Sunday, 28 October 2012


1957: Outdoor Recreation
 Heading to the great outdoors here are a couple enjoying two hobbies at the same time, fishing and canoeing. 
Stopping with the same set I think this is a great portrayal of swimming, she looks to be having fun so I'm thinking it is summer although the Russians are well known for breaking the ice to go swimming
1952: Winter Sports
but are skimming over the ice and snow in this two stamps.  But for a hobby that combines both art, gardening and a whole lot of patience what about the creation of miniature landscapes called Penjing,
L-R Chinese Elm; Juniper & Maidenhead
in Chinese, which translates as "tray scenery" a different tradition to the Japanese bonsai as its aim is to create a more wild look and represent a natural landscape but the trimming, pruning and wiring are the same.
Left -Chinese Juniper; Right - Wild Kaki persimmon
There are three forms of penjing -  Tree (which is closest to the Japanese bonsai), Landscape and Water.  In Landscape the rock is more important than the tree and Water creates a complex scene that shows all elements of a landscape and tells a story. 
Single-seed Juniper
Each area of China has its own style and favourite species of trees.

 An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of - hobbies

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Taking the Water

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts on new reflections"

This week's prompt picture is from County Clare taken c1900 of people taking the waters at Twin Well.  I wonder if the seated local got damp in her bones or did that magical water protect her. What can I take from the photo, well  
I've got a bowler hat and water.  My mother was trying to identify some of her old photos and to that purpose we took a trip to her cousin Alice at Ayside, who being nine years older than her she thought would know much more. She was disappointed that she only knew a little extra, but did come up with who was on this photo when she quickly said "oh that is Bob the gamekeeper".  I wish I'd quizzed her more but the day was full of chatter and as it turned out the two cousins were not to see each other again in this world.  It is quite a bucolic scene, I can almost here the babble of the brook and I'm sure that out of focus dog is just about to retrieve something.  Which is Bob?
The card was sent to my Great Aunt Harriet from one of her sisters on 10th August 1906 saying "just another one for your book".  Wish I had that book from the turn of the 20th century.  But instead here
is a card I picked up in a local charity shop with a woman, not taking the water, but gazing out over Lake Bourget to Mont Blanc in the distance while balanced a small child above a sheer drop.  The previous owner of the card has put a green cross on a building, perhaps a hotel, and on the reverse in the same green ink has written 'keep'. This must have been a special memory although the use of green ink is a bit of a worry.  The town stretching out in front of the mother and child is Aix Les Bains, a spa town since Roman times at the southern end of the Jura Mountains.  The town was a fashionable mountain resort in the 1920s
from which period this Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942) French travel poster encouraged people to visit.  She looks full of joy so the mineral waters must have the healing power or there is just a good night life. The British called Aix Les Bains 'Aches and Pains' and the millions of gallons of water that pour from its warm sulphur springs every day at 115 degrees (46 degrees Centigrade) are reputed to wash away any twinges.   For more serious cases there are two altitude clinics up on the mountain to retreat to once the bathing and drinking treatment are complete.
  If your preference is not to take the waters but to take to the water this looks the ideal way to cross the largest natural lake in France c1900, oh and there is a woman and child with a hats too. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

All Directions

LA11 118, Windermere Rd, Grange Over Sands
Cafés to the left of them, cafés to the right of them, cafés in front of them. No perhaps just not in front but a nicely positioned wall box between the railway station and car parking, and being Grange Over Sands, lots of tea shops.  A walk along promenade, a twirl around the park with its ornamental ducks, buy postcards, have tea and cakes then
Post Box LA11 118, Windermere Rd, Grange Over Sands
  pop the postcard in the George V wall box

