Friday 30 September 2016

Sheep Gathering

Sheep gathering in Skidadalur, North West Iceland
Autumn is the time for sheep gathering in Iceland and this postcard shows the farmers in the Skidadalur valley on their horses,  I can't spot the sheepdogs but perhaps they are still trying to get the sheep to go over the hill.

Icelandic sheep are kept under cover from November to May and set free in the mountain pastures a few weeks after lambing when they will enjoy the summer grazing on grass which will be spotted with sedge, willow, thrift and campions.  Their mountain idyll will be interrupted by the roundup, in Icelandic called réttir.  Everyone gets involved, as the sheep will be scattered far and wide and need to be maneuvered down steep hillsides and over mountain streams, this will take about a week with overnight stays in mountain huts.  The sheep have distinctive ear markings which identify which farmer they belong to and when they are all eventually herded to their destination will be sorted into pens by these markings.  Many more people will appear on the last day of the sorting to take part in the celebrations of the end of sheep gathering for the year, part of the Icelandic cultural heritage.  One can imagine those early Viking settlers who brought the first sheep all those centuries ago doing the same thing.

 Postcards for the Weekend theme - Domesticated Animals - enjoy more at Connections to the World 

Sunday 25 September 2016

Colours from Guernsey

1994: Europa - European Discoveries
A gorse fire on Guernsey in 1972 led to the rediscovery of Les Fouaillages, an ancient burial ground some 7000 years old. On investigation the site contained clues of what had happened over all those ancient times, from the arrival of the first farmers to the sand wave which engulfed the area 900 years ago.   They also discovered that when the original burial chamber was sealed a wooden structure had been built on top.
The stamps show anticlockwise from the bottom left  24p - the site as it is now and would have been. 30p - some of the most significant finds; the pots from c4,500BC, arrowheads from 2,500BC and a polished stone axe whose date lies somewhere in the middle of that period which I suppose shows the continual occupation of the site.  The warrior whose burial is featured was put to rest clothed in a woven material and accompanied by his sword, spear, shield, knife and bronze rings. The second 30p value depicts some of those artifacts.  The last 24p stamp shows the warrior in full flight as envisioned by the stamp designer Miranda Schofield, one of whose areas of expertise is the illustration of archaeological finds. While trying to find information about her (largely unsuccessful) I discovered there used to be something called the Ancient Monuments Drawing Office, one of the organisations we have to thank for illustrating historical sites and finds.  In modern times with the advent of the digital age this tends to be done by the excavating group. 

I liked those flashes of yellow on Miranda Schofield's stamps but for a more all over effect here are some flowers
1993: Guernsey Flowers
 and appropriate for this time of year, a spray of chrysanthemum.  Happily this set of 'Guernsey Flowers' also includes an orange one
the wonderfully named Enchantment Lily. Apart from being enchanting to look at it must be an enchantment for gardeners for it will grow in any soil, is hardy and easy to grow.  The stamps are by Guernsey's long time favourite for flower stamps, painter and illustrator Roger Gorringe. 

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Orange and/or Yellow - colour your day at See It On A Postcard

Saturday 24 September 2016

Autumn in Ontario

Another lake this week but here the 'Postcard for the Weekend' is enjoying the Fall in Canada. This, the most populous province of Canada, has many lakes but takes its name from Lake Ontario, known by the Huron Nation as the Lake of Shining Waters, in the Huron language - ontarío.

The reflective view shows a slight ripples in the water as perhaps a gentle zephyr blows across the lake rustling the leaves, some floating silently through the air to the ground.  I was told as a child if you catch a falling leaf you can make a wish.  Not as easy as it sounds.

Maria asks the participants of this meme about Autumn light and the colours in our own countries.  Like the card I think the best time to see the colours is on a blue sky day when they seem to sing.  The light will start to slant as the year advances and the northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun, lighting things in a different way.  For me the season has a rhythm of colour.  One of the roads that leads into the town where I live is tree lined and those are the trees where the branches will start to change colour first, this year in August.  For autumn's end I always visit the Rusland beeches, trees lining a twisting sheltered valley road whose colour will be vivid and are always the last to change colour in November.  Autumn's encore.

Postcards for the Weekend theme this week is Fall Colour see the season at Connections to the World

    Weekend Linky Party:

Sunday 18 September 2016

Nuts and Berries

2014: Winter Poetry
The trees and hedgerows are heavy with autumn fruits at the moment and this FDC celebrates those that will brighten the countryside and feed the birds as winter approaches.  Denmark Post and the designer Martin Mörck have came up with the evocative title of 'Winter Poetry'.
Those colours that will brighten the Danish winter are, an ornamental bush in gardens and a hedgerow plant, the snowberry.  Small pink flowers from July- September turn into berries that are what are described as "mildly poisonous" to humans.  Next are the lingonberry which  mainly grow in North and West Jutland has small flowers in June that develop into berries and ripen in summer remaining until the first winter frost. That is if they haven't been made into jam.  Lastly is the firethorn or pyracantha loved by birds and a step up from 'mildly poisonous' to 'slightly poisonous' to humans although actually it is the seeds that cause the problem.

As you have guessed I am counting berries as fruits and am not sure of the difference but there is no doubt the next stamp contains nuts
in the coconut trees appearing on Ceylon's definitive stamp. 
1954: Definitive
The King Coconut known as Thembili  in Sri Lanka is indigenous to the country and sweeter than the familiar coconut and, as can be seen, is an orange colour.  There are different varieties but it is know by Sri Lankan's  as a "living pharmacy" its water being especially wonderful. Sri Lanka does not export a lot of king coconuts as eighty percent of them are consumed in the country itself.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Fruit and Nuts - more tasty treats on See It On A Postcard

Saturday 17 September 2016

Wild Flower

A lake like glass, not a ripple in the summer sunshine and a wild flower growing where least expected.  Perhaps the perfect place to sit on a rock while cooling ones feet in the water and gazing in quiet contemplation across to the trees on the other shore in the land of a thousand lakes, Finland.   I think the flower is loosestrife which loves damp places.

