his contributors calculate here 

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Lighthouses - beam down to See It On A Postcard

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Needle

A postcard of an LMS Railway poster encouraging people to visit the Lake District ("illustrated guide free") featuring a glorious sunset in the Wasdale Valley as imagined by Montague Black (1884-1964), painter, illustrator and poster artist.  The rock is Napes Needle and it, and the surrounding mountains, (not to mention the Wasdale Inn) are considered the birthplace of English rock climbing and, as you can see, the artist has included tiny rock climbing figures, two enjoying the view from the top.  The first assent of the Needle was by a young graduate called Walter Parry Haskett-Smith on a windy day in the early 1880s.   He would return fifty years later to celebrate this first assent on an Easter Sunday in 1936 when he was 74 and climb it again only this time hundreds of people had gathered to watch.  As he reached the top the crowd cheered and someone shouted "Tell us a story",  quick as a flash he replied "There is no other story. This is the top story".

Napes Needle is made of the volcanic rock rhyolite and as it keeps the sun until late in the day is quick drying. To scramble the steep polished groove between the crag to get to the starting point of Needle Ridge is called, "threading the needle" which is probably seen a little better in the photo below.
taken from the book 'Beautiful Lakeland' published in 1912 by the Abraham brothers of Keswick who ascended this pinnacle many times with the added complexity of hauling their giant mahogany glass plate cameras up with them.  This was Ashley Abraham's favourite climb although he describes in the book his unpleasant experience of Christmas Day 1897 when it started to rain and freeze immediately on the rock and at one point on the descent swinging" round and round on the rope end like a spider at the end of its clew".  Sometimes things are best viewed from afar. 

Postcards for the Weekend theme -  Any Land Form - travel to Connections to the World 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Greetings

2017: Easter Greetings
Catkins are part of the rhythm of the seasons, the thin ones in February often seen on a misty drizzly day and then the plump pussy willow that appear in April.  Finland post says "Catkins bring the promise of spring", they are also part of the Finnish Easter tradition.  The artist Maarit Ailio likes painting with watercolours and says  "catkins are nature’s own treasures". This pretty stamp came through my postbox this week as did
2017: Carousel
this carousel issued for the festive spring season. The stamp design is by the illustrator and and fabric pattern designer Minna Havas who says "Old circus aesthetics is very fascinating. It was very inspiring to design the Carousel stamp and the ornamental patterns on the horse. The stamp conveys both joy and beauty".
2011: Handicrafts (Hong Kong/ Romania Joint Issue)
   It will soon be time to open your chocolate Easter eggs, if you have managed to resist so far, or if it is your tradition to roll eggs on Easter Monday then you are probably busy painting or dying them now.   In Eastern Europe they take egg painting to another level.   Romanians paint the eggs  in natural dyes using the symbolic colours of  red, yellow, blue, green and black as can be seen on the stamp.   It is customary to knock each other’s eggs during Easter, and it is believed that people who knock each other’s eggs will see each other again after death.  On that cheery note I wish you all a Happy Easter.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Easter or  Favourite stamps - feast your eyes at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 14 April 2017

Happy Easter

An Italian card wishing Buona Pasqua, Good (or Happy) Easter which I also wish everyone. Italian Easter Eggs tend to have sweets or a surprise inside and the surprise in this one must be the laughing baby. The sailor suited boy carries a bunch of flowers and the girl a basket, in which I guess are eggs.  The blossom on the tree is suggested above them
and the blossom can be seen here in flower at Yew Tree Farm in the English Lake District. 
Once the daffodils appear we know that spring is well on the way and here they are brightening up the Horton-in-Ribblesdale station on the scenic Settle to Carlisle railway line.  The small station building of 1876 was renovated in 2002 and the gardens are tended by volunteers.

Postcards for the Weekend theme -  spring, flower buds, blossom and green foliage - celebrate the season at Connections to the World.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Go Green

