Saturday 30 October 2010

Post Box #7 Adam Bridge, Coniston LA21 29

The Sacred Heart Catholic Church at Bowmanstead stands out on a hill when approaching the village of Coniston in the southern Lake District. For some reason I have never noticed the post box until this Sunday. I would have had an excuse this year for not noticing it, for Spoon Hall Pony Trekking have installed two flat white wooden horses on the hill, just before the church, advertising their ponies. They really catch the eye.  

Then when playing around with Google maps I noticed their cameras have been out and about , how could I resist putting the code in this post,  you can just make out the church tower and postbox below. No use panning to the left for the field was bare of wooden horses when the Google cars drove past.  I'd better put a picture here now I've bigged them up...

Gemma at Greyscale Territory is the hostess of Weekend Mailbox, post anything remotely to do with mail.  I'm justifying including the ponies, in times past they used to carry mail. Ha ha, only slightly tenuous.

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Friday 29 October 2010

Stormy Weather

I love stormy seas (as long as my feet are on dry land) and so too it seems do the crowds thronging the seafront in Morecambe on this card. The understated title of the card, "High Tide"  The family who were on holiday in August 1920 and sent this postcard were trying to ignore the weather.
It says "Dear Aunt and Uncle and Beatrice, We are having a real good time here but the weather is cold and now it is very rare we see the sun but that doesn't bother us. We have nearly been everywhere. We went for a long landau ride yesterday. Yours Charlie". Then upside down at the top is a cryptic message "You want to see my ma's nose - its it.  Heaps of love from Nora"  Maybe its red with the cold, the 'summer' of 1920 was the coldest of the entire 20th Century.

From the north west coast of England travelling south to the sea washed coast of Cornwall and a different time of year
and the fishing village of Porthleven. The prevailing westerly winds and tidal swells make this a popular surfing area. The distinctive building in the picture with its 70 foot clock tower is not a church with choirs singing for those in peril on the sea, but the Bickworth-Smith Institute, located down by the harbour.  Originally built in 1882 as scientific and literary institute with a lending and reference library it now houses a snooker club and the town council offices.

Part of Postcard Friendship Friday hosted by Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Strasburg Rail Road Loco

The Great Western Railway 2-10-0 Decapod built in 1924, originally pulled sugar beet in Colorado but now it runs hourly as part of the Strasburg Rail Road in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  The card says:
"Loco #90 is heading for home - the station at Strasburg, PA.  Ride the train and experience the beautiful Amish farm country for yourself"  

The carriages look just like the ones in westerns, my favourite cowboy Randolph Scott could be boarding ready for his next adventure.

My sender tells me that it is a neat place to take the kids.  There is a museum, toy trains and of course train rides. Having looked on the Strasburg website I also now know there is a miniature train and a shop. Sounds as though I could spend days there.

The railway has been in Lancaster County since 1832,  but in the 1950s it was deteriorating, a final disaster was the destruction of the tracks by storms which meant it was in danger of closure. In stepped two rail enthusiasts Henry Long and Donald Hallock who saved four and a half miles of track opening it as a tourist attraction in 1958 with the trains they purchased and it is still going strong today. 

I was mesmerised by the Strasburg train snow ploughing videos on You Tube but sticking to the post theme  here is Loco #90 in close detail with a guitar strumming track

Thank you Rose for this super steaming loco. The card travelled 3336 miles (5368k) and took 5 days. 

Monday 25 October 2010


Built in 1390 as a meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi (a group of wealthy bourgeoisie) the Guildhall in Leicester has survived a lot of history. The original building was extended and two wings were added in the 15th Century. In the 16th Century wandering dramatic companies put on performance and it is reputed one of these was the company of the famous playwright William Shakespeare.  In 1632 the town library was installed here.

The building  survived the English Civil War despite the city walls being breached by the Royalists and the guildhall being looted of the towns archives, mace and seal.

