Monday, 30 May 2011


My sender, Marcela, helpfully translated the name of this cathedral, St Wenceslas Cathedral.  She also tells me that it is in the centre of the historic city of Olomouc where she studies.

This has been the site of a cathedral since 1131, the present façade was reconstructed  from 1883-1892 in a Neo-Gothic style. The chapel at the side is dedicated to St Anna.

A You Tube video tells me the cathedral has 24 bells (15 for music, 8 for peal and 1 for mass. Here is its peal (or change ringing), reminds me of Sunday mornings.

The card came with
one of the two October 2010 Historic Stoves set. This is an art deco ceramic cover of the heating body in the Château Nove Mesto nal Metuji, Bohemia created by the sculptor and ceramicist Helena Johnova in 1939.

Thank you Marcela

Sunday, 29 May 2011


"I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try an experiment in both on as vast a scale as I could " Gandhi

The first British stamp to be designed by someone not from the UK, and the first to feature a foreign leader.  Mohandas Karamchad Ghandi was born in 1869 and studied law in England and then South Africa. It was his experiences in South Africa that started his civil rights journey.

His creed of satyagraha, resistance through mass civil non-violence, helped India gain independence and inspired civil rights movements across the globe. To protest against British rule and policies in India ,such as the salt tax, he formed the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Quit India campaign to gain independence. He also campaigning for the rights of the poor and discrimination. "Poverty" he said "is but the worst form of violence".  He lived a life of simplicity and high ideals.

The stamp designer, Biman Mullick, has said he wanted to reflect Gandhi's simple life so the stamp features just Gandhi in front of an Indian flag. Mullick explains his design on his website here.  The stamp was not issued on Gandhi's birthday of 2nd October, which is a national holiday in India and designated International Day of Non-violence across the world, but on 15th August the day of Indian Independence.  A stamp was going to be issued in India to celebrate the 1st Anniversary of independence in 1948 featuring Gandhi  but three bullets to his chest ended his life, and so the stamp was turned into a mourning issue.

An entry for Sunday Stamps whose theme this week is people you are happy are honoured by stamps. Gandhi is commonly referred to as Mahatma (Great Soul), which probably says it all.

Visit our hostess Viridian's Postcards for more Sunday Stamps

Friday, 27 May 2011

Korean Carriage

Sedan Chair, Seoul, Korea

This card captures beautifully a moment in time as the group of men walk towards the camera the breeze or their speed fluttering the overcoats.  The overcoats are called durumagi a traditional garment worn not only against the cold but for ceremonial purposes.

The uses of the sedan chair (or gama) in Korea are summed up by Wikipeadia in a paragraph
"In Korea, royalty and aristocrats were carried in elaborately decorated litters called gama. Gamas were primarily used by royalty and government officials. There were six types of gama, each assigned to different government official rankings. In traditional weddings, the bride and groom are carried to the ceremony in separate gamas. Because of the difficulties posed by the mountainous terrain of the Korean peninsula and the lack of paved roads, gamas were preferred over wheeled vehicles".
I wonder who was in the sedan chair?  This is not a Korean card because they wrote on the picture side of the card from 1900-07.  Japan, France and other European countries produced cards in the 1900s based on existing cards.  So our sender had possibly not been to Korea but sends

Christmas greetings and a wish for better weather on 23 December 1907 from the southern English seaside town of Weymouth.

A card for Postcard Friendship Friday hosted by Beth of The Best Hearts Are Crunchy.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Birthday Cheer

My first Inge Löök card I have actually held in my hand, rather than look longingly on the web.   I love these anarchist grannies, as Inge Löök says it is the small things that make a life worth living.  She has produced many cards of their adventures as well as illustrations of flowers (her first occupation was a gardener).  There is so much going on in this painting, of course our grannies are very old so there are lots of candles on the cake.  I think a train line on a table is an idea with possibilities, those nibbles chugging towards you without having to move an inch.

My sender, Jaana, lives in a small village in eastern Finland by the Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland. I hope there are some women like these grannies there, laughing and enjoying life.

The card came with
one of the extra fee stamp for adding to the value of a previously purchased stamp, a great idea to make it a shape of a plus sign, this one featuring a birch bud. The other stamp is one of six of familiar buildings in Finland, celebrating the 200th anniversary in September of the government building operations. This particular building is the Government Palace, designed by Carl Ludwig Engel, which today holds the prime minister's office, the chancellor of justice and departments of the Ministry of Finance.

