Sunday 28 January 2018


1968: Paintings by Van Gogh
Where better to start than with a postman and thanks to Vincent Van Gogh his name lives on, Joseph Roulin. Van Gogh loved to paint portraits but he could not afford to pay anyone to sit for him however the Roulin family in Arles were happy to do so for nothing and in exchange Vincent gave each family member one of the numerous paintings he made of them; worth more than money I think.  From a yellow background to
a yellow jacket worn by Joseph Roulin's eldest son Armand who at the time of the painting was aged 17.
1980: Flags of Member Nations (1st Series) - Yugoslavia
Here is a flag that does not flutter in the wind anymore when the nations of this part of the world were joined under the one flag of Yugoslavia.  The various nations featured individually on
1957: Yugoslav Costumes (1st Series)
Yugoslavia's series of stamps featuring national costumes. This scene above shows a Croatian family of shepherds
1961: Yugoslav Costumes (2nd series)
and here are some Macedonians dancing into the stamp to the sound of a drum. At first I was unsure of the significance of the dates 1941-1961 but 1941was the date the Nazi's invaded Yugoslavia (the April War) when the Royal Yugoslav Army collapsed and the king and several ministers fled into exile.  I discovered that 1941 was also important for the forming of the first partisan battalions and resistance to the occupying armies, a date search revealed there were medals awarded to the armed forces in 1961 to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Yugoslav People's Army (the founding of the Partisan Army).

The stamp designer is Zdenka Sertić (1899-1986), artist and ethnographer who produced a number of folkloric stamp series for Yugoslavia and her nephew has produced a beautifully illustrated page of her work here (the English translation is at the bottom).

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter Y -  for Yemen, Yugoslavia and yellow - See It On A Postcard

Saturday 27 January 2018

Riding Into The Sky

Here we are in the French Alps watching the Tour de France as the riders toil up the tarmac. The postcard gives no details on the back but I think this is the 'Col du Galibier' (2,645 metres; 8,678 ft) one of the classic climbs of the Tour which Andy Schleck once described as like "riding into the sky".  The 2011 Tour climbed the Col du Galibier twice to celebrate the centenary of the first appearance of the pass in the race and Andy Schleck won the summit stage finish after an amazing 60k solo breakaway.  The tour leader in yellow featured on the postcard I think is Miguel Indurain which would put the date as some time in the 1990s when 'Big Mig' won the tour for a record five times.

The spectators are enjoying the fresh mountain air while the riders are just trying to gasp some down.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Mountains - reach the heights at Connections to the World

Sunday 21 January 2018


2015: Åland Post at the Turku Postage Stamp and Card Exhibition
Look up and there is an X sweeping across the sky
on Åland's Exhibition Maximum Card from Turku, Finland, although the postmark is the Swedish name - Åbo - which had me fooled for a while. The watercolour painting by Tord Nygren I think is of the Samppalinna windmill built in 1859-61 on a hill which today is part of a Sports Park. I imagine the person who is standing on the platform is having a great view.  Once there were many small mills in Turku but Samppalinna was the largest, built for an industrial scale of milling flour and is the only remaining windmill in Turku.  The artist's view does not show the lower part of the windmill which is where the miller once lived.

From sweeping blades to sweeping changes and
1968: Anniversaries - Women's Suffrage (Design: Clive Abbott)
the right for women to put an X on a voting form in Britain. Here is one of the most famous British fighters for the right, Emmeline Pankhurst, which shows her statue in Victoria Gardens, London. Stamp design is by Clive Abbott (1933-2008) who worked for an amazing 60 different postal administrations.

You may notice by the date on the above stamp that the 100th anniversary of the right to vote is this year and Royal Mail will be issuing a stamp set to mark the occasion but not until next month alas for my Sunday Stamps post!

Sunday Stamps II prompt is the Letter X - exit to See it On A Postcard 

Friday 19 January 2018


I've chosen this aerial view for the gardens it shows as they follow a line between the outer ramparts of Vanne's city walls and the blue ribbon of the little river , La Marle. These formal gardens of paths, flowers and topiary look a beautiful place to stroll.

In the foreground is what the postcard calls the old artillery school which I presume it was at some point, but the tourist brochures call it the Castle of L'Hermine which was transformed from a castle into a palace for the Dukes of Brittany in the 17th Century,  It forms part of the rampart walls, further along is the Connétable's Tower erected in the 15th Century and used as a fortification as well as a private residence. The tower is named in honour of Arthur de Richemont, Duke of Brittany (1392-1458) who was Constable (Connétable) of France from 1425-1458.  A modern statue of him on horseback stands outside Vannes Town Hall, he is buried in Nantes Cathedral.