The 19th Century saw it containing a courtroom, a police station and town council.  When a new town hall was built and the council moved out the building became dilapidated and it was nearly demolished, happily instead in 1926, after renovation, it was opened as a museum.  Today it is once again used as a performance space and there will be various Halloween events taking place this month.  A building of this age just has to have ghosts doesn't it?  Quite a collection,  a white lady, unlocking doors and moving furniture who has a liking for the large bible kept on the table in the library which she opens.  Footsteps walking across the roof space where the Victorian police officers used to sleep, a cavalier and ghostly dog.  A perfect place for Halloween.

The sender of the card sent it from Nottinghamshire but Leicester is her home town and tells me The Guildhall is one of the oldest buildings in the town. She had run out of 1st class stamps so sent it 2nd class with an amusing hand written 'via air mail' note on it. The post office definitely ignored that piece of whimsy for it took 10 days to get to me.  The ying and yang of the post system, I sent a card to Germany recently that only took 2 days.  

Thank you Rach. The card travelled north for 154 miles (157k).       

Saturday 23 October 2010

All Locked Up

The padlock on the postbox, an ornate gate, a closed door, and just to make sure all is safe, a slate and stone wall.  Truly a Englishman's home is his castle. Go no further Mr Postman.  Then again there is another way of looking at it, as Virginia Wolf did, 

"I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out, and I thought it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in".

Just the right thought as we approach Halloween and think of all those stories of dark spooky houses.

Gemma of Greyscale Territory is the hostess of Weekend Mailbox, post anything remotely to do with mail.

Friday 22 October 2010

Copper Nob

The Copper Nob 040 tender engine or Locomotive Number 3 of the Furness Railway, here on display at the Museum of Transport in London but it has moved on since this card was issued, and is now at the National Railway Museum in York. Despite being quite an age, being built in 1846 by Bury, Curtis and Kennedy of Liverpool, it still on occasion gets to chug out on the rails, most notably when the 150 anniversary of the Furness Railways came round. It hauled the first passenger train of that company.  Its affectionate nickname of Old Copper Nob comes from the domed shape of the copper firebox. She is painted in the Furness Railway livery, the colour, Indian Red.  After retirement in 1898 she was put on display in a glass case at Barrow Central Station but the station was bombed in the Second World War destroying the glass case and inflicting a few shrapnel wounds on the locomotive
Despite retiring you can see from this old card the engine still got out and about.  The proud railwaymen standing by the gleaming engine
for the reason, written in pencil, on the back "Coppernob preparatory to departure for Wembley Exhibition 1925".   This was the British Empire Exhibition held in London where the many countries of the then empire had a displays of culture and industry and ran for two summer seasons. Visitor attractions were an amusement park, a stadium (which would later become the Wembley Stadium of football finals), and exhibitions including a special exhibition space for the several railway companies of which it seems Furness Railways was one.

This year at the 2010 London Festival of stamps they issued a set of "The King's Stamps"; referring to the stamp enthusiast George V who collected and took an interest in the design of stamps.  Two of these were reproductions of

the British Empire Exhibition stamps and Royal Mail also issued a set of  eight postcards
I couldn't decide which one to post, I like the fact that one has three halfpence on it, (that coinage and price is well in the past!) but I like the other because it is red.  Both are the same on the reverse

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

Monday 18 October 2010


An armadillo from Texas. My sender lives in Canyon a small city south of Amarillo, so this could be an armadillo from Amarillo, I am hoping so, however my sender says although there are some around they tend to live further south.  There are 20 species of armadillo but all but one live in Latin America. They are differentiated by the number of bands on their armour so this is the only North American species, a Nine banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus).

The card says that "Armadillo means 'little armoured one', in Spanish, originally came to Texas from Mexico. Today the armadillo is the unofficial mascot for Texas".  The Aztec name for them was Azotochtli which means 'turtle-rabbit'.

