Friday, 30 December 2016

Cleaning Time

Last week I showed Inge Löök's fun loving elves so this week its the fun loving aunties turn although things don't seem to be going too well.  One turns to look at the clock, yikes look at the time!  Are they cleaning ready for Christmas; the Finnish tradition is  that the 9th December (St Anne's Day) is when baking, cleaning and brewing starts. The aunties will have left it until the last minute and everything has to be finished by 21st December (St Thomas's Day) but the clock is ticking the minutes away, will they be ready?  The auntie on the left looks fed up with it all, she has had enough.  The big feast of the year in Finland is on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is for relaxation and simpler meals. But for 'Postcards for the Weekend' purposes lets imagine it is New Year's Eve, another big celebration, and as the clock says 10 it means they have only a little time left to be ready for their visitors and wish them Hyvää uutta vuotta - Happy New Year.  Wishing you all health and happiness in 2017.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Time/Clock -  check what time it is at Connections to the World  Linky Party.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Christmas Story

1960: Christmas (Designer K. McKay; Engraver: Bruce Stewart)
Australia chose a biblical quotation for the Christmas of 1960 taken from the Gospel of Luke 2:10 ... "Behold I bring you good tidings of joy", the words of the angel to the shepherds watching their flocks by night.
The Christmas story was GB's choice for the 2015 issue and the stamps were painted by David Holmes who has also painted the image on this First Day Cover envelope.
2nd class and 2nd Large - The Journey to Bethlehem; 1st class and 1st Large - The Nativity
£1.00 - Animals of the Nativity; £1.33 - The Shepherds; £1.52 - The Three Wise Men or Magi
£2.25 - The Annunciation

Art Direction and design of the stamps was by Studio David Hillman whose says on his company website "My philosophy is that pictures are not employed to fill space but tell a story". 

 Wishing you all a Happy Christmas

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Religious Christmas - celebrate at See It On A Postcard 

Friday, 23 December 2016

December Fun

What better way to spend part of the winter holidays than hurtling down a slope on a sleigh although perhaps the bear doesn't agree. The excitement is increased by a flying owl and galloping fox keeping pace.  I always enjoy all the little details Inge Löök puts in her art like the rabbit on the front with its ears flying back and the elves in the background getting the next sled ready for another exciting ride. I am sure you will be able to spot some more.  Thanks to Eeva for sending me a lovely bundle of wintery postcards for Christmas from Finland which enabled me to show the joy of the elves winter sport as imagined by Inge Löök.

Wishing winter fun and a Merry Christmas to you all. 

Postcards for the Weekend theme - December Holidays - enjoy the season at Connections to the World.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winter Solstice

2001: Christmas Stamps
Here are some of Santa's little helpers on a First Day Cover from Finland

A girl elf with her plaited hair looking through Santa's A-Z book. Is that a J on the page?  Hope my names there!  The presents are then delivered on a moonlit winter's night by an elf boy on a kick sled.  These stamps were the last to be issued in Finnish currency (the markka) the next ones in January 2002 would be in euros.  The stamps are illustrated by Pekka Vuori (b1935) a famous illustrator of his own and other Finnish authors children's literature.
Pekka Vuori likes to draw Finnish folk heritage and continues his illustrated envelope on the reverse with what must be a hare, associated with the moon in cultures across the world and of course is supposed to be magical. 
2016: Christmas Stamps
Father Christmas is also busy delivering parcels and when he has finished whizzes home on his empty sledge. These are illustrated by Fredrik Skavlan, Norwegian TV host and children's illustrator.
Lastly is one of this year's Finnish stamps called 'Run My Reindeer' which was one of the winners for this year's competition to design Christmas stamps.  Yes I'd like to cuddle a reindeer too and this stamp makes me feel as warm and fuzzy as those gloves.  The illustrator, Sari Airola, says
"To me, one of the most important aspects of Christmas is friendship and caring for others. I wanted my stamp design to conjure up friendship and warmth. I selected classic Finnish Christmas characters, a reindeer and an elf. The reindeer is related to Father Christmas and Lapland, and Finnish elves traditionally care for farm animals and the inhabitants of forests. My stamp design depicts the friendship between the two characters during a Christmas trip."

