Sunday, 23 July 2017

Mongolia

This week's Sunday Stamp theme about places and building you would like to visit set me a dilemma because that is usually a thought I have whenever I see somewhere I haven't been on a stamp or postcards, however a decision has to be made. I decided on a place that has fascinated me through travel films and books of its culture and scenery the 'Land of the Eternal Blue Sky' - Mongolia.
1982: Landscapes and Animals
From the Gobi Desert to the mountains Mongolia has an amazingly diverse landscape, and climate. This stamp shows a beaver and Lake Hovd but the others in the set show seven distinct landscapes.
1969: Landscapes and Flowers
This set features some of  Mongolia's wildflowers, here is variegated pink or carnation (dianthus).
1969: 10th Anniversary of Co-operative Movement
Of course I would want to see the horses that are eternally linked with Mongolia whether it is the history of the Golden Horde or the more peaceful herding as featured in this stamp of the painting 'Horse-herd' by A. Sengetsohyo which is displayed in the National Gallery in Ulan Bator.  Yes I would have to fit in a visit to an art gallery too and
1968: Mongolian Paintings
perhaps stay in a Mongolian ger or yurt. Ger in the Mongolian language refers to their traditional portable dwelling place but carries an added meaning of home, household or family. The stamp features the painting 'Camel Calf by B. Avarzad.  The temperature in Mongolia can range from -35 to +40 Celsius (-31 to +104 Fahrenheit) so as I am a bit of a softy spring or summer would be my preference
On Remote Roads by A. Sagatzohyo
although winter might have its charms or challenges.  Who might be met on this remote road?
1969: Mongolian Costumes
Costumes from the far west of Mongolia, a frontier land of snow-capped mountains, lakes, deserts and pastureland.



An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - place you would love to see - take a trip at See It On A Postcard

 
  

Leap for London Bridge

One of the postcards issued to support London's bid to stage the Olympics in 2012 featured Tower Bridge being hurdled. Another of the cards featured a gymnast on 'The Gherkin' skyscraper (30 St Mary Axe) which can be seen on the right through the bridge.  Despite visiting London many times I've never actually been on the trip inside the bridge towers to view among other things the Victorian Engine Room, which once used steam to raise the bascule and allow the tall ships up and down the Thames River.
The reverse of the card bullet points what London was promising to deliver.  Work had started on the bid in 1997 but I would guess the card dates from between 2003 when parliamentary approval and the associated funding needed was given and the games being awarded to the city in 2005. I found the card when browsing a second hand bookshop in central England, it hadn't travelled as far as some of the competitors who enthralled us in the weeks of the sporting competition.

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Bridges - cross over to Connections to the World 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Ancient Statues

Definitives issued 1914-1922
The mysterious Great Sphinx of Giza, in Arabic Abū al-Haul, which translates as The Terrifying One believed to have been created circa 2558–2532 BC. Photographs of the Sphinx from all its giant angles can be seen here.   A mythical creature with the head of a man and the body of a lion. So what about seeing some lions
1950s: Official Stamps
which at 7ft (2.15m) are small in comparison to the sphinx but this once stood on a tall pillar in Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh) and this polished sandstone capitol is now in the museum there.  It is the most important of many lion columns that were put up by Ashoka and the most elaborate, there are four lions which symbolise the four noble truths of Buddhism.  Today it is also a national emblem of India
1984: Parthenon Marbles
Next we have a human statue although not quite for this is Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest or more particularly wine, but also madness, vegetation and the theatre
1959: Ancient Greek Theatre
where this fellow would perform because this 3rd Century statuette portrays an actor.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Statues or Monuments -  at See It On A Postcard
 
    

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Smolny Cathedral

The Smolny Cathedral in St Petersburg was originally built to be the central church of a monastery and with the other churches in the complex forms a cross.  Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, started to build a convent just before here 40th birthday for 120 young women with herself as prioress; I don't know if she was going to install her lovers here as well.  It did not look possible that she would ever rule Russia but after a coup by the royal guards, carried out with her involvement, she quickly decided that the religious life was not for her and accepted the offer of the Russian throne.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The architect is the famous Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who created many of the iconic buildings in St Petersburg including the Winter Palace in the same baroque confection.  Thousands of people were involved in the construction but Elizabeth died in 1761 with the cathedral still unfinished, it was finally completed in 1835 but closed in 1923 after the Russian revolution and used as a storage facility when much of the original interior was destroyed . In 1990 it was made into a concert hall although I read it is presently undergoing refurbishment. 


