Sunday 30 April 2017

Royal Costumes

1963: National Symbols
Queen Nefertiti has appeared on many Egyptian stamps and I'm presuming the hieroglyphs are her name but then have little knowledge of  hieroglyphs at all but it must be one of the most beautiful of the written languages.
1973-79 Definitives (Engraver and Designer Czeslaw Slania)
Another queen, but this time of Denmark, Queen Margrethe, who is also the Queen of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The stamp shows her at the age of 33 in Greenland's national costume and as the queen is an accomplished artist the crowned monograph is one she designed herself. 
1997: Queen Margrethe of Denmark. 25 Years
Here she is on a commemorative sheet of the Faroe Islands this time in Faroese national costume.  Each year she and her husband sail on a summer cruise to visit these northern islands mostly on the royal yacht 'Dannebrog' (which is named after the flag of Denmark).  Built in the early 1930s and with an overhaul in the 1980s it is still in fine shape to travel Danish waters following in the tradition of her sailor father
1950: Definitive (Design: Viggo Bang Engraver: Bent Jacobsen)
King Frederik IX who was educated at the Danish Royal Naval Academy and served in the Danish navy for many years and famously had many tattoos from his time at sea.
1964-68 Defintives (Designer and Engraver: Czeslaw Slania)
Here he is in a traditional Greenlandic anorak.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II - Kings and Queens - be royally entertained at See It On A Postcard.


Saturday 29 April 2017

Rivers in Season

An autumnal day with the mist lying on the fells obscuring them from view and the peat bog lying brown and benign above the waterfall, unless the unwary walker treads in the wrong place. This wet area gives rise to three rivers including the River Eden of which Hell Gill Force is its first large waterfall as it starts its journey dropping through a limestone gorge.  Like many rivers the Eden forms a boundary and this is one between the counties of Cumbria and Yorkshire.
What is nicer than an amble along a river on a summer's day? Here is the River Dove in Derbyshire where I suspect there must be a large car park nearby from the crowds of people taking pleasure from the day in all in one spot.  This is a Dennis postcard, a company who are credited with being the first producers of postcards in Britain (1894), but of course we are way down the line from that date.  They started to produce 'Photocolour' cards (of which this is one) in the 1960s and there is no doubt that our river walkers look to be from that era.  

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Any Water Form - splash around at Connections to the World 

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