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Secular Christmas - enjoy the solstice at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 16 December 2016


A lot of people will be doing this soon, whether travelling home for the holidays or just travelling to friends or family for Christmas.  The card is simply called 'Asemalla', Finnish for 'At The Station'.  Our traveller is wrapped up warm with a nice pair of boots and as the snow swirls around, a distant sound can be heard, suddenly, bright lights pierce the dark and the train comes into view. I have stood on a lot of cold stations in winter over my life and it is always a relief when the train arrives and one can sit down in the warmth.  Of course this train would be even more welcome to me because it is a steam one.  But who is the traveller on the postcard?  The artist is  Heikki Laaksonen who paints oils of the Finnish countryside but also a lot of gnomes, especially ones at Christmas for his postcards.  Who knew they travelled by train.

Fancy some competitive skiing at Christmas? Here is the sticker Eeva put on the back of the postcard.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - December Holidays - travel to the Linky Party at Connections to the World      

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Snowy Tops

1985: Mountains in the Antarctic
Let's head over to some inhospitable mountains in Antarctica located in Queen Maud Land. This is part of the Norwegian Antarctica where there are 12 research stations, only 6 of which are occupied all year round. 

Here are the stamps
with their little teams of huskies. On the left is Sagbladet or The Saw Blade and on the right Hoggestabben Butte, a butte is an isolated hill with vertical sides and a relatively flat top, and the translation of Hoggestabben is - The Chopping Block.
1991: Mount Hengshan (Shanxi Province)
A more accessible mountain in China is next and it is the northernmost of "The Five Great Mountains of China",  Mount Hengshan in Shanxi Province.  A mountain sacred to Taoists but one of the least visited of the sacred mountains and so relatively less commercialised. The wikipedia article is quite lyrical about it saying that to get to the top is "a lovely hike of three hours where the summit is covered in fragrant lilac blossom in June"   
Its most famous aspect is the Hanging Temple which is set into a sheer precipice 246 ft (75m) high. It was built in 386-534 and unusual in that it combines three traditions - Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

 55 - Shrine of Hengshan carved in the rock face  80 - Temples in Flying Stone Grotto

The mountain was painted by Yang Wenqing (b1954) and engraved by Li Defu.  Yang Wenqing has painted many stamps for China Post and won the Best Stamp Painting award in 1980 and 1982.
Lastly is a stamp featuring the Rätikon Massif and the Lindauer Hütte which perches at 1300m, perhaps a good place to take off ones hiking boots for rest and recuperation ready for the next day in the mountains.  Featured on one of Austria's lovely definitive stamp series of the 1970s sometimes called Beautiful Austria, although my catalogue calls them rather prosaically 'views'.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Mountains - reach the heights at See It On A Postcard   

Friday, 9 December 2016


This postcard shows the low light of winter sun in Lapland.  Looking up how long the day is in this the second week of December I find that the sun arrives at 10am and sets at 2.30pm. Snow of course is guaranteed although its depth will vary depending on which part of Lapland one is.  The Sami people have herded reindeer for centuries here and the reindeer ear markings show who they belong to, useful for their are five hundred thousand of them roaming across the three areas of Lapland.

Reindeer are marvelously adapted for the conditions of winter, their pads shrink and tighten exposing the sharp rims which become almost non slip and these sharp rims also enable them to cut through ice and crushed snow which also make it easy for them to dig through snow for food, their favourite being a lichen - reindeer moss. Another advantage is their two fur coats insulating them from the cold, a dense woolly undercoat and a longer haired outer coat consisting of hollow, air filled hairs. Just like growing their own duvet.  I wonder which reindeer Santa Claus has chosen for his sledge this year?

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Winter Scenes - joining the winter party at Connections to the World