2016: Europa - Think Green
 As the weather gets warmer my thoughts turn to days on the coast not bundled up in layers of clothes and the 45p stamp shows a sunny day on the beach, or does it?  Perhaps there is a short sharp rain shower going on in the background.  The stamp celebrates the Isle of Man being awarded UNESCO biosphere status. The middle 77p stamp I think will be instantly recognisable as the universal design chosen for the 2016 Europa theme of  'Think Green' designed by the Cyprus Post artist Doxia Sergidou, the grey for environmental pollution and the green for environmental living and hope. The right hand £1.13 stamp is as it says, 'energy from waste' and refers to the plant that produces ten percent of the island's electricity which opened in 2004.
The Isle of Man is famous for the annual TT, so you may be thinking, as I was, what is green about a motorbike?  The stamp shows the TT Zero, an electric powered machine which first raced around the Mountain Course in 2009.  Nearly a decade later they are still still zooming around the course with the outright lap record of an average speed of 119.27 mph around the circuit, comparable to the speeds achieved by petrol fueled motorbikes. Lastly is the £2.33 stamp inspired by the hydro electric power plant in Tholt-y-Will powered by water from the two nearby reservoirs.  This small plant in the Isle of Man is dwarfed by the huge plant on Russia's Angara River .
1962: Heavy Industries
This Russian stamp depicts the construction of the Bratsk Hydro-Electric Station in Irkutsk Oblast. It was briefly the world's biggest single powered producer when it was fully commission in 1967 until Canada's Churchill Falls opened in 1971.
2012: The Manx Missile - Mark Cavendish
A green machine, Mark Cavendish wearing his Tour de France Green Jersey, the sprinter's great prize which he won in the 2011 and the stamp shows him doing a lap of honour in Paris after the final stage of the Tour.  I'm looking forward, all things being well, to this year's Tour and his exciting sprint battles with Marcel Kittel.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Green - at See It On A Postcard      

Friday, 7 April 2017

Forest of Magic

The forest of Brocéliande, of which the card says on the back is "A land of knights, magic spells, fairies and goblins".  This is one of the many places in the Celtic world with tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  The legendary Brocéliande is identified as the present day Paimpont Forest which is marked on the card near the wild boar and this is said to be the tomb of the wizard Merlin in the forest.  The map of Brittany also shows other places associated with the legend of Brocéliande and some of the characters of whom tales are told.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - whimsical or magical - more postcard magic at Connections to the World 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Having Fun

2013: Road Trip II (Design - Gavin Ryan)
Just when they thought they were going on a road trip to visit the coastal city of Gold Coast this family must have turned left instead of right and look what happened!   The smiling face on the bottom left says fun but not all the inhabitants of the car are convinced as they start to loop the loop.  Here is the maximum card -
where one can see that the car number plate also says 'fun'.  Next year's Commonwealth Games are here, well not at the funfair although I am sure we could think up a few sports.
1985: Classic Children's Books
Staying in Australia here are the gum nut babies or fairies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the creation of May Gibbs (1877-1969) whose imagination was inspired by the Blue Mountain bushland and who ultimately introduced many people to Australian wildlife with the exploits of the gum nut babies in the bush.  The blue haze from the eucalyptus oil rising in the air from Gum trees gave the Blue Mountains their name.  The Snugglepot and Cuddlepie books are part of Australian childhood and they have never been out of print.  

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Humorous or Odd - join the happy band at See It On A Postcard    

Friday, 31 March 2017

Something Fishy

Spring flowers, a trio of fish and a small child, it must be the 1st April in France, or Poisson d'Avril.  The tradition is of children sticking a paper fish on the back of an adult and running away shouting 'Poisson d'Avril' (April Fish).   At the beginning of the 20th century it was very popular to send these fishy cards in the post and you can see more, with an explanation of the tradition on The Daily Postcard. This card was sent to Béthune in Northern France
on 31st March 1911 and no doubt Monsieur Robert Delemaire would smile as he received it on April Fool's Day. I love these wacky cards, I wonder if anyone still sends them.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - odd, fun, humorous - more smiles at Connections to the World

Sunday, 26 March 2017


1997: Europa - 'Irish Myths and Legends'
Would you like to fly?  The children of King Lir were turned into white swans by their jealous stepmother and that is how they stayed for 900 years. (Their story can be found here).  Alas we are earthbound but engineering ingenuity means we can take to the skies
1969: First Flight of Concorde
and in the past it could have been on the beautiful supersonic Concorde.  This, at the time, cutting edge technology, got me wondering what was the oldest stamp I possessed featuring an airplane
1919: Air
and I think it must be this one of a biplane floating in the clouds.  This was one of the first airmail stamps of Germany's Weimar Republic (a set of two, the other was a winged posthorn)  which were issued in July 1919 and would start a long tradition of airmail stamps.  Swap some date numbers around
1991: Historic Mail Aircraft
and in 1991 Germany was celebrating the delivery of mail by air. This is the 1922 Fokker F-111 which could carry five passengers (one sitting by the side of the pilot). 
1932: Air
 Another country with a long tradition of airmail stamps is China, here showing a Junker F13 flying low over the Great Wall of China.  These airmail stamps came in a variety of colours and denominations.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Flying - swoop over to See It On A Postcard