Thank you Jaana, a great and fun card. 

Sunday, 22 May 2011


For this week's Sunday Stamps theme of Folk Handicrafts here are two of a four set China stamps issued in 1959 called "Chinese Folk Paper-cuts".  The first a rather cute camel and the other an actress. This art is called Jranzhi (剪纸)  and can be achieved by scissors or knives from a single piece of paper. Traditionally these objects were hung in windows (no glass for many centuries) and over doors. They must have looked beautiful with the lamps lit inside shining through. The peak time to decorate with paper-cuts is New Year when various symbols are shown to bring good luck. The paper-cuts are also used for embroidery templates. Today these art works are also framed to decorate a home.

This theme reminded me that I had some Paper-Cuts which were from the city of Nantung, or Nantong as it is now know. (Each region of China has its own cultural style). When I took them out there was, helpfully, on one of the cover folds a description:

"The art of paper-cuts in Nantung goes back into history. Created and perfected by Chinese craftsmen through centuries of painstaking labour, this art has a peculiarly local style marked by a close knit composition, delicate workmanship, vivid images, clear-cut lines and sharp colours that give an effect of solidity and depth.  
A wide range of subjects including people, flowers, birds, animals, landscapes and traditional patterns is represented. The works have broad popular appeal,"

The theme of these is musical instruments
To hold these delicate works of art is to marvel at the skill.

More folk handicraft can be seen at Sunday Stamps hosted by Viridian Postcard here

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Letter

One of Tuck's "Oilette De Luxe" postcards of an illustration by Jennie Harbour. She was an artist working in the art deco period who illustrated childrens books and Tuck produced many cards featuring her work. Sadly little is know about her, but she has left behind her delightful illustrations.

This card is one of six in the 'Early Victorian' series. It is always exciting to receive a letter but I think this particular one is special, the envelope lies on the floor in the hurry to open and read.  And the best friend is not going to miss out on the long awaited message. What is in the letter?

Postcard Friendship Friday is hosted by Beth at  The Best Hearts Are Crunchy 

Thursday, 19 May 2011


 "Between 7th and 9th Streets from 'O' to 'R' Streets this old Farmers Market 
includes over 30 restaurants, taverns and retail boutiques"

I guess this part of Nebraska had its share of English settlers judging from the name of Lincoln and the fact it is in Lancaster county. My farming ancestors lived near Lancaster (England) but they headed for Canada, I suppose they could have just as easily ended up in Nebraska.

My sender, Maria, says she likes this part of the city. The old factories are now apartments, stores and restaurants, which she says makes it a great place to 'people watch' in the warmer months. Doesn't that sound a great place to relax. New life for old buildings. 

The card came with
one of the new Jazz stamps which I wrote about in the previous post, and by serendipity both these postcards were of the mid west. The old tourist slogan for Nebraska used to read "Where the West Begins"  

The two flowers are from the new Herbs set, painted in full size by Teresa Fasolino for the stamps designed by Phil Jordan. The set's idea is to show the various uses for herbs, for fragrance, flavouring, medicine and decoration.  I like how Fasolino shows the plants like a identity guide, the flower, leaves and seed. These two are the blue flax and the fragrant lavender.

Thank you Maria, hope the weather is warming up for those leisurely days. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cool Lemonade

"Children on the Farm"
Selling lemonade, Mt Pleasant, Iowa, 1930s

A photograph by Pete Wettach (1901-1976) who started off working with the Farm Security Administration and was later a free lance photographer, taking thousands of photographs of the people of the mid west. He has preserved a whole way of life and some tough times when he took photos in the Great Depression. 

This photograph captures so much, the boy in the hat is obviously in charge, the other boy is collecting the money and the girl is concentrating hard on pouring the lemonade. An assembly line of endeavour.   My sender, Postal Muse, says she too as a kid dragged a wagon through her neighbourhood selling lemonade. I always imagine this as a particularly American part of childhood in the hot days of summer.  I remember our hosts in Greece being slightly amused by the English excitement of seeing lemons growing on trees  in their garden.  Not as hilarious as they found it when we took a day trip to Turkey and one of our number brought back Turkish Delight, for it is available everywhere in Greece, as Lokumi.

