Tuesday 30 November 2010

Qi Baishi Painting

Chinese Famous Painting Enjoying Qi Baishi

Qi Baishi (1877-1957) is considered one of the great Chinese Painters.  His parents were poor and lived by cultivating rice, his mothers savings paid for one year of formal education when he was 8.  At the age of  16 he started to be a carpenter, on reaching the age of 27 he began to be taught painting, calligraphy and literature. This was obviously a person of great talent. Unusual for his time his paintings contain no western influences although his Chinese style was considered innovative. He painted from nature, animals, insects, flowers and mountains. Every brush stroke was there for a purpose and he never stopped learning throughout his life. A true polymath.  His famous saying is:  
"The excellence of a painting lies in its being alike, yet unlike. Too much likeness flatters the vulgar taste; too much unlikeness deceives the world." 

My sender says this card is very Chinese and sends with
a 2007 Happy New Year Stamp. The Chinese New Year starts in 2011 on February 3rd and will be the year of the Rabbit (metal in case you know your birth elements).

Thank you Mayi for this unique card.

Monday 29 November 2010

Mureuk-ri, Korea

Standing Stone Image in Mireuki-ri

This serene site is one of the oldest Buddhist shrines in Korea. Located in the Woraksan Mountains national park it probably dates back to the 11th Century Goryeo era but parts of it were possibly constructed in the earlier Shilla period (668-918). Legend has it that it was built by the last crown prince of the United Shilla  Kingdom. The lantern is created from one single block of granite, the 5 story pagoda is from the Goryeo Kingdom era. The eye leads to the Buddha at the end which legend says has magical properties which include the observation that despite its age the face remains amazingly clean. 

The sender hopes I like this unique card.  I certainly do and it is my first ever card from Korea.  It came with
two definitive stamps, the first Whistling Swans, winter migratory birds, and the other of Taegeukgi, the national flag of the Republic of Korea. Couldn't resist including the cute air mail hand-stamp in the scan.

Thank you Rob for this super card which travelled 5,544 miles (8923k) and took 15 days

Saturday 27 November 2010

Isle of Wight Views

The perfect card for the Weekend Mailbox meme hosted by Gemma at Greyscale Territory here. Post anything remotely to do with mail such as mailboxes, cards, notepaper, stamps, postcards, old letters, post vans or postmen. Tick two out of that list, alas it is an unsent card so I can't check stamp as well.

I have never been to the Isle of Wight but have past it on the ferry on the way back from France, as it slows down to manoeuvre into Portsmouth harbour.  Both the views of the island, its cliffs and then the trundle past all the naval ships anchored in Portsmouth makes it a fascinating part of the journey.

So back to the card, lets go clockwise starting from the top left:
  • Ventor - first grew as a health resort in the Victorian era because of its micro-climate caused by the sheltering cliffs and its southerly aspect
  • Blackgang Chine - is 6 miles from Ventor and has had an amusement park since 1843, the location has moved over the years as it contends with landslides.
  • Allum Bay and the Needles - The Needles rock are guarded by a  lighthouse, not seen on the card.
  • Sandown - resort with a sweeping sandy beach
  • Ryde - Is a popular destination because of the short sea route from the mainland
  • The Old Village, Shanklin - with it many thatched house, and a pub, sadly not in view. 
The card is from my father's collection who enjoyed a sunny weeks holiday here spending time, amongst other things, walking the cliff paths.

Friday 26 November 2010

Mount Lowe Railway

 Climbing Los Flores Canyon, Mt Lowe, California

Mount Lowe Railway, the only scenic mountain electric traction rail-road ever built in the USA, 7 miles of track starting at Mountain Junction in Altadena, California.  It was the vision of Prof Thaddeus S.C. Lowe (balloonist and Lincoln's Chief Aeronaut in the American Civil War) to  to build this tourist attraction which started in business on 4th July 1893.  The civil engineer and partner in this venture was David J MacPherson.

The card is of the 'alpine' section which was begun at a later date in 1894 and took a narrow gage track across 3 canyons to the foot of Mount Lowe. The line set out across the broad Las Flores Canyon which I have read gave a tremendous panorama of the Los Angeles area below.