Friday, 24 March 2017


In the Thessaly region of central Greece lies the peninsula of Pelion between the Pagastikos Gulf and the Aegean Sea.  Perhaps if I moved there I would live in a house like this.  The area takes its name from the mountain of Pilio of which there are many legends, one of which is that it was the land of the centaurs (Pelion).  It is popular climb in summer and in winter a ski destination. 
The Pelion has beech and oak forests with cool running streams which are a pleasant escape in summer from the heat of the day.  There is also easy walking on the kalderimi, the ancient network of stone paths that lead from village to village where perhaps a tortoise may be spotted ambling through the undergrowth. The postcard above shows the mountain village of Pinaketes although I am happiest when in easy reach of the sea
like this, horse optional. It is also an area famous for its orchards of apples and of course no Greek scene would be complete without olive trees but there are also figs and grapes growing wild. I have visited many parts of Greece and its islands but this is at the top of my list of a favourite places.  It also has a narrow gauge railway, the so called "little train of the Pelion" what more could one want.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - a country you would want to live if you had a chance - move on to the Linky Party at Connections to the World

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Two stamps for the price of one on this exhibition card produced by Åland. for the International Stamp Fair in Essen, Germany.   The featured German stamp is from the Humanitarian Relief Fund stamps of 1984 featuring Orchids and designed by Professor Günter Jacki.  This is Orchis ustulata, the burnt orchid which flowers in April and May.

The choice of a stamp from 1984 I think is no accident for that was the first year the name Åland appeared on stamps.  From 1984-1992 the stamps were issued by Finnish Post and you could use a combination of both Åland and Finnish stamps on envelopes.  In one of life's ironies today Åland act as agents for Finnish stamps.
1990: Orchids (Design: Allan Palmer)
I don't think one has to know the language to work out what this is called in the Åland Islands, Adam och Eva.  It is also known as the elder flowered orchid which grows in both purple and a yellow white.   I liked the description of it from Nature Gate which includes this paragraph:

"Elder-flowered orchid is one of the earliest-flowering orchids in the north. Its flowers adorn coppices on the Åland Islands from the end of May, when the queen bees wake up from their winter rest and establish a hive, flying tirelessly around to gather nutrition for the first generation of workers. From the bee’s point of view however it is a fruitless task to visit elder-flowered orchid because it has no nectar or pollen: the plant rather fools inexperienced bees into pollinating it without any reward. Insects learn to beware of cheaters, so evolution’s next step was to create two colours of elder-flowered orchid, red and yellow, which can appear in the same habitat. The red coloured variety is usually predominant in northern Finland, while in the south it is in the minority. The differently coloured varieties usually stay very separate, but sometimes plants that are different shades of orange can be found".

2015: Maximum Card 92
This maximum card features Campanula persicifolia, the fairy bell flower or peach-leaved bellflower.
2015: Peach-leaved Bellflower

I have never been happy with any of my photographs of bell flowers but the photographer here, Andy Horner, shows how it should be done.  The card also has postage paid image on the reverse
Lastly something tropical
1975: Flowers
the Giant granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis).  I have read that this flowering vine can grow over 50 ft in a season, it also produces fruit. 

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Flowers - visit the garden at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 17 March 2017

Sri Lanka

This week I am travelling in my imagination to Sri Lanka. The postcard features some of the fauna of Yala National Park, a wildlife sanctuary in the south east of the country.  One of its strap lines is "Glorious Past and Spectacular Present" for the area was a centre of ancient civilizations, so this combines two things I love, nature and history. It sounds as though Yala National Park has everything, monsoon forests, freshwater and marine wetlands and many other ecosystems. It closes for a few months  during the drought season but last year the rains came early so it reopened early.  It also closes during the mating season of the native Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya).

Yala National Park is also known for the number of birds  that can be seen in this area of 378 square miles (979 sq kilometres) which totals 215 species.  It is appropriate that the stamps the card came with were two birds endemic to Sri Lanka -
1993: Birds of Sri Lanka
the Ceylon Hill Mynah and the Ceylon Brown Capped Babbler.  Both species are known for their calls.  The Capped Babbler nests on the ground in forest undergrowth and is difficult to see but they are noisy birds so one will definitely hear them.
 Yala is marked on the map by the Sri Lankan elephant on the south east corner. 

Postcards for the Weekend theme - a card from a country you would want to visit - dream of travel at Connections to the World