Sunday 30 December 2012

Happy New Year

Pooches packed into a car posting their airmail letter and wishing you all A Happy New Year.   This pre-stamped card was sent to me last year and is one of Japan's New Year lottery cards (two numbers on the back) where you can win trips, electrical goods and of course sheets of stamps. They do the same with New Year stamps.  There are an enormous number of letters and cards sent at this time of year.   

At the corner of 100 Acre Wood a little bear is cogitating  "I wonder what Piglet is doing thought Pooh I wish I was there doing it too"
Hurray, Pooh Bear's wish has come true and he and Piglet having fun with their dragon kite on this postcard stamp.  To make up the postage Noriko also attached
one of the Flower definitives showing an Asiatic Honey Bee (Apis cerana) which likes to nest in small spaces such as tree trunks. It produces small honey yields  but their beeswax is used in natural medicine to treat and heal wounds. Winnie-the-Pooh perhaps would be more interested in eating honey than applying it...

“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” 

Japan issued their first New Year Greeting stamp in 1935 featuring Mount Fuji and the Imperial Chrysanthemum Seal at the top, I think the other flowers are cherry blossom.  They issued New Year stamps again in 1936 but that was the end of that until 1948 and then another gap until 1951 since when they have issued a stamp every year, nowadays usually more than on featuring the year's animal from the Lunar Calendar.

such as this from 2012 which I found on the net with an example of the lottery tab attached.

Wishing you all A Happy New Year

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Nomad and Postbox

Salthouse Road, Barrow in Furness
 It has been unremitting rain here, not a sign of snow. If I walk to town I'll pass this postbox but opposite there are usually cars parked by the boat, but on this snowy day a winter ago only the boat was there.  It was an opportunity I had waited for, click went my camera.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season

Sunday 23 December 2012

Christmas Cheer for Sunday Stamps

Christmas 2012
In the dark of winter the Stable Lamp of the Finnish stamp shines out surrounded by snow. Brrr. Time to come indoors and admire the fully decked Christmas tree. Ever inventive this comes in a sheet of 20 with a special folds so it stands upright like a miniature Christmas tree, see it illustrated on Stamp Collecting Blog.
Both stamps designed by the Turku based Nina Rintala, her third set of stamps for Posti.

Travelling to the Åland Islands and the designer Minna Immonen says she was inspired by the sea but with a Christmas feel.   Is that little elf receiving or setting sail with the parcel?  My sender, Eeva, has sent the stamp with its gutter attached and those cute robins on the cracker.  They make another appearance on one of the this years Christmas seals (also designed by Minna Immonen)
Each year Åland choose a charity to benefit from the sale of seals and this year it is for children and families with cancer.
Eeva tells me that they have had a long and wet autumn but now the snow has arrived so why not join these two for a ski or perhaps a skate on the ice and then return home

hang up scarves, hat and skates and settle down for a hot drink. The Finns are one of the greatest coffee drinkers in the world.  I hope I'm getting a pastry which apparently they like to dip in their light roast coffee.  The cup and sugar bowl are from the 2011 Kaj Franck Centenary, pottery which can be found in almost every Finnish home.

 I will  finish with a stamp from a set featuring carols, songs that brighten up the darkness of winter but from a place where they sing them in the summer
2001: Christmas Carols (When Christ was born of Mary Free)
 The Susquehanne Chorale sing a pretty arrangement of of the carol featured on the stamp.

 Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme - Christmas or Holiday Stamps


Sunday 16 December 2012

Island In The Sun

I only have three Christmas Island stamps and happily they fit this week's Sunday Stamps perfectly. The first features a Robber Crab doing what its name suggests and going for that Christmas parcel. Are those its gleeful offspring?  Robber Crabs are the largest species of land crab in the world, so no arguing over that present.
Next, my favourite, a Frigatebird puffing up its pouch and its friend the starfish, although in real life I suspect the latter may be a tasty snack.  There are five types of Frigatebird and the Christmas Island species is the rarest. Some of its breeding colonies were polluted some decades ago by phosphate mining but today it faces a smaller but deadlier threat. The accidental introduction of the yellow crazy ant which is killing the island's native red crab, a major food source for the bird.
 Lastly the Golden Bosunbird, unique to Christmas Island,  sits on a flowery parcel.  Christmas Island is home to a large number of seabirds and despite being the peak of an underwater mountain it is large enough to have developed its own ecosystem.

All the stamps were designed by Rob Kiely.  This year the post have gone with a different designer and a Father Christmas theme, although our friend the Frigatebird still puts in an appearance see here.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of Christmas or Holiday Stamps

Sunday 9 December 2012

A Garden of a 100 Views

Unbelievably there have been ONE HUNDRED weeks of Sunday Stamps, how did that time go so fast.  We have almost been through the seasons twice so in celebration here is the passing of years in the stamps showing the
Quxi Tower in the Spring
Li Yuan Gardens of Suzhou, which are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city of Suzhou is most famous for two things, its many canals and the gardens.  The gardens history can be traced back to the 6th Century BC but the real growth was from the 11th to 19th Century and the city's rise to  prosperity from the 16th to 18th century resulted in as many as 200 gardens being created.  The plum blossom festival in February and early March is considered one of the most beautiful times to visit.

This is the largest of the gardens covering about 6 or 10 acres (depending which description you read) and was first commissioned in 1593 during the Ming Dynasty but when it was bought by Liu Su in 1798 he added many elements of trees, bamboo groves, stones  and rock constructions.  For this reason the garden acquired a nickname of the Lingering Gardens, Liu Yuan -  a play on Liu Su's name.
Yuancui Pavilion in the Summer
Chinese gardens like this are known for their delicate design of hills, ponds, terraces, towers and represent a microcosm of the world, a landscape in miniature. The gardens of Suzhou have been called an earthly paradise.
Hanbi Shanfung in the Autumn
 The Lingering Gardens have the most building of all the gardens in Suzhou and the western area is considered most beautiful in autumn with the artificial hills covered with maple trees which shade the pavilions in summer and turn a rosy red in autumn.
Guanyun Peak in the Winter
It rarely snows in Suzhou and its winters tend to the damp but the stamp designer shows it under snow which always makes a winter garden's structure look beautiful. The town is famous for making a winter wine of osmanthus which sells out quickly in December so even if it does not snow perhaps you can listen to the rain dripping on the leaves while sipping your glass in the pavilion.

The designer of this set of stamps is Sun Chusnzhe who was born in 1915  and has created 150 sets of stamps, his first issued in 1947  so an appropriate record breaker for number 100 of Sunday Stamps.    

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps celebration of reaching 100


Sunday 2 December 2012

On The Road

Grab the wheel and take the ride from Bluff on South Island to the North Cape at the end of the North Auckland Peninsula but drive safely and don't run down any hobbits we need them on the cinema screens. This stamp was issued in 1964 in support of National Accident Free Day and is one of New Zealand's first stamps to address a social issue.  
So where shall I go next I can't see my destination on the Bluff signpost but I'm heading to Europe
1973: Road Safety
and to Hungary who also want to keep their roads safe.  The message in the 60f  is "Not Even A Glass" which is similar to our "Don't Drink and drive" message.  The 40f message is "Lets Be Friends".  The other stamp of the set, which I don't have, features a car and a cyclist.   Both stamps were designed by Sándor Légrády (1906-1987) who after designing over a hundred stamps had a stamp posthumously dedicated to him in 2006.  And finally the next stamp
1979: Road Safety
is of a speeding car out of control design by E. Aniskin. The Russian не злоупотребляите скоростю translates in Google as "speed is not abused" which I guess must mean  "Don't Speed"

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme - "Stamps with a Message" or