An ancient species whose nearest relatives are anteaters and sloths, and in common with them are insectivores with sticky tongues, who also like long lie ins, sleeping for up to 16 hours a day.  They have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and also their hair is very sensitive like a cat's whiskers. Only one species of Armadillo can curl up for protection but not this northern species, however it has no natural predators.  It does get killed on roads though because when startled it jumps in the air, not the best defence for a speeding car. With a touch of black humour the Americans refer to these as  'Hillbilly speed bumps'.    

The card is a great close-up showing the sharp claws they use for digging up grubs and making their dens, which tend to be near creaks and streams. Although they have short legs they can move quickly.  I have read that they can stay underwater for up to six minutes. Now you would think that someone covered in armour wouldn't go near water but apparently they can inflate their stomach and intestines increasing in size allowing it to cross narrow bodies of water.  Their body temperature is the same as humans but have a low metabolic rate which means that bad weather can wipe out whole populations so although they are expanding their range the warm south is where these cute creatures will be staying.
The card came with a nice selection of this years stamps, I have received quite few of the Animal Rescue adopt a shelter pet dogs and cats, but so far they have all been different, how good is that.

This card travelled 4,634 miles (7457K) and took 6 days.  Thank you Preston 

Saturday 16 October 2010

Weekend Mailbox

Back to France for this week's weekend postbox which is in Malestroit, a town by the Nantes-Brest canal. Behind me is the medieval centre, its church and the Creperie where we had just had lunch. In compensation for not seeing all that you get a postbox surrounded with an abundance of flowers, oh and it is one of the two openings variety, one for mail going to the French department where it is located, Morbihan, and the other for all other directions.

Gemma of Greyscale Territory is the hostess of Weekend Mailbox, post anything remotely to do with mail

Friday 15 October 2010

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers

A card saying Happy Birthday, many happy returns of the day. To sit in the trees and sing with the birds is a pretty concept. The little girl's balance is as good as the birds.  Today was the birthday of the poet Robert Herrick whose lines seemed appropriate to head this post.
The card was sent in 1919 from the village of Rothrist-dorf in the German speaking canton of Aargau,  Switzerland with a couple of their William Tell definitives first issued in 1910. It is sent to Helene from "your sister Lydie".  Lovely writing but don't know what the rest says, it starts with Meine (my);  possibly its a loving greeting.

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

Monday 11 October 2010

Smardale Bridge

The old 18th Century packhorse bridge trade route over Scandal Beck.  The beautiful valley of Smardale is now a nature reserve and its more famous crossing is the Viaduct at the other end of the vale.  However many more feet have walked over this bridge at the bottom of the valley near Kirkby Stephen because it is on the route of the Coast to Coast walk.  The classic route starts  with a dip your booted feet in the Irish Sea at St Bees and walk 200 miles over to the North Sea where you paddle, without boots, at Robin Hood Bay, perhaps to ease your blisters.

Saturday 9 October 2010


Porch and postbox in perfect harmony.
Lake District door

Gemma of Greyscale Territory is the hostess of Weekend Mailbox, post anything remotely to do with mail.

Friday 8 October 2010

Three Sisters

 The Three Sisters, Canmore - On line of Canadian Pacific Railway

The iconic Three Sisters in the Rocky Mountains, things have moved on since 1908 when this card was posted for today you can even see them on a web-cam.  Our ancestors would be amazed.

The town of Canmore in Alberta was founded in 1883 as a railway division and mining town (coal) it is named after the Scottish emigrant Malcolm Canmore. The family that sent this card were also emigrants but from England.
Unfortunately the stamp and postmark have gone, no doubt to one of my Grandmothers grandchildren, but happily there are three other interesting marks. One, the card leaving Canada from The Gap post office near Calgary which in 1908 had only been open for two years and would close in 1916.  It is an interesting name I wonder in which Gap it was located. The exact date is unclear, March 10, 15 or even 16 perhaps however it landed in England in the port of Liverpool on 28 March 2008.