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Setting Sail

This week's Sunday Stamps theme gives me another excuse to show one of my 'Eye of the Wind' covers (artwork by Anthony Theobald). The ship was a 150 ton brigantine built in Germany in 1911 as the 'Fredrich' carrying salt from Germany, hide from Argentina and China Clay from Cornwall. Sold in 1923 to a Swedish family who owned her until 1958 when she carried cargo in the Baltic and North Sea.    Severely damaged by fire in 1969 she was bought by a sailing enthusiast in 1973 and rebuilt and later that decade was altered amongst other things to accommodate a laboratory and a dark room.  The cover carries the badge of HMS Drake, which is not a ship but a naval base at Devonport where the Eye of the Wind was fitted out ready for its journey around the world setting off from Jersey.
The stamp used is one of the 1978 "Links with Canada" set showing another brigantine the 1866 'Century' built in Jersey.  On her maiden voyage from Caspé, Canada she was caught in a hurricane and dismasted. After repairs she was used by Robin and Co for the triangle run leaving Gaspé with dried cod, then cargoes from South America of rum, molasses and sugar and head for Jersey from where they would return to Canada with European manufactured goods.  The Century refers to the century of the owners  Robin and Co which lasted a great deal longer than that. The ship by comparison had a brief life.

Here is the man the 'Operation Drake' expedition of 'Eye of the Wind' was named after the great seafarer
1973: British Explorers
 Sir Francis Drake whose circumnavigation of the globe (1577-80) they were emulating. The stamp was designed by Marjorie Saynor who painted the portrait for the stamp.  I think she has used the famous Thomas Hilliard miniature as her inspiration.
1969: British Ships
And here is an Elizabethan galleon similar to the Golden Hind which Drake sailed the world. Galleons were for the age highly stable, fast and manoeuvrable vessels and of course in our own age always the stars of pirate films or perhaps co-stars with Johnny Depp.

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of -  Ships

Saturday, 20 October 2012

On the Beat

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

 This week's prompt is a posed event but on my postcard the policeman is on his beat and his attention is taken by
Looking up Market Street from Horseshoe Corner, Lancaster c1905
 our photographer as indeed is the boy to his right who also looks to be on an errand with his wicker basket. I'm wondering what the boy on the ladder is about to hang up. There is still a hairdresser on the street but not the one of the sign advertising "specialists hair-work".  That sounds if it could be elaborate. Looking past the horse and cart the building with the pillars just beyond was the Town Hall, today it is the City Museum. I've spent many a happy hour in there as a child when visiting Lancaster.  Whether my companion was as enamoured of endless visits I'm not too sure.  We always travelled there by train, our ultimate destination my Grandmothers, I always wanted to go to the museum, my mother wanted to go to the shops. Thinking about it now I suspect my father may have grasp the opportunity of an escape as we headed towards the museum and my mother went shopping.  Sometimes if money allowed we took a tour of Lancaster Castle which also was full of artefacts both gruesome (spiked torture) and attractive (heraldry shields) and, for the connection to this week's Sepia Saturday theme, dark and dank cells.

When the city council moved from this building to its new, and present, location the police station including the cells was in the basement and a handy Magistrates Court was on the ground floor with a connecting staircase to the police cells.  I seem to think they are now in a nondescript  building someone else in the town but the original Lancaster Police Force was formed in 1824 (one of the first places to set up a police force outside London) when their uniforms may have looked something like this
Glamorgan, South Wales Police
Those white summer trousers don't look too practical but the tails of the coat had a practical purpose for they carried the truncheon for those occasional altercations.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lets Dance

In a country as vast as China there are many traditions and they issued a series of stamps on "Chinese Folk Dances" in the '60s.  Here are the ones I have
Kawas "Knife"

The names are the ethnic origins of the dance.  China has nearly 60 designated ethnic minorities.
L-R:-   Han "Flower Drum Dance; Mongolian "Ordos"; Chuang "Catching Shrimp"
The Han Chinese are the the majority of the population so it probably that reason that the Flower Drum Dance is well known outside the country. We are all familiar with the Lion and Dragon dances performed at new year but these also have regional variations,
Tibetan "Fiddle"
Folk music and dance survive through the centuries and do so even through periods of oppression as in Tibet.  Emigrants and exiles take their culture with them.
L-R:- Yus "Wedding Ceremony"; Pais "Encircling Mountain Forest"; Yaos "Long Drum"

Some dances are only performed at special occasions or festivals.  I think this is a lovely series, the traditional costume and the simplicity of the design captures the essence of the dances.
Korean "Fan"
And finally just because it it such a beautiful dance here is the Korean 'Fan'