Postcard's for the Weekend theme of - aerial views - look over at Connections to the World

Sunday 14 January 2018

West Indies

1997: Anniversary of Caribbean Integration Movement and 18th CARICOM Heads of Govt Conference
This week I'm heading to the Caribbean and the West Indies with this handy map and some coastal scenery with the waves rolling in.  Lets see some more watery views
1938-1952: Definitives
one also feature bananas which must be heading for the ship on the horizon and Priestman's River, Portland, Jamaica, one of the many rivers which dot the coastline.
1977: Easter Water Parade (Designer - G Drummond)
Something more active on show at the Water Skiing Exhibition.
1973: Carriacou Regatta (Designer - G Drummond)
Speed is of the essence at the long running Carriacou Regatta, a three day event which takes place in the first week of August described as "wooden boat racing at its best" with all classes of locally built boats taking part.  The work boats of Carriacou evolved to become fast sloops for fishing and trade and although originally these were the ones taking part in the regatta today boats are often built specifically for the race.
c1975: Local Views Definitive (Designer - G Drummond)
but here are some of the working fishing boats. I wonder what they may catch today?
1938-1947: Defintives
Perhaps the rather misleadingly named Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) which is not related to dolphins and actually a surface dwelling ray-finned fish.
Time to head for the beach and chill out.

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter W - here for West Indies, Water and Wood - wiz over to See It On A Postcard

Friday 12 January 2018

Snowy View

Long shadows and a low sun glistening on the icy sheen of snow in Lapland.  Eeva tells me that this is how Lapland looks late winter/early spring when the sun is shining and starts to melt the snow in daytime.   What a wonderful view of the snaking river in the valley below or perhaps it is the melting ice patterns of a lake. With their narrow skis I wonder if the couple taking in the scenery are cross-country skiers?  I've always rather fancied trying this and imagine the beautiful snowy stillness with just the swoosh and crunch of skies as one moves through the landscape although I think  I would have to go into a whole lot of fitness training before attempting it.

For more winter views chill out at Connections to the World

Sunday 7 January 2018


2013 Europa: The Postman's Van
 Here is the post setting off from Vatican City. There are more letters sent from its postcode than any other postcode in the world.  Lets spin the globe to see the post delivered
Official Stamps - 1966: Rural Services
to a more rural setting, one might say bucolic with the buffalo and rice fields were it not for the fact that we are in the middle of the Vietnam war.   To more peaceful times
1977: Veiltailed Goldfish
just the sound of fish swimming and in this case they are veiltailed goldfish, a highly sought after fish for the enthusiast but very delicate and difficult to breed.
1990: Goldfish
and they seem to be a popular with the Vietnam post.  For some reason I have accumulated a lot of fish stamps for Vietnam, no idea how, so here is another goldfish from the same goldfish set
this time a Celestial Goldfish. I thought its name might be from those gorgeous combination of colours but no it is the eyes which look up and skyward.  When they are born the eyes start to gradually protrude and then turn upwards.   They have very poor eyesight so wouldn't see this coming -
1988: Snakes
the beautiful green of of a Pope's Pit Viper. They live in mountain forests and coastal rainforests and can be found hanging over streams and bushes. They are nocturnal as is
this pointed scale pit viper.  This viper lives in mountainous or cultivated areas and frequently found in abandoned houses or log piles. Both are venomous but the pointed scale pit viper is very bad tempered.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the letter V - here for Vatican, Vietnam, Vehicle, Veiltailed, Viper and Venomous - for a variety of stamps See It On A Postcard.

Thursday 4 January 2018

World Braille Day

2002: Centenary of Swiss Assn of the Blind and Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired
World Braille Day is an annual celebration of Louise Braille and his invention of a tactile written language for the blind which takes place on his  birthday - 4 January.  This Swiss FDC commemorates the Centenary of the Swiss National Assn of the Blind and Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  The designer Sandra Di Salvo's intention was for the stamp to have high sensory impact as a bold red square but more importantly that the braille reader's  touch would understand the denomination before a sighted person sees the number 70.  I'll use Swiss Post's augmented scan of the stamp below
but in reality the number is more subtle being only a slightly deeper red than the background and the braille raised dots are the first thing one sees.  Curious about how the braille number 70 is formed?  Well here are its three parts that make the whole -
The first country to issue a stamp with braille 'dots' was Brazil in 1974 for the 5th World Council for Welfare of the Blind held in Sao Paulo.  In the early 20th Century Switzerland was the first country to exempt the blind from paying postage.  These letters are now known as Cécogrammes.