Postcard for the Weekend theme - Places of Worship - pray visit Connections to the World

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Aerial Views

2008: Gorgeous Australia
The spectacular Grose River Gorge in the Blue Mountains of Australia, a labyrinths of gorges and and canyons which the Grose River has carved out over the millennia leaving these sheer sandstone cliffs.
2013: National Parks
A different terrain on one of Finland's attractive series of National Parks stamps, in this case a beautiful aerial view of Nuuksion National Park whose green forests and rocky crags are within easy access of those wanting to walk through nature from Helsinki.
1935/6- George V Definitives - Landscapes
I love a port so would enjoy sailing into this one because Colombo is one of the busiest ports in the world.
1963: 40th Anniversary of Sabina Airline
An aerial view requires an aircraft (or a drone) so here is an aeroplane  from what was Belgium's national airline flying over Brussels in a stamp celebrating its 40th anniversary.   Sabena went into liquidation in 2001 so didn't reach its centenary. 
1962|: Space Research (2nd Series)
For an even better aerial view lets take a rocket into space



An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Aerial Views - for the overview See It On A Postcard

Friday, 16 June 2017

Pass the Post

Postbox LA8 39, Levens, near the Strickland Arms, Cumbria
The arrow of the coast to coast National Cycle Route 70 from Walney Island (the Irish Sea) to the Wear (the North Sea)  points the rider onward.  The perfect opportunity to post postcards in the wall box on the way past.

The Postal Picture will be quiet for a few week as I'm heading to an island of green postboxes, taking pictures and twirling the postcard carousels.   

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Gardens and Forests

2016: Landscape Gardens
In 2016 Royal Mail celebrated the 300th anniversary of Lancelet 'Capability' Brown's birth with some of the significant landscape gardens he created.  Nicknamed Capability Brown because he used to say to those wishing to employ him that their garden or land had "great capability for improvement".  He completely changed the gardens in the 18th Century from the formal French style into the artifice of what looked like a natural landscape.
He worked as Head Gardner at Stowe (bottom left stamp above) and created the Grecian Valley for Lord Cobham and from there everyone wanted to employ him on their estates. Creating lakes, serpentine rivers, bridges, woods and hills on country estates something triggered in the English psyche and we continue to love them.   
150 of  the 250 sites he designed survive today and the National Trust highlight some of them here
2011: Europa - Forests
 But lets head into the woodland of Luxembourg.  The stamps were created by the artist and naturalist Alan Johnston and painted outdoors to "capture the climatic, ecological and geological characteristics of the environment".
2016: Visiting Card From Finland
I love the misty landscape of woods and water on this FDC, it is almost as if one were a bird flying over it.
The 'visiting card' title of this duo  is of course because these are the stamps used on international postcards. The one on the left is  Nuuksio National Park in Southern Finland ("a hikers paradise") and the other is the fresh green leaves of a birch tree in sunlight.



An entry to Sunday Stamps II them - Gardens or Forests - wander and wonder at  See It On A Postcard

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Three Dragons

Flag of Wales – Y Ddraig Goch
Although the dragon on the green and white background only became the official flag of Wales in the 20th Century as the card says on the back "Since the time of Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, the dragon has been used on the Standards of the Welsh Kings. It was believed that the dragon protected his own and inspired terror in the enemy".

The dragon stamp on the maximum card is from the "Celebrating Wales" miniature sheet issued in 2009, one of a series of miniature sheets celebrating the countries that make up the United Kingdom.
Conwy Castle Ramparts

Here are couple of welsh flags I saw flying on the ramparts of Conwy Castle in the gloom of a rainy day.


Postcards for the Weekend theme - Flags - flying at Connections to the World 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Lettering

2008: Europe - The Letter
What better way to start than to say 'Hello'.  The illustrator Edward Fulglø has chosen the informal Hey (pronounced 'huhy' in Faroese).  The stamp is one of two issued for the 2008 Europa theme "The Letter".  I like how he combines the @ sign with a posthorn. Fulglø's  website contains all his stamp designs each with a little exposition on the subject matter and in this case  "Letters and Haste".
1983: Festival of Rebirth
There is a whole lot going on in this stamp and it is a personal favourite, not only for the tractor /cow vibe but that wonderful serpentine khmer alphabet  and of course we have all the other fonts as well.
2013: Traditional Rituals and Customs (Designer - Simion Zamşa)
A nice spiky font and another festival, this time 'Paparuda' - a ritual to summon the rain which takes place in spring. I don't think anyone will be trying this one in lee of the Atlantic weather system in Britain.
1900-1916: Definitive
Browsing my stamps I noticed some of the pre 1945 Hungarian designs have some interesting fonts, for instance this Magyar Kir Posta (Hungarian Royal Post).  This country name fits itself around the flying bird which is the Tural, a mythical bird of the Magyars seen here hovering above the Crown of St Stephen.
1978: PRAGA 78 International Stamp Exhibition, Prague Town Hall
Lastly a lovely ornate country name on this stamp set featuring the Prague Town Hall Astronomical Clock which dates from medieval times (1410) although the detail on the stamp is part of the calendar dial of 1865 by Josef Mánes which features zodiac signs and as shown on the stamp above - Prague city arms.




An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Interesting Fonts - See It On A Postcard  


 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Greenland

The largest island in the world and the card gives the latitude and longitude (also helpfully marking the arctic circle) so perhaps one could plot a route to Greenland.  There will be no trouble finding a post office because that is what all the red dots are around the coast on the postcard.  Nuuk on the south west coast is