Sunday 31 March 2019

Flag Waving

1983: Nordic House, Tórshavn (Design - B Jákupsson)
Nordic flags flying over national costumes.  Thanks to the Wikipedia page showcasing the artist Bárður Jákupsson's stamps I can identify the costumes from left to right as - Greenland, Sweden, Iceland; Saami, Denmark, Aland; Norway, Faroe Islands and Finland.  In the year the stamps were issued, 1983, the Nordic House initiative (promoting Nordic culture), opened in Tórshavn this fascinating building which used materials from all the Nordic countries in its construction can be seen here.  
A grey day in Greenland but their flag certainly brightens up the roof tops and it is the only national flag of the Nordic countries without a Nordic cross but uses the same colour combination as the Danish flag which is often flown by its side.
1989: 10th Anniversary of Home Rule in Greenland (Design - Claus Achton Friis)
The creator of the Greenland flag said the white stripe represents the Greenland glaciers and ice cap, the red stripe the ocean and the semicircle the sun setting into the sea.  Lets set sail
1979: The Voyage of Odin's Raven
with Manx and Norwegian flag flying on a replica Viking longboat called Odin's Raven which sailed from Norway to the Isle of Man in May 1979. The voyage was not uneventful and included a capsize off the coast of the Isle of Skye. The crew consisted of 11 people from the Isle of Man and 5 from Norway and I imagine they would have gained a great respect for those early Viking voyagers who even made it to Newfoundland but not
1981: Australia Day
as far as Australia.  I'm guessing the stamp's running cancel is connected to the then forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982. Time to run up to the top of a hill
1966: Scouting
to semaphore a message.
1959: International Letter Writing Week (Design - Adam Cziglenyi)
but I know that this would be the preferred means of communication for our little community.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the letter F - here for Flags and Faroe Islands - for more fly over to See It On A Postcard


Sunday 24 March 2019

Where Eagles Fly

1983: Birds of Prey
An Eastern Imperial Eagle with its large clear eyes and projecting brows gazes from its perch somewhere in Hungary. With a wingspan of 6-7ft (1.8-2.16m) it would be impossible to miss in the skies although it is a species on the red list and designated as 'vulnerable' so perhaps one would have to travel to the North Hungarian Mountains and, only if lucky, see it soar among the peaks.
The Lesser Spotted Eagle is an unusual bird of prey in that it hunts its diet of frogs, mice and insects on foot and can be seen prowling in lightly wooded areas.
1983: Birds of Prey (Design - Szucs Erzsébet)
although the postmark is a very satisfactory swooping eagle
2001:Birds of Prey
The wedge taled eagle is Australia's largest bird of prey and one of the largest eagles in the world with a wing span of 6ft - 7ft 7in and is reported to be able to fly tirelessly for hours on end soaring high in the skies of Australia, Tasmania and Papua New Guinea at altitudes of 2000 metres and has even been recorded as high as 6,800 metres above the ground. On the stamp it has decidedly got its feet on the ground or rather a fluffy bunny, its common meal of choice.
1969: Legend (Design - J Rosing: Engraver - Cz Slania)
Eagles have featured in the legends of many cultures and this stamp features a Greenland legend called 'The Girl and the Eagle'. The blog 'Slania Crazy' was unable to find any telling of the story and I have drawn a blank also so all I can do is gaze at the stamp, see the rope in her hand, the stern gaze of the eagle and the vista from a high peak.  The stamp was the 5th in an occasional one stamp issue on the theme of Greenland Legends issued from 1957-1969.

Now you may have noticed I haven't found any eagles with wings unfurled so will have to
1975: Winter Olympics, Innsbruck, Austria 1976
go off piste and watch one about to swoop on a bobsleigh team.  The poster featured on the stamp is from the first ever Winter Olympics in Chamonix, 1924 and serendipitously this stamp gives me three Es all in one.

The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter E - here for Eagle, Equatorial Guinea and ekuele - swoop over for more Es at  See It On A Postcard

Sunday 17 March 2019


1986: Dodo Carnival
The Dodo Carnival is a tradition of wearing animal masks and dancing though the villages of Burkina Faso which sounds like a fun day out. The Dodo legend originated in Nigeria and was introduced into Burkina Faso by traders. The story goes that a man during the Friday of Ramadan went hunting, which is forbidden, and killed an animal. He was punished by being transformed into a man with an animal head but his village did not shun him but tried to gain mercy from the gods by dance and there it is on the stamp.
1950-52 Airmail
More dressing up but here for the Dance of the Half Moon
1970: Visit Indonesia - Traditional Dances (Design: Soerosa)
For something prettier turn to Timor dancers who can make their own music.
1982: Europa - British Theatre (Design (Adrian George)
Or perhaps a floaty ballet dress. The designer Adrian George won an international award for this set and also Most Beautiful Stamp in the World which I would guess was for this ballerina
1959-1965: Copenhagen Music and Ballet Festivals (Design - H Thelander; Engraver - B Jacobsen)