Things did not go smoothly for Thaddeus Lowe's venture the hotel which had been built on Echo Mountain on top of the Great Incline burnt down, there were landslides, flash floods, electrical storms and lastly in 1938 there was a "three-day deluge of biblical proportions" which "wiped out everything left of the railway and stranded the caretakers on Echo for 10 days. After that the railway was officially abandoned".  By this time Lowe did not own the railway, he had gone bankrupt and the railway  had changed hands twice.  There is a fascinating article on Wikipedia with photographs of this visionary venture here.

The 3 million people that rode the railway and perhaps had their photograph taken by the official photographer Charles Lawrence would only see traces of it today.  Happily on part of the old rail bed from Echo Mountain there is a hiking route part of which drops down to the Flores Canyon.   Some of the old hardware and information boards about the railway line the route which was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Saturday Update: Following up Lyneen of "I Am Dreaming of Castles" comment.  See her wonderful find of Mt Lowe postcards, really see what it was like to teeter on the edge of a mountain in a small electric rail car and read the newspaper article here

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

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Anyone for Cricket

An Edwardian cricket match, early 20th century.

On a beautiful summers day the ball is about to be bowled, fast.  A fast bowler from the other end of the 20th century, Bob Willis, with his long run up would have come at some speed down the slope in the background.  The match is taking place somewhere in Lancashire, place unknown.

At midnight GMT one of the great international sporting  rivalries starts another series at my favourite Australian Ground, The Gabba in Brisbane, (who could not love a ground with a Vulture Street end). 

For those not belonging to a cricketing nation the England versus Australia matches have a long history. In 1882 England lost to Australia on home ground, an obituary appeared in The Sporting Times stating that English Cricket had died "and its body will be cremated and taken to Australia".  The 'ashes' have be fought over ever since.  There are 20/20 and one day matches but the ones that count are the classic 5 Test Matches which determine the destination of the ashes (a teeny weeny urn which actually never moves from England).

Monday 22 November 2010

Birka Princess

One of those wonderful double coincidences of life.  I wonder if they have meaning and should take more notice of them? Should I set off for the Åland Island immediately?  My recent  receiving of a postcard featuring Birka Lines first ship (posted here earlier this month) was followed a couple of weeks later by this postcard from Finland from another Postcrosser,

The Birka Princess was built by Valmet in Helsinki for Birka Lines and started its sailing career in 1986 carrying 80 passengers with 24 hour cruises between the Åland Islands and Stockholm, Sweden. Built to ice class 1A and with a card deck it was quite a successful  route. In 1999 it was refitted in Germany, 62 cabins added and route changed to night cruises from Stockholm to Turku, Helsinki and Tallin, these were not so popular.

By 2006 it was laid up and up for sale. Bought by the Cyprus based Louis Cruise Line who added an outdoor pool and sun deck. Renamed Sea Diamond it set off to cruise the Mediterranean, disaster struck or rather the underwater volcanic reef entering the Greek island harbour on Santorini stood in its way and down it sank, with the loss of two French lives.

I think the lighthouse with the sun setting behind is the Marhällan which guards the port of Marieham in the Åland Islands  to avert similar disasters
 The card came with a suitable nautically themed stamp:
Part of a miniature sheet issued earlier this year of Kokka's Kantasatama Harbour. Featured on this stamp is the Finnish Wooden Boat Centre with a Nordic Folkboat sailing in front of it. There are about 4000 in the world of this small low cost and easy to sail boat which when first designed was made of wood, although now it is usually GRP.

The card travelled 1,109 miles (1784k) and took 3 days. 
Thank you Heli.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Post Box #8 Park Fell, Skelwith Bridge

 Postbox LA22 196
Postbox on the Coniston to Ambleside road which gradually climbs in altitude. It is a popular route not only for the destination but the views. There is a better vista of the hills further on, but not only is this road a busy one it is also very narrow so you would have to be a photographer with steady nerves to stop.

The postbox is in quite an exposed place so is rather grubby but its small lay-by makes it a great place to stop and post your cards, and perhaps journey on to the Brathay river as it  flows by Skelwith Bridge, break off to have a pot of tea and rather delicious cakes at the cafe with a river view. 

