Tuesday 28 January 2020

Swan of Finland

Suomen Joutsen by Santeri Salokivi (1928)
In bright blue light the sailing boat Swan of Finland looks like a ship from mythology. Its representation is typical of the artist Santeri Salokivi (1886-1940) paintings which are infused with a dazzling light.  He always spent summer with his family in the Finnish archipelago on the islands of Åland and Pellinge (also a favourite place of Tove Jannson), He thought the light and shadows of his home country were at their best at that time of year.  Salokivi was born in Torku which is also the place where the Suomen Joutsen (Swan of Finland)
Aura River, Turku with the sailing ship Suomen Joutsen
spends its sailing retirement as a museum ship. Built in 1902 in Saint Nazaire it sailed with cereals, coal and nitrates, eventually being sold to Finland as a fleet training vessel and in 1991 handed to the city of Turku.

Sunday 26 January 2020

Year of the Rat

2008: Year of the Rat (Design - Harvey Chan)
The artist Harvey Chan chose as his inspiration for the Year of the Rat a Chinese story about 'The Mouse Bride'. The Canadian domestic rate stamp shows her beautifully attired complete with parasol and little bag. (The rat loves opulence) The hidden date of the stamp can be found on the parasol pole, better seen here.  The stamp came to me with part of the stamp sheet selvedge which shows the animals of the Chinese zodiac, the two stamp Canadian miniature sheet featured both bride and groom with the animals bringing their gifts to the wedding surrounding them.
My only other Year of the Rat stamp is one from China but happily as I have the stamp booklet get more than one rat - one on the cover
1984: Year of the Rat (Design - Li Yinqing from a painting by Zhan Tong; Engraver - Hu Zhenyuan)
and three inside. I must say those fingers are more elegant than mine when I tried to recreate the sign.  2020 is the year of the metal rat and it brings a year of new beginnings and renewal, a good time to start a new project or direction in life but only if it is well planned.

Sunday Stamps II theme this week - Chinese New Year Animals - start the Lunar Year with See It On A Postcard

Sunday 19 January 2020

Country Roads

2016: Maximum Card 109 "Red barn"
Time to take a walk in the countryside
2016: Finnish Barns (Design - Satu Lusa)
 and there will be barns of all shapes and sizes.
1990: Centenary Rural Postal Service and Rural Address Reform (Design - P Huovinen)
Perhaps postie will pass by on his delivery round.  The stamp shows a rural postman on a country lane with the village of Larsmo and its church in the background.  The address and number sign are written according to the reformed system.
1990: Europa - Post Office Buildings (Design - Bardur Jakupsson)
Lets call into a post office, in particular the old post office at Gjógv in the Faroe Islands, which is a private home but opens as a post office 5 days a week for 30 minuets each morning and afternoon. You will be able to spot the road on this stamp however it is always pleasant to walk by water.
1996: Landscapes (Design - Heinz Schillinger)
The stamp on the left features the Saale River where one might also prefer to cycle beside it on part of the path from Bavaria to Saxony (400k/250 miles). The website eulogies it as passing through 'beautiful nature, majestic castles and enchanted forests'. In fact this German series of stamps could almost be called - 'are you wondering where to go on holiday'!  The stamp on the right is Spreewald Canal which is actually 200 small canals, part of a traditional irrigation system which has a UNESCO designation of a biosphere reserve.  
The Eifel National Park is described as a place of woods, water and wilderness. There are 240k of signposted paths and it is part of a much larger cross-border park with Belgium called the High Fens-Eifel National Park.  There is a serpent in this paradise because several parts of the park will not be open to the public for a long time because of mine fields from the second world war but perhaps because of that nature will remain undisturbed.
2016: Maximum Card 111 - "Barns at Twilight"
Our walk is over and the sun is setting, time to return home
with a glance back at the Finnish Barns which you can see from the postmark in Finnish are Ladot.
Old Barn, Suffolk, England

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Rural or Countryside - more bucolic views on See It On A Postcard   