The card came with a great set of stamps

A couple of forever stamps, the 'celebrate' with neon sign and fireworks and then the large Jazz stamp. I love the Jazz stamp, designed by the artist Paul Rogers the only instruction he had was that it should show no recognisable performers and the word jazz.  It certainly has the feel of the music. Because of this stamp I discovered his wonderful ABZ collection of Jazz portraits here and his article about designing the stamp here

The first unveiling of the stamps was of course in New Orleans but the second was in the Kansas City Jazz Museum where the US Postal Service installed the old Wesport post office from the 1880s, normally kept in storage. You could buy the stamps through the original wooden teller window. Now that is what I call launching a stamp.

Thank you Post Muse, lemonade, history and black and white photography, a perfect combination.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Iceland and New York

Iceland issued a special series of stamps to help finance their participation in the 1939-1940 New York World Fair. The cost of their exhibition was to be paid over 2 years, part of the cost was to be recovered by the sale of stamps and coins at the pavilion. Printed by the De La Rue Company in London delivery was made via the SS Manhattan sailing from Southampton in April 1939 bound for New York.

This 35 aurar stamp above shows a Viking ship on route for America. Leif Eriksson (c970-c1020) setting sail in 1003 with 35 crew, the first European to land there according to the Saga of the Greenlander. The first stop was a land of flat and shining rocks, Helluland (Land of the Flat Stones) possibly Baffin Island, then on to a place of woods and white sandy beaches, Markland (Woodland) possibly Labrador.  Lief Eriksson's nickname was Leif the Lucky.
 The 45 aurar stamp portraying the statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni in Reykjavik. The sculptor was Einar Jónsson who created a statue which was placed in Philadelphia and another casting was made for Reykjavik. The Philadelphia statue can be seen here. Karlsefni set sail about 1010 with 3 ships and 160 settlers to Vinland, the exact place is unknown but archaeological evidence seems to point to L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. After 3 years the colony was abandoned and Thorfinn sailed to Greenland, then Norway and eventually returning and settling back in Iceland.

Now are you thinking, yes but what about the New York World Fair? It was the second largest of all time only exceeded by the St Louis Louisianan Purchase Exposition of 1904, which features at the end of  Meet Me In St Louis? One of my all time favourite films, usually shown here at Christmas time.  Anyway the New York World Fair motto was "the world of tomorrow" and its Trylon and Perisphere
appeared on posters and stamps (I don't have the Iceland one). 44 million people visited in the two seasons it was open, to be enthralled at this world of tomorrow, but when it closed in 1940 war meant that many of the European staff were unable to return to their home countries. The future had descended into the past.

Sunday Stamps is hosted by Viridian Postcard

Friday, 13 May 2011


"Two little Greenfinches
Sat on a tree.
Said one to the other:
"Do you love me?"

If the answer is yes perhaps they can get married in the church in the distance. Greenfinches are sociable birds and can be often found visiting gardens if there are some tasty nuts put out by the resident human.

The card was sent on 26th August 1909
but contains no message of love but one of relief and a question from Lucy:  "Home again and I am not sorry. Nellie came Monday and is stopping until Saturday. She came to our Place so we had to sleep three in a bed what do you think about it. Remember me to G".  So that is Lucy and Nellie and an unknown third in a very crowded bed.

Postcard Friendship Friday is hosted by Beth of The Best Hearts Are Crunchy

Monday, 9 May 2011

Beach Time

The photographer has caught the early morning on Narrabeen beach, one of the northern beaches near Sydney, Australia, which also gets a name check in the Beach Boy's Surfin' USA song.  One always thinks of long sandy beaches in connection with Australia, however my sender, Penny, lives a long way from the beach in a small rural town, but in compensation there is a lot of wildlife, including kangaroos. That must be quite a sight seeing kangaroos bouncing past your house. The card came with
one of the 2009 series celebrating bush babies.  Koala spend most of their time in eucalyptus trees munching on the leaves.Something has caught the little koala's attention on this picture. The other stamps in this series of popular Australian marsupials feature kangaroos, possums and wombats. Has Australia cornered the market in cute mammals?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Air Race

A stamp issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Monaco's 1st Aerial Rally which is a reproduction of the 1914 rally postcard design.  Those original postcards would be nice to own, an aeroplane picture over the map and signed by the pilots. The magnificent men in their flying machines.  The routes of the race were of equal length over land and sea, their starting points are the places on the stamp map. The winner was the aviation pioneer Roland Garros who covered the circuit in his Molrane-Saulnier flying boat. The stamp shows a flying boat over Monte Carlo harbour.