I took the photo in the late afternoon, the autumn light had moved from the postbox to the hills.

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

Friday 19 November 2010

Malo les Bains, France

I found this card recently and could not resist it, there is so much going on in the picture. People coming onto the beach with their deckchairs, a horse drawn refreshment stall, wheeled bathing machines drawn up to the water. I have no idea of the date but everybody looks to be having a good time. The card is by Lucien Pollet, a regional publisher operating in the first half of the 20th century from 1918 onwards.

 Malo-les-Bains is a 19th Century seaside town and was described as having "fin de siecle charm".  Like my own local beach this vast sandy beach also has a New Years Day swim, I have never been tempted into the water at that time of year, brrr.

Malo-les-Bains is by Dunkirk so the scene in 1940 when the little ships came to rescue British and French troops from this very beach in World War II was very different
as they scuttled their vehicles behind them.
I have never been to this part of northern France but always associate it more with the port, like this card

I discovered on the web. I don't know why because there are some fabulous stretches of sand on this coast.

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

Monday 15 November 2010

Albany, New York State

I love a city skyline and this one as the sun sets, the lights on in all the buildings has a great atmosphere. The photo is one of many taken on the same evening by Kodak, the Mayor of Abany and other photographers. Although it cannot be seen on the card the Hudson River is running at the the bottom. The tall building on the left is the Erastus Corning Tower, the largest skyscraper in the state outside of New York city. Take a trip to the 42nd floor and an observation deck gives view over the city. The building and its companions marching away to the right form the Rockerfeller Empire Plaza ,and as can be seen dominate the skyline.

Albany is the state capital,  the land used to be one inhabited by the Algonquian people but with the arrival of the Dutch, French and British it became a trading post, when the English took it over in 1664, after a battle or two, it had grown to a town and they renamed it Albany after the Duke of Albany who was later to become King James II.  By 1686 it was officially declared a city. New York was one of the original 13 colonies seeking independence from England, declaring themselves independent and sovereign in 1775. This is the oldest surviving city of those 13 colonies so the many museums here will have lots to see.

This card was sent to me by one of my fellow team members of the ABC Wednesday meme, (post something beginning with a specific letter, image, poem or prose, we are at R this week).  By making a comment on his  Ramblin with Roger site I was in his prize draw, and unbelievable won, so while on this 'winning streak' what was this deltiologist to do but ask for a postcard. Thank you Roger.  I'm now wondering if Roger has ever done A for Albany, if he ever has it will be full of interesting information and perhaps some unexpected images.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Market Cross, Ulverston

A Dennis postcard from the 1970s but apart from the make of cars the scene looks similar today. The post box has stood there since Victorian times.  The shop on the left is still a chemist although the shop to the right of it has changed many times since the dress shop it was in this picture.  No cars will be here on Thursdays or Saturdays because lots of market stalls will be set up on both sides of the street.

Walk down this cobbled street and postcards can be bought to pop into the red postbox, perhaps stopping off at the Sun Inn on the right on the way.

On Remembrance Sunday tomorrow the market cross that contains the name of the fallen of this small market town will have its poppy wreaths.

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

Friday 12 November 2010

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh rolling in mud to disguise himself as, a little back rain cloud, in order to sneak some honey from the bees, a cunning plan that does not quite work out as he anticipates.  The Maximum card features the recently issued stamp of Christopher Robin and his bear with a Pooh Corner, Hartfield, cancellation, a place where you can have cream teas in Piglit's Tea Room and various cakes, some featuring honey.  Pooh would approve of that, his own words, "It is more fun to talk to someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but short easy words like 'What about lunch'".  Perhaps afterwards play Pooh Sticks at Poosticks Bridge. Of course any bridge in the world is available for Pooh Sticks, identify the sticks, throw in the river, and race to the other side to see who has won.  A game played by generations of children, and one you don't ever quite grow out of.  