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamp theme of - Folk Culture

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Public Works

2012: UK A-Z Part 2
 I'll start off this week in the north west of England with Alfred Waterhouse's Victorian Gothic town hall which inside has murals by Ford Madox Brown showing the important events of the city.  There are a lot of Madox Brown paintings in the north west but I saw even more of them this year in Belgium, they were on loan for a special exhibition of his work. Fancy travelling to Ghent and finding paintings from my own patch but a visit was irresistible, and see them all together.
Journey across the Irish Sea and a stamp celebrates the completion of the Shannon Hydro-Electric project in 1930 which was the beginning of the electrification of the national grid and  also brought power to rural areas.
And so to bridges here is the opening of the Wakato Narrows long span bridge on Dokai Bay in 1962.  It is only for motor transport, the ferry, which apparently is the cheapest in Japan, takes pedestrians and cyclists across the water.  From the islands of Japan travel to
1994: Prefecture Capitals (4th series)
 the city of Heraklion on Crete to a building that was constructed in Paladian style when the island was a colony of Venice where the great and the good met but used also as a Loggia where people met to pass the time. With the coming of the Turks the building was used for financial administration, and a place to store guns.  In 1900 with liberation from the Turks and an independent Crete the state proposed it be turned into a archaeological museum unfortunately  an earthquake in 1904 mad it unsafe. After a gap of  some decades it was eventually restored and in 1934 started to be used for municipal services. Today the first floor has been restored furnished and decorated being used for ceremonial purposes and meetings of the council.  This gained it the Europa Nostra award in 1987 for the restoration of a historic building for a modern use. 
2012: UK A-Z Part 2
Lastly the ultimate builders of public works, the Romans.  The early morning mist rising from the water in the city the Romans founded as a thermal spa - Bath. (UNESCO heritage site).

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps theme of "Civic or Public Architecture and other public works"

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Empress

An entry to Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"
The crowed dockside on this week's Sepia Saturday photo prompt of the arrival in New York of the trans-Atlantic liner SS Imperator put me in mind of another liner
which crossed the Atlantic, RMS Empress of Ireland.  This one was carrying two of my Grandmother's sisters emigrating to Canada.  What the date was, I do not know
because the stamps on the post card sent by my Great Aunt Lucy have been torn off, for I would guess one of my Grandmother's many grandchildren.  Eek.
Lucy writes "My Dear Winnie, Well we are now on the train bound for Winnipeg, left the boat last night. (unknown initials)  - got straight into the train. I am still with Mrs Armistead, we are all now hear together writing post cards, we had a grand time this morning all of us together 8 of us. Hope you got my letters safe and hope to hear from you soon"   Now hear comes a puzzling bit which if I read it right says "burn those two in my drawer upstairs", Goodness I wonder what was in those incendiary letters,  but after dropping that intriguing request into the card she continues "remember me to all.  I felt disappointed not seeing Harry.  (unknown initials) was spooning on the boat, there was some done I tell you..."  Now no tale telling Lucy.

My father always used to say of my Grandmother that she could fit more news in a one page letter than most people in three.  It seems that Lucy had the same gene if this post card is anything to go by. 

I wonder if that group of 8 mentioned by Lucy were on this postcard picture of emigrants on the deck of the Empress of Ireland in July 1911.  The Empress of Ireland was one of two ships built by the Canadian Pacific Line's immigrant trade from Liverpool to Canada, the other was the Empress of Britain which I think appears in the distance of the first postcard painting. The two Empresses provided weekly services, starting in 1906. to carry the waves of people crossing the Atlantic. 

Happily Lucy arrived in Quebec and boarded the train for her next adventure. For the passengers and crew sleeping in the early hours of the morning of 29 May 1914 it was not a happy journey.  As the ship made its way in thick fog in the St Lawrence Seaway it collided with the Norwegian collier the Storsted and sank in less than 15 minutes. 1000 people died within 4 miles of shore.  
The disaster is often overshadowed by those of the Titanic and Lusitania and because of that the ship is often known as the forgotten Empress.  I wonder what Lucy's thoughts were when she hear about the end of the ship that carried her to her new life.