Sunday 12 January 2020

Flags of Nations

1993: Lake Constance European Region (Design - Wittmer)
This stamp is also called 'Collaboration about Bodensee' indicated by the three country flags of the surrounding nations, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with the paddle steamer Hohentweil (originally owned by the German Railways from 1913-1962) steaming along the lake. I have a Swiss map card here which shows the lake geography and mountains.
2011: Blue and White (Design - Ingela Peterson Arrhenius)
The flag of Sweden is celebrated every year with a public holiday on the 6th June and in 2011 they also got the opportunity to put it on their post. The three crowns seen on the colour coordinated person are the national emblems of Sweden and I like the reverse image of the daisies by the flag pole stamp.   The last stamp I guess shows Stockholm's sightseeing tourist 'hop on hop off' red bus.
1986: Flags of Member States; 7th Issue (Design - Ole Hamann)
My final flag is from the United Nations familiar 'Flags' series. The Antigua and Barbuda flag was adopted in 1967 to mark self-government.
'Fresh British Milk' Bottles

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Flags - fly over to See It On A Postcard

Sunday 5 January 2020

Windmills and Lighthouses

Åland Exhibition Card for SILFI 2015 (Silkeborg, Denmark)
This week's Sunday Stamps theme gives me a another chance to feature one of Tord Nygren's watercolours of windmills.  Watercolour paints and rainbows seem the perfect combination but for those of us more artistically challenged perhaps a photograph will have to do although perhaps just the pure delight of a rainbow is enough.
The 2015 Danish National Philatelic Exhibition was held in Silkeborg and organised by the local Philatelic Club with of course Åland Post in attendance.  If the town name seems familiar it is near where the ancient preserved bog bodies were discovered (Tollund Man) but for a fun fact related to windmills - Silkeborg's windiest month is January.  From Jutland we travel to
2003: World Heritage Sites, Öland (Design - P-N Nilsson (top) and B A Lundberg; Engraver - L Sjööblom)
the long narrow Danish island of Öland in the Baltic Sea where people have made their home for 5000 years.  The Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there are lots of windmills (62) one of which can be seen with the Gettinge Gravefield whose standing stones form the shape of a Viking ship, forever becalmed on land, but meanwhile
1972: Anniversaries - HM Coastguard (Design Rosalind Dease)
there is a storm at sea and a ship is in trouble - a 19th Century coastguard calls the alarm.
1978: Flashing Lighthouses on Iceland for 100 years (Design -O Ólafsson)
This is Iceland's first lighthouse 'Reykjanesviti' at Valahnukur built in 1878 but earthquakes and the wild seas on Valahnukur meant that there was a danger of the lighthouse falling into the sea so a new one was built in 1907-08 and the older one no longer exists.
1996: Lighthouses (Design - J Levinsen; Engraver - A Kühlmann)
Happily the 40 metre (128ft) tall Blåvandshuk built in 1900 is still flashing and marks the most western landmark of Denmark.
This pretty little thing is Bovbjerg Lighthouse only 26 metres high but as it stands on a cliff it is 62 metres above sea level,  The lighthouse is painted red to distinguish it from the church towers that were originally used by sailors as a navigation aid before the lighthouse was built in 1877. With its 93 steps up to the viewing platform, cafe and shop it is now a tourist destination.
For all lighthouse lovers here is one you can stay in with a panoramic view of the Baltic Sea and private steps down to the beach. The Møns Lighthouse dating back to 1845 is on the island of the same name (famous for its chalk cliffs and fossils) and today is fully automated.
Watching the Windmills, Kinderdijk, Netherlands

Sunday Stamps II theme this week is - Windmills and Lighthouses - travel for more to See It On A Postcard   

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Holiday Windmill

A windmill and someone hauling logs for the holiday season on a crisp winter day completes this picture of the Netherlands under snow. The postcard does not say where the windmill is but from the clues in the landscape and if I had both patience and time would I be able to trace it on the Dutch Windmill database?  The card wishing a Pleasant Christmas and Happy New Year was originally sent to Schiedam, home of the tallest classic windmills in the world, very different to the one on the card.

Happy New Year