Saturday, 17 March 2018


I'm continuing a postcard visit to St Petersburg as I spotted this vivid sunset when I was looking for last week's postcard theme.  You just can't beat sunsets and water.  The view is of St Peter and St Paul Fortress and the bell tower of its cathedral, the oldest church and highest tower in St Peterburg. This 18th Century star fortress is located on Zayochy Island and is the final resting place of many Tsars.  Today the buildings of the St Peter and Paul Fortress are a museum and a popular tourist destination but if one wants to chill out, fatigued having taken in all the history, then at the foot of the fortress walls are sandy beaches.   Views of the fortress and river can be seen here 

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Sunrise or Sunset - admire them at Connections to the World

Sunday, 11 March 2018


1984: Danish Paintings (Design - L Garsparsk; Engraver - A Kühlmann)
The Danish artist Christoffer Whilhelm Eckersberg spent three years in Rome so he would have had plenty of time to enjoy and sketch the 8 day Roman carnival and the party goers he portrays in his painting.
2016: Pixies (Designer - Gustav Mårtensson)
Take your partners, time to sashay across the floor. These are the pixies of Peter Møller, a 19th Century illustrator whose pixies are always playing music, singing and dancing, despite the fact that due to a childhood accident he was deaf.  The pixies appeared on porcelain dinner sets and Christmas cards, the latter are highly collectable today.
1981: Europa - Folklore and Feasts
The North German dancers are painted by Elisabeth van Janota-Bzouski (1912-2012) and with a long name like that no wonder she was known internationally as La Janota.  One of the great German stamp illustrators her 'Day of the Postal Stamp' was chosen as the world's best stamp in 1981 which can be seen here
1969: Regional Costumes
Almost the same costumes appeared on Polish stamps but not surprisingly as these are dancers from Lower Silesia (Wroclaw) a region whose borders have changed over the centuries.
1962: 25th Anniversary of Soviet People's Dance Ensemble
Lets take to the stage with the Soviet People's dancers
1962: Russian Ballet
or just enjoy the ballet 'The Red Poppy' with a score written by Reinhold Glière and first performed in 1927, here we see The Sailors Dance (the action takes place at a Chinese port). 

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter D - for dance and Denmark - See It On A Postcard 


Saturday, 10 March 2018

St Petersburg

When Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881 the imperial family paid for a church in remembrance of his memory to be built on the site where he was fatally wounded. This church which lies in the centre of St Petersburg by a canal is called the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, commonly known as the Church of Spilled Blood.  Squinting at this card there looks to be a little market going on by the entrance.

The architect is Alfred Parland and, as can be seen, it is in the style of 16th and 17th Century Russian churches.  Alfred Parland (1842-1919) built many churches and houses and was born and died in the city of Petersburg although his mother was German and his Scottish father taught English to the royal family.
A closer look at those lovely onion towers. The Church of Spilled Blood contains Russia's largest collection of mosaics (7,000 sq m) so no wonder it took from 1883-1907 to complete.

Postcards for the Weekend theme this week - Places of Worship - at Connections to the World 

Sunday, 4 March 2018


1947: Definitive (Design J. Lhuer Engraver J Jacquin)
Time to take a paddle around Soldier's Cove, Langlade. Someone who had taken a trip to Saint Pierre et Miquelon described Langlade (connected by a long sand spit to Miquelon) as "water that goes from emerald to jade to blue, people playing pétanque on the beach, cranberry bogs and tall grasses bending in the breeze". These islands, the last French territory left in North America sound a delight with their brightly coloured houses although it does have a subarctic climate.  St Pierre or Peter is of course the patron saint of fishermen so I hope he is looking after these two anglers
1957: Outdoor Recreation
paddling their Canadian Canoe. Of course when I think 'canoe' this following stamp is what I might think of first
1966: Centenary of Naprstek's Ethnographic Museum, Prague (Design: L Sindelak - Engraver; Josef Hercik)
although I might have 
1971: Death Centenary of Paul Kane ("Indian Encampment on Lake Huron")
a more romantic view in mind.   Paul Kane (1810-1871) sketched and recorded the first nation people when he often travelled in one of the Hudson's Bay Company canoes and his sketches and drawings are considered an important record of the people although his studio paintings are a more artistic interpretation.   I am always fascinated by the artists and photographers that travelled the wild places of North America in the 19th century recording what they saw.
2004: Europa - Holidays
There are still wild places to explore such as paddling a Norwegian fjord or perhaps
2012: Gold Medal Winners - Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott
testing ones skills in white water like Baillie and Stott in the Double Canoe Slalom

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter C - for Cove, canoe, centenary, Canada and Czechoslovakia- See It On A Postcard.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Briliant Birds