This year the countries participating in the 2010 Europa stamp issue used the theme of childrens books.  Here in Britain they featuring AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh and the EH Sheppard drawings, which unlike the coloured-in postcard, used the original black and white images
of Pooh and friends. He may have been "a bear of very little brain" but had lots fun with his friends. As AA Milne wrote "Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his bear will always be playing".

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

Wednesday 10 November 2010

A Peaceful Derwentwater

 Falcon Crag, Derwentwater
Derwentwater, a 3 mile long lake in the northern Lake District, its islands and much of the shoreline is now owned by the National Trust. The hills rise straight up from the lake on its northern side and this painting of Falcon Crag captures the wooded slopes and rocky face beautifully. A road runs along the southern side which takes in the full sweep of the lake.  Hire a rowing boat or step on board one of the small motor launches to enjoy the surrounding views to perfection.  Last winter was very cold and the lake froze, probably something that only happens about every ten years.  Wonder what this years winter will bring.  The nearest town is Keswick a popular tourist destination., perhaps the sender of this card in September 1904 lived there.
No clues from the message "Thanks for the PC Sydney was so pleased. I am going to write to Auntie in a day or two. Hope you are all well. With love JR"  How often cards promise further correspondence, the art of procrastination.   

Monday 8 November 2010

Yew Tree Farm

Yew Tree Farm near Coniston must be a favourite of postcard publishers for its picture appears throughout the seasons, perhaps at a different angle, but on numerous cards through the decades. It is picturesque with white painted walls, the hills in the background and the old spinning gallery on the left.  Its fame may be even greater now for it stood in for Beatrix Potter's home in the film "Miss Potter" starring Rene Zellweger.  She did own this farm, as she did many in the area (which were occupied by tenant farmers), but her actual home was at Hill Top.  Impossible for the film company to use for it is now a museum to all things Peter Rabbit and friends and Potter's life,  plus perhaps not quite as pretty as Yew Tree Farm. 

The coat of arms on this card is a puzzle. Before government reorganisation this place used to be in Lancashire so a white rose, the symbol of Yorkshire, would seem out of place. I'll have to see if I can spot the other symbols anywhere else in the area.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Åland Sailing

One of the places I would love to visit are the Aland Islands in the Baltic Sea so how great to receive this card of the Birka Line ship the M/S Prinsessen whose passenger route was from Mariehamn, Åland to Stockholm. This is one of the Åland Post Office cards of their stamps, a painting by Hàkan Sjòstròm which appeared on the €3.50 stamp.  This ship started life in 1957 as a DFDS Lines' Prinsesse Margrethe and bought by Birka as their first ship in 1971 for the short distance route between Sweden and  Åland and named Prinsessen. This was a ship that couldn't keep a name for it was renamed again in 1977 when Birka Lines wanted their new ship to bear the Prinsessen name so it became the Prinsen.  It carried 1,208 passengers and 35 cars but it working life came to an end in 1987 when it was scrapped, but it lives again in this fine painting.

The card came with, a very lightly franked stamp, celebrating the autumn in

Torronsuo National Park, Finland. I do like the map showing its location.  This is an area in a near natural state of a raised bog, an important habitat for birds and insects. I know a little about raised bogs because there are small ones near me in England, but nothing on the scale of this Finnish one of 985 square miles. Plants that like acidic conditions thrive in these places, heather, cotton grass and sphagnum mosses eventually die and add to the deep peat conditions. By coincidence I had seen a postcard on 9TEEN87's postcard blog of a very similar scene in Torronsuo here. He helpfully mentioned a word I had not heard of before in connection with this area of, ombrotrophic, which means an area where water arrives cloud-fed (mist and rain) rather than by rivers or streams.

My Snowfriend sender tells me that these are beautiful autumn days in Helsinki at the moment. Thank you for this lovely card.

Monday 1 November 2010

St Anna Church, Verl

A pretty black and white church, dappled shade on a sunny day and a clock about to strike the hour. A harmonious card. My sender likes living in the town of Verl and  thinks its church of St Anna is beautiful. It is indeed.. Built by the Viennese architect Von Hohenberg in 1792 it is considered one of the outstanding places of this small town in Germany.
The card travelled for 570 miles (820k) and took 6 days. Thank you Andreas.