Roland Garros was the first person to fly the Mediterranean non stop, he also flew high and held many altitude records. He was in Germany giving exhibition flights when war was declared later in 1914. As a French citizen he was in danger of arrest, but fortunately neither he nor his plane was very well guarded, so he set off at night to return to France. A feat in itself, very few pilots at this time flew in the dark. Garros reported for military service. On 5 October 1918 he was shot down near Vouziers in the Ardennes region, just one day short of his 30th birthday. His name lives on as anyone who watches the French Open will know the red clay courts of the Stade Roland Garros. The airport on the island of Reunion, his birth place, also carries his name.
 Roland Garros and Molrane-Saulnier Type L fighter plane

Viridian Postcard is the hostess of Sunday Stamps. This weeks theme, trains planes and automobiles.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Hands Across The Sea

Hands Across the Sea always have a special significance for me because my Grandfather, an ex sailor, had a very pale blue tattoo of this sentiment on his forearm.  His was rather plainer than this pretty card ,which certainly works the theme for alls it worth.  Roses, a cottage, the river to the sea, a lighthouse and to top it all off an airship. I suppose when this card was sent the airship was going to be the way everyone was going to travel. The card is unstamped
but a birthday message from Dolly to her father.  Including the words indicating mortality "hope you may live to have a lot more birthdays".  I wonder where he was celebrating his Sunday birthday party?

An entry to Postcard Friendship Friday hosted by Beth at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Winter Palace

The beautiful Winter Palace looking as stunning at night at it does in the daytime.  How wonderful it must have been to live here. As my sender Olga says, here lived kings. When visiting the museums of Moscow and St Petersburg some years ago and seeing the  fabulous wealth of the tzars, one of the thoughts flitting through my mind was, no wonder there was a Revolution.  Once the winter home of the Tzars, now the palace houses part of the Hermitage collection. The largest collection of paintings in the world. You could spend years in there and still not see everything.

I think there must be a lot of postcrossers in St Petersburg, I've had a number of cards from there. It is a beautiful place so they will never run out of postcards to send and I always love to receive them.

The card came with
 some of the 2009 Kremlin definitives, and some I have not had. On the top, Pskov Kremlin and below, the Kazan Kremlin. Only four more to go and I'll have a full set. The blue stamp bottom left is one of the 2003 definitives of Palaces and Sculptures. This is the Gatchinksy Palace (in the outskirts of St Petersburg) and the statue of Paul I, who is known as the most romantic of the Russian Emperors. He did not have too good a time of it, his mother Katherine II neglected him and did not want him to become emperor. He spent a  lot of time at Gatchinksky. As his title implies he did become emperor but was assassinated by the nobility for his reforms (more rights for the peasantry, better treatment for serfs) and wanting them to accept a code of chivalry.

Thank you Olga, beautiful card.     

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The death centenary of Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1992 produced four stamps which featuring the poet at different ages. I only have the one of the aged Tennyson in 1888, or should I say the poet in maturity?  The legends of the Morte d'Arthur have fascinated artists through the centuries and Tennyson was no exception. He had pondered over the retelling of the legend in his "Idylls of the King" for many years, working at it from time to time, one part influencing another. This stamp portrays the part that eventually appeared as 'Merlin and Vivien' with, in the corner, part of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones'  'The Beguiling of Merlin'.  Tennyson's poem starts

A storm was coming, but the winds were still,
And in the wild woods of Broceliande,
Before an oak, so hollow, huge and old
It looked a tower of ivied masonwork,
At Merlin's feet the wily Vivien lay.
The full Burne-Jones paintings, it does not end well for Merlin, for here he is trapped and entangled in a hawthorn while Nimue/Vivien reads his spells.  I have been lucky enough to see this painting as it hangs in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, not too far from where I live.

An entry for Viridian's Sunday Stamps, the theme - Poets or Poetry.