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Animals Awake and Asleep

2016: Hibernating Animals
Its snooze time for these little creatures on the latest series of the Post and Go stamps which in November featured four hibernating animals.  I like how the artist, Chris Wormell, uses a circle as a theme
showing the animals curled up for the winter.  I think I would like to do that too. The question is which one would I like to be, the dormouse with its fast beating heart, the leathery brown long eared bat, the prickly hedgehog or the slithery grass snake. The dormouse looks to have the coziest nest which may sway my decision, and perhaps I would have an invite to the Mad Hatters Tea Party.
2015: Alice In Wonderland
Some larger animals are roaming the Romanian countryside
1993: Mammals
European Pine Martin, Red Squirrel and Alpine Chamois
Red Fox
European Mouflon or wild sheep , Common Genet, and another appearance for the dormouse this time at its active time of year.  I've never seen a genet but there colouring looks lovely, an introduced species from Africa, it likes a wooded habitat.
Lastly a stoat and and an Egyptian mongoose or Ichneumon that likes to bask in the early morning sun. I've never seen one of these in real life either but Kipling's tale of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and his fight with the cobras is hard wired into my brain from childhood.
Rikki Tikki Tavi the mongoose and cobra’ by Charles Maurice Detmold in Kipling's Jungle Book 1902
An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Wild Animals - roam free at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 2 December 2016

Pointe du Raz

Le phare de la Vieille et la pointe du Raz
The wild Atlantic Ocean boils around the La Vieille lighthouse at the Pointe du Raz in on the western tip of Brittany, France.  This lighthouse started operating in 1887 after five years of construction delayed by fierce tides and the fact that they could only build for half of the year because of the conditions.  La Vieille or The Old Lady and its companion the Petite Vieille, guide mariners through Raz de Sein with its whirlpools, strong currents and sharp rocks. The Point du Raz lighthouse that can be seen on the rocky headland in the distance consists of a lighthouse and a lighthouse keepers cottage but stopped operating in 1887, presumably when the grouping of lighthouses out at sea came 'on stream'.

This part of the coast is a popular tourist destination with the added interest of spotting the lighthouse when one gets to the end,  however the photographer, Jean Guichard, has braved the elements with his photograph.  For landlubbers the Finistère coast has attractive coastal paths and if you want to go for more than a saunter then this is the western end of the E5 European Long Distance footpath which runs for 3200 km (1988 miles) to Italy.

Postcards for the Weekend theme this week - Lighthouses - set sail to see more at Connections to the World

Sunday, 27 November 2016


2015: Inventive Britain
The 'Inventive Britain' set of stamps won the Asiago award for philatelic art in 2015, who said that the stamps  "difficult subject" succeeded in "creating striking images visually perfect with concise captions but easily understood". 
L to R is the 1st Class  - Colossus computers who were developed by British code-breakers in 1943-45 and is considered the world's first electronic digital computer. Designed by the research telephone engineer Tommy Flowers but hushed up for the perceived security reasons  many decades after the war had ended.  (The scan doesn't really bring out the centre strip which looks like one of the old punched cards used in computers)   1st Class - World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee invented the first web browser and the HTML language when working at CERN in 1989 to be able to share data easily 81p - Catseyes, invented by Percy Shaw and always voted for as one of the top ten British inventions in the UK, simple yet effective. The first thought that came into my mind when seeing this one was the road safety advice 'dip don't dazzle!
81p Fibre Optics, a term coined by Narinder Singh Kapany, but the stamp celebrates Charles Kao and George Hockam's pioneering rapid data transfer technology for communications. £1.28 Stainless Steel created by Harry Brearley in 1914 he originally called it rustless steel and is credited as inventing the first commercially viable corrosion resistant stainless steel. The more you stare at this stamp the more it seems to bevel. £1.28 - Carbon Fibre, stronger and lighter than metal, invented by William Watt 
£1.47 - DNA Sequencing, a method of mapping DNA invented by the Nobel winning scientist Frederick Sanger in the 1960s-70s.  It is also the theme of the FDC photograph and the cancel is from his birthplace of Gloucester.  Lastly £1.47 - I-Limb a bionic hand invented by David Gold and his team at the Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II - 20th Century Inventions - discover more at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 25 November 2016

Lancaster Maritime Museum

There is snow on the fells and frosty starts to the days here so I thought this view of Lancaster Maritime Museum in winter would be appropriate for the time of year.  The museum is located by the side of the River Lune on St George's Quay and its original purpose was as a Customs House. You will observe that the Georgian building is surrounded by what were originally bonded warehouses.  The building was designed by Richard Gillow (architect and cabinet maker) and built in 1769, closing as a Customs House in 1882 when the customs were transferred to Barrow and much later opened as a museum in 1985. In the terrible winter storms last year the museum was flooded and has been closed for repairs but part of the collection housed in the adjoining warehouse has just reopened.