Maria's Postcards for the Weekend theme of Flowers where more bloom here

Sunday 11 September 2016

Worshipful Places

1938: Tourist Propaganda
Norway's medieval stave churches always look as though they are part of a fairy tale and this one at Borgund is no exception, considered the best preserved (but not the oldest) it dates from 1150. 
1961: Tourist Publicity
Built on a far grander scale but one could say with the same stacking instinct Borabudur Temple in Java  has nine stacking platforms topped with a central dome which is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues.  The world's largest Buddhist temple it was built during the 9th Century and is a UNESCO  World Heritage Site.  Indonesia's most visited tourist attraction it is also a site of pilgrimage once a year at Vesak (Buddha's birthday and enlightenment).
1946: Views
Another pilgrimage site is Roc-Amadour in the Lot area of France where it sits above a gorge of a tributary of the Dordogne River, the churches and cathedral being at the top of the hill above the town.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site it is also part of the St James' Pilgrimage Way.
1949-52: Archaeology Definitives
For pure scale travel to the ancient capital of the Kallinga Empire, Bhubaneswar where there are a myriad of Hindu temples spanning the centuries.  The one portrayed on the stamp is the 11th Century Lingaraj temple, the most prominent landmark of the city at 180 ft (55m) tall and a major tourist attraction.  The largest festival celebrated here is Maha Shivaratri, which unusually is celebrated at night, the translation of the name is  "The Great Night of Shiva".  The stamp is from one of India's first set of definitives issued after independence which featured archaeological monuments from the country's historical and cultural history.  This particular denomination would have been used on air mail postcards.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Worshipful Places - visit them At See It On A Postcard


Saturday 10 September 2016

Dive In

This vibrant sunny scene could be the perfect way to celebrate summer as it fades into autumn. It just makes one want to head over for a swim, I especially like the group in a circle to the right.  Perhaps they are training as part of the 'aquacades' shows that used to be put on here in past times to packed crowds.

The poster was painted by the watercolour artist Frank Sherwin (1896-1985).  As can be seen, the text says it is the "new luxury swimming pool" in the seaside town of Morecambe, the poster is from 1936 the year the open air pool or lido opened.  Morecambe at the time was trying to outdo their larger neighboring seaside resort, Blackpool, so note the "Britain's Most Modern and Progressive Resort" statement on the card. The railway company encouraging people to travel there is the LMS (London, Midland and Scottish) whose chairman (Sir Josiah Stamp) also officially opened the lido in 1936. At a size of 396ft (112m) x 110ft (33.5m) it was generally called the Super Swimming Stadium, open seven days a week and floodlit at night.  I won't bore you with the statistics but the fact there was 5.5 miles of piping did blow my mind. Built of concrete and bricks in a very quick time a problem occurred early on with a leak on the sea wall that let sea water into the pool at high tide and let water escaped at low tide which was never totally cured.

There used to be hundreds of lidos all over England but Morecambe met the fate of many of them being demolished in the 1970s  and the 19th century Central Pier in the background of the painting which had been fitted with a new 2000 seat ballroom pavilion in 1936 fell victim to the usual hazards of piers - fire and rot and was demolished in 1992.  Happily there is still one pier left in Morecambe and as that is built of sturdy stone I think that one will last.   

An entry to 'Postcards for the Weekend' theme - Bright Colours - be dazzled at Connections to the World       

Sunday 4 September 2016

Beatrix Potter

This year saw the commemoration of the birth of Beatrix Potter with a set of stamps and miniature sheet from Royal Mail.  Beatrix lived in the southern part of the Lake District so the FDC postmark of Coniston is the nearest to her home of Hill Top Farm and also the farm, Yew Tree, shown on the cover which must be the most photographed farm in the Lake District;  twirl around any postcard whirligig and you'll usually find it somewhere.  A keen naturalist and breeder of sheep the income from Beatrix Potter's books allowed her to invest in farmland and she bought 15 farms in total, one of which was Yew Tree Farm.  The famous old spinning gallery of the farm is hidden under her portrait but it can be seen here.  When Beatrix Potter died she left all her farms and 4 thousand acres of land to the National Trust, a charity that preserves and  protects historic places and spaces for future generations to enjoy. 

Here are the little characters Beatrix Potter created as loved today as they were then
 Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle
 Squirrel Nutkin and Jemima Puddle Duck
Tom Kitten and Benjamin Bunny
The story of each stamp can be seen on the GB Stamps site here

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Commemorative stamps - see more at   See It On A Postcard

Saturday 3 September 2016

Minne Monochrome

The Belgium artist George Minne (1866-1941) is more familiar as sculptor but here is a postcard featuring one of the four woodcuts that were used to illustrate his friend the poet Emile Verhaeren's collection called Les Villages Illusoires (The Illusory Villages) in 1895.  Minne's illustrations from this decade were influenced by medieval woodcuts and also the book designs of the the English artists Aubrey Beardsley and Edward Burne-Jones. 

Everything you might ever want to know about George Minne can be found on this website 

I'm joining Maria's Linky Lauch of 'Postcards for The Weekend' at Connections to the World - an invitation to all postcard lovers to share their cards - this week's theme is - Monochrome