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.


Saturday, 30 December 2017

United We Stand

1947: Centenary of the US Postage Stamp Centenary (Design - Leon Helgura; Engraver - Matthew D Fenton)
The US Post travelling at high speed towards us out of the stamp to celebrate a hundred years of the US postage stamp and the evolution of postal transport. The portraits chosen of Washington and Franklin were the same ones as used on those first stamps but of course Ben Franklin was also the first postmaster general who revolutionised the postal system and it may be said the country.  The artist is Leon Helgura(1889-1970) who a few years later would design the first stamp of the newly created United Nations (issued in 1951), I don't have any of those but the following year his design
was chosen to be used on their prepaid postcards

As there is a steam train and a streamliner train on the first stamp lets travel on the

UNICEF train bringing hope to the children around the world.
1966: 20th Anniversary of UNICEF
The FDC also features Hans Erni's child and peace dove, the latter one of his favourite symbols. In his very long life (1909-2015) he produced every type of art and many stamps. At the age of 100 his 60m ceramic fresco was installed outside the entrance to the United Nations building in Geneva. The dove in this is a recurring theme but as far as I know no ungulates but they do feature quite a bit
1995: Endangered Species (3rd Series)
on the United Nations series of stamps of endangered species. Here the hooves are being worn by a black rhino and the Arabian Oryx which share this set with a golden conure and a variegated langur, how nice that they also have a U in their name.  No camel postman this time
Definitives 1920-28 Overprinted Stamps of Upper Senegal and Niger
but if he was then that gun would protect the post in this stamp from the Upper Volta (present day Burkino Faso)

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the letter U - for United States, United Nations, UNICEF and ungulates - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Time

1999: Pingu
The last posting day for Christmas has passed, time for little Pingu to take a rest and get ready to open his own presents under the Christmas Tree. Does a tree fit into an igloo?
1986: Christmas (Design - Margaret Halcrow-Cross}
And how does one wrap "a partridge in a pear tree"?  The counting song 12 days of Christmas is a popular subject for stamps and New Zealand Post issued three stamps each showing one of the first three gifts sent by "my true love"
2017: Christmas (Design - Catherine Rowe)
The Isle of Man went a step further and issued all 12 days in a set this year, easy to sing along with these in front of you. I show the partridge in the pear tree because I think it is so interesting to see how different artists interpret the same subject.
1992: Christmas (Design - Frances Poskitt)
A beautiful starry night in Ireland unfortunately not one we are going to have here this year in these islands. Its been unremitting gloom - mist and rain - for ages, we are promised sunshine on Wednesday!  The artist is Frances Poskitt, best known for her botanical paintings so you get a lovely holly bush on the stamp. We have been to church through stamps so it is now time to sit down for Christmas dinner
1982: Christmas (Design - Lynette Hemmant)
the party hats are on so the crackers have been pulled
2011: Christmas (Illustrator Andrew Hopgood/Design Jennifer Scalzo)
and Santa Claus is enjoying the day off on Christmas Island.  I wonder what he is going to eat?
2017: Christmas (Gingerbread Houses)
It would be a shame to cut into this little Gingerbread House. The gingerbread makers name appears on each of this two stamp set and this one is a gingerbread farmhouse by Miceal de Haas (story here).
Åland Post wished me a Merry Christmas with this Maximum Card. What a perfect Christmas greeting.  It looks an idyllic place to spend the holidays. 

 Sunday Stamps II is celebrating Christmas on stamps - See It On A Postcard 
Wishing you all A Very Merry Christmas


Sunday, 17 December 2017


1984: Traditional Houses
Taking it easy in front of a traditional roundhouse while the farmer tills his soil in the background
c2000: Historic Architecture
Another roundhouse makes an appearance in another set of stamps but this time the text highlights the fact that these are the traditional houses used by the Ngoni and Nyamwezi people.   As we are in Africa there will be lots of wildlife on stamps and
1980: Wildlife
here is a pair of giraffe, or in the Swahili language twiga.  From long legs and necks and lovely markings the magnificent
1991: Elephants
tusks and trunks of the elephant come next, one African and one Asian. 
as these are too.
1994: Protected Animals
Both animals protected but the panda remarkably is having a better time than the african elephant.  Once there were vast herds of elephants in Tanzania, Africa's largest population, but this makes it irresistible to the ivory poacher and the population has declined by 60%.
1963: 1st Anniversary of Asian-Oceanic Postal Union
More animals but this time a proud Temple Guardian.  When it was formed the AOPU's headquarters were in Manila and I wonder if the stamp features one of its temples.

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is T - for Tanzania, Thailand, Traditional, Twiga, Tusks and Trunks - See It On A Postcard