The museums in Lancaster face an uncertain future due to local government cuts.  The Judges Lodgings which houses a wonderful collection of Gillows furniture and a childhood museum is closed, there have been murmurings about changes, none of them good, to the main museum as well as the Maritime Museum seen on the postcard.    

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Museum/University Library - learn more at Connections to the World.

Sunday, 20 November 2016


1993: Greetings Stamps
Oh look William has found a nice present for his sister Ethel!  Generations of children have enjoyed the adventures of this mischievous schoolboy and his gang, the Outlaws. Richmal Crompton (1890-1969) published her first book Just Willliam about his adventures in 1922 and in the following years many more followed, many radio and television series have also aired since, the latest one being only a few years ago. There have been a number of illustrators of the books over the years but Thomas Henry is the one inextricably linked with William and the illustrator of the stamp Paul Slater has recreated his style.
1995: Greetings Stamps
Children often appear on the paintings of LS Lowry (1887-1976) whatever the subject, he is usually associated with his views of the urban and industrial north.  I always look for a dog in his painting because there is usually at least one in the background somewhere, but not in this case.  This painting is just called, Children Playing. I wonder what the game is?
1937: Child Welfare
Like William here is another laughing boy but this time from long ago and painted by Frans Hals (1582-1666) but he does look more angelic.

Here are some organisations formed to channel all  that youthful energy, first the Boy's and Girl's Brigade
1982: Youth Organisations

and Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

 I was amused to notice this cancel from 1982  in my collection, years before the internet changed all our lives
'Everyone's shopping by post these days'.  The stamps were designed by the illustrator Brian Sanders who has produced many stamps including a whole series for World War II.  His life in five decades of illustrations can be seen here.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Children - play along at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 18 November 2016

Girl Reading

Girl Reading by Harold Knight
The view from the window shows a bare branched tree and a hazy view, perhaps the windows are a little steamed up from the warmth of the room. What better place to recline on a winters day, to read and then perhaps muse while looking out of the window. Whoever she is and wherever this window view is  it looks an extremely comfortable place to recline.    

The painting is 'Girl Reading' by Harold Knight (1874-1961) exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1932. Harold is less known than his artist wife Laura who he married in 1903,  their painting styles possibly reflect their personalities, Harold quiet and Laura exuberant.  He painted mostly portraits and interiors, quite a few of which are of girls reading or immersed in a task.  He and Laura spent several years in Holland studying the Dutch Masters and that influence can be seen (keeping to this week's theme) in a painting like Reading At The Window  

Postcards for the Weekend theme this week is - Books/Reading/ Authors - read more at Connections to the World

Sunday, 13 November 2016

War and Peace

2011: Remembrance Day( Designer: Tim Hancock)
Australia issued two stamps for Remembrance Day in 2011 and also two maximum cards (one of which I have shown before here).  Soldiers, poppies and the poem 'In Flanders Field' are on both.
The card is a photograph of Australian soldiers at Bapaume, France. The village was occupied by the Germans at the beginning of WW1 in September 1914 and was within sight of the Australian trenches in the winter months at the beginning of 1917. The Germans gave the illusion of retreat as spring approached and the allied troupes celebrated but the Germans were actually moving 7 kilometres to a better, and newly developed, defensive zone 'the Hindenburg Line'. Four Australian divisions were thrown in reaching the outskirts of the village on 17th March where booby traps and time bombs had been left behind .  The Germans would briefly retake the village in March 1918 but the second battle 21 Aug-3 Sept was the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.

The "war to end all wars" led to another World War and once again countries were destroyed.
This Guernsey FDC celebrates the anniversary of the liberation of the islands from foreign troops in May 1945, the painting of the scene on the steps I think might be the reading of the official proclamation of liberation and the message from the King which has appeared on other stamps of Guernsey but I like the optimism of the Peace stamp on this cover.
1985: Peace in Europe (Liberation Day 9th May 1945)
Which as we know did not continue but that doesn't stop people of good heart  promoting peace
1983: Centenary of the Swedish Peace Movement (Svensk Fredsrörelse)
The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association was formed in 1883 and is the oldest peace organisation in the world today.  There is a rather Monty Python moment to the English speaker on the stamp with the name Fred! on the banner of the peace demonstration but the Swedish for peace is fred.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Peace or War - join the fray at See It On A Postcard