The message reads:
"Hoping this postcard finds you quite well as it leaves me cha?.  Hoping you like this. AW"

After the mining finished the town of Canmore went into decline  however when the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics were held the town hosted the Nordic events and has enjoyed good fortune ever since as a centre for tourism and sports. It is now one of the largest towns in Alberta.  The Canadian Pacific Railway has been rumbling through the centre of Canmore since 1884,
so how could I resist including one of Mayfair Cards' North American Odyssey reproduction postcards. Those mountains in the background could even be the Three Sisters, who knows.

Beth of The Best Hearts Are Crunch is our hostess of Postcard Friendship Friday

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Viaduct and Estuary - Barmouth

Estuaries are magical places, neither land nor sea, snaking channels and shining sands, flocks of birds flying overhead or looking for lunch as the tide ebbs away.

The Barmouth Estuary in Wales is where the River Mawddach ends its journey after rising in the mountains of Snowdonia in North Wales.  The card is of the mouth of the estuary where the seaside town of Barmouth sits along with the railway viaduct, which is happily still in use.  Built in 1867 by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railways it runs for 900 yards and on the landward side there is a footbridge which is also still used, for a small toll.

My Father was staying near here  in 1972 and he noted on the back:
"One could soon reach here from our walking centre.  The collection of bungalows in the distance is Fairbourne, a fine place for bathing - if the weather was right.  A miniature railway runs from here to the edge of the sands where the Ferry picks one up for Barmouth"
The miniature narrow gauge railway and ferry still run.  Isn't Barmouth lucky, two railways.

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Monday 4 October 2010

Autumn Art

"Line to follow colour rhythms in sycamore" by Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy, sculptor and photographer, lives in Scotland.  Some of his works are permanent but some like this one are ephemeral.   The coloured sycamore leaves follow a beck in north west Scotland somewhere near the Glenfiddich whiskey distillery. Possibly he put his feet up in the bar at night after completing this and drank a 'wee dram'. I was up there a couple of years ago on the beautiful Moray coast and drove past on the Grantown on Spey road, it is a sort of hot spot of distilleries,

Goldsworthy made this ten years ago on the 2 October, just as Autumn begins, touches of gold and red mix with the green, the season will soon gather pace.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Post Box #6 Tongue Ghyll, Grasmere (LA22 163)

The ivy surrounded post box at Tongue Ghyll, a place with a scattering of houses and named after the stream that tumbles down the mountainside.  Maybe it is a little small on the photograph but I was taken with the Virginia Creeper turning red on the house in the background and the red of the postbox.

Here you are in the very centre of the English Lake District and the mountains spread like spokes in a wheel from this point.
The postbox lies by the side of the A591 road heading north from Grasmere going over the pass of Dunmail Raise, supposedly named after the last king of Cumbria.  All the bracken on the hill has turned brown, we are well on the way to Autumn. 

Gemma at Greyscale Territory is the hostess of Weekend Mailbox, post anything remotely to do with mail.

Friday 1 October 2010

Breton Dance

Feel like a dance?  How about this?  Doesn't it look fun.  The Groupe de Pontivy performing the Gavotte du Pays Pourlet. The place and dance are from lower Brittany, the Vannetais (in Breton Bro Gwened).  The Breton name sounds almost Welsh which is not surprising for they are both Celtic nations.  Today the French department is called Morbihan.  The traditional music, dance and costumes and even the headdresses of Brittany vary from region to region and sometimes even town to town.

Intrigued by this dance I found a 18 second clip that shows it in action, although the postcard photographer has captured the movement  and feel of the dance wonderfully.  

Gavotte Pourlet à quatre
Uploaded by Kerfank. - News videos from around the world.

Our hostess for Postcard Friendship Friday is Beth from The Best Hearts Are Crunchy.