A cover celebrating the 700th anniversary of Biberstein (1280-1980) a village in Switzerland which lies on the north bank of the Aar River. Perhaps one might spot a kingfisher here, if not then there are kingfisher stamps. The village's castle was built in 1280 and features on the cancel as does its coat of arms - a beaver.  This is a play on words which I believe in heraldry is called 'canting' a visual pun on the bearers name and in this case the beaver (in German 'biber) is sitting on a stone (German 'stein') and so we have Biberstein
1966: Int Congress for Conservation 'Pro Natura' Lucerne (Design: B Waltenspühl)
This post may mostly feature birds but now one beaver has appeared why not have another one
1982: Landscapes and Animals
this time living near Lake Hovd in Mongolia.  Lets now return to Europe and Bulgaria for more brightly coloured birds
1965: Songbirds
and ones known for their songs.  From left to right, Northern Bullfinch, Golden Oriel and Rock Thrush
2000-2009 Definitives (Design - Chris van Rooyen)
Of course for vivid plumage the place to be is Africa and here is the Lilac Breasted Roller, one of the many birds that appeared on South Africa's 7th Definite Series along with fish, butterflies and flowers. For some reason none of the butterfly stamps have turned up with me. 
The Woodland Kingfisher perches on the definitive stamp and may not look as brilliant in colour as the common kingfisher but once it unfurls those wings it dazzles.  
2014: Bird of the Year (Design - Vladimir Taiger)
The Common or Eurasian Kingfisher was chosen as Bird of the Year for Estonia's continuing series of stamps. Every year since 1995 the Estonian Ornithological Society has chosen the bird of the year which is linked to other events such as mapping localities and trying to get a better estimate of numbers.
Most of Estonia's kingfishers are found in the south and despite it being a small country there are over 7000 rivers and brooks and 1,500 lakes, perfect for kingfishers if it were not for the very cold winters.

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter B - for Birds, Beavers, Biberstein and Bulgaria - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Air Force

2018: 100 Years of the Royal Air Force (Design: Glazier Design)
This year is the Royal Air Force centenary and the Isle of Man was quick of the mark and the first of the British islands to take to the skies (GB will issue their set next month).  A lot of thought has gone into the stamps because much more than the aircraft appear on the stamp

Aircraft: Sopwith Camel, Spitfire, Lancaster and Vulcan

for you will also find - the name of the aircraft, a medal ribbon and medal initials, the RAF ensign, the name of an important person associated with the RAF, the name of an RAF base and the GPS coordinates of the airfield.  The Sopwith Camel biplane, flown in the first world war, featured in the set also made a more dynamic appearance on an earlier British stamp issue
1968: Anniversaries (Design - Clive Abbott)
for the 50th Anniversary of the RAF (in the corner is a trio of English Electric Lighting fighters). 
The iconic Spitfire was teamed with an  'important person' name check of Air Chief Marshal the Lord (Hugh) Dowding
1986: Royal Air Force (Design - Brian Sanders)
and a 1986 GB stamp shows him with a Hawker Hurricane.  His foresight in introducing an integrated defence system, of radar, the observer corp, and significantly, fighter aircraft (the spitfire and hurricane) led to Britain being able to defend the country in the Battle of Britain in 1940.
Aircraft: Chinook, Harrier, Typhoon and Lightning
The other person who gets a mention on the stamps is an engineer whose name appears on the Harrier stamp, Air Commodore Frank Whittle,
1967: British Discovery and Invention (Design - Philip Sharland)
inventor of the turbojet engine which this stamp shows on a Vickers VC-10 airliner, only the supersonic Concorde has flown the Atlantic faster than the VC10.

The other feature of the Isle of Man stamps cannot be seen by the eye alone because it is printed in security ink and can only be discovered under UV light.  In Morse code the words of the famous sonnet 'High Flight' by John Gillespie Magee appear - "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth/And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings..." His story and poem appear here.  Magee flew for the Royal Canadian Air Force so lets see some Canadian airplanes
1980; Canadian Aircraft
and I must admit I always enjoy paintings of aircraft better than photographs and what better artist could one have but Robert Bradford whose paintings feature on this 16 stamp set.  The McKee Trophy featured on the cover is awarded to a Canadian citizen for achievements in aerospace.  The stamp paintings are of
a Hawker Hurricane and one of the Vickers Vidette flying boats that helped map the north of Canada. In one of those quirks of fate and coincidence Robert Bradford and his twin brother were born on December 17th 1923 exactly 20 years to the day of the first powered flight by Orville Wright.  They both joined the Canadian Air Force during world war two and in a happy coincidence for my featured Isle of Man cover Robert was stationed on the island although never flew in combat because of an aircraft accident.  Bradford was involved with the establishment of the Aviation Museum at Rockliffe Airport, Ottawa. For all us mail lovers a fun fact is that the Royal Air Force used the field for experimental mail flights in 1918.   I was rather disappointed I couldn't find a military airfield in my stamp collection to form another link with the Isle of Man stamps but I think this Australian stamp with a
1998: 50th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm (Designer - Sandra Harman)
Sea Hawk helicopter being brought into land on a frigate might be a good stand in. 

For Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter A - fly over to See It On A Postcard


Friday, 16 February 2018

Happy Dance

The happiness of spring as Inge Löök's 'aunties' dance around the silver birch winding their ribbons through the clearing. The wood anemone carpet the floor like "a galaxy of stars across the forest floor". The anemone is named after the Anemoi, the wind gods, which Aeolus (the ruler of the winds) sends out in early spring to announce the seasons arrival, and so we get its other name, the windflower.  Their quiet beauty always brings joy for their arrival marks the advance of spring.  The aunties look ready to toast that fact with their glasses of bubbly.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Happiness/Joy - at Connections to the World