Another ballerina dances into view and the stamp features Margrethe Schanne in her most iconic role, from the one act ballet Les Sylphides which she danced over 100 times including her farewell performance for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1966. She was also the first living Dane (apart from the Royal family) to appear on a Danish stamp.  The music for Les Sylphides is Chopin but if you prefer Tchaikovsky
1993: Death Centenary of Pyotr Tchaikovsky (Design - Riess)
then maybe take a trip to see Swan Lake or perhaps it is showing on a television set somewhere but of a much larger size than this one -
2000: The 20th Century Issue 3 (Design - Keith Bassford; Engraver - Martin Morck)
Is this a comment on women's roles in the 1950s?  The theme is communications and Arena was a Danish producer of radio and television sets started by Ove Heath Nielsen in the corner of his father's bicycle factory but grew to become the largest supplier of televisions in Denmark in the late 1950s.  Today its place is in the Industrial Museum in Horsens where the factory was located.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter D - here for Denmark, Dodo and Dance - See It On A Postcard

Sunday 10 March 2019


1967: International Tourist Year (Design - Cyril Bouda)
Time to take a city break and visit historic Brno. On the left is the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul on Petrov Hill which dominates the skyline and I think the building in the middle is the Town Hall clock tower. There sure are a lot of spires which I observe stamp designers particularly enjoy drawing. In this instance the designer is the illustrator and artist Cyril Bouda (1901-1984) whose own postal design life was celebrated on a stamp in 1989.  To cheat a little bit with a stamp I do not own here is a piece of Bouda's art
and who would not want to sit outside the Sans-Souci Bar in Nimes and enjoy a coffee or something stronger.
1961: Centenary of the City of Setúbal (Design - Candido da Costa Pinto)
If one wanted to combine the pleasure of city within reach of sandy beaches and a harbour front then travel to Setúbal on the Sado River Estuary and perhaps watch a pod of dolphins play nearby. The stamp features the city's coat of arms.
1994: The 1200th Anniversary of Frankfurt (Design - Ernst Kößlinger)
 Here the designer gets to combine old and new with both towers and skyscrapers in Frankfurt.
2003: German Cities (Design - Fiedler)
The beautiful facades of Görlitz town houses in Altstadt make an appearance on this German stamp.  In 1945 Görlitz had survived the destruction of the war but the redrawing of boundaries divided the city resulting in the left bank of the river being in Germany and the right bank in Poland so one can combine two countries united within the European Union in one visit.  The city has provided many film directors with locations including Wes Anderson's visual delight The Grand Budapest Hotel.
1997: Definitives - Hong Kong Skyline (Design - Kan, Tai-keung)
The lights are coming on so it is time to go out on the town.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter C - for Czechoslovakia, cities and centenary - See It On A Postcard

Sunday 3 March 2019

Busy Bees

1966: 'Spring' National Folklore (Design - Neva and Nikola Tuzsuzova)
Spring is in the air, daffodils are in flower and as we have just had the warmest February on record here so no wonder I heard a buzzing among my flowering heart ivy (sometimes called Paddy's Pride).
1940-42: Definitive - Farming (Design - A. Anev)
Perhaps it came from a beehive
1958: Savings Campaign (Design - S Legrady)
with some bees readying for the busy year ahead or maybe they are still dreaming

of flowers and clover rich meadows.
2015: Bees (Design - Anna Ekelund)
The great yellow bumblebee shown here flies over grasslands looking for clover, vetch and knapweed.
1977-8: Definitive - Insects on Flowers
maybe it will be joined by a copper butterfly which can be seen in all sorts of habitats but daises are never in short supply.
2018: Reintroduced Species (Design - Godfrey; Illustrator - Tanya Lock)
The Large-Blue is a specialist which is probably why it became extinct in England in 1979 for its grubs feed on a single species of red ant. Fast forward to 2006 and 10,000 eggs were painstakingly   placed by conservation projects in SW England.  Ten years later and 250,000 eggs were laid on wild margoram and thyme plants at reserves in Gloucestershire and Somerset. I wonder who counted them?

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter B - here for Bulgaria, bees, beehive and butterflies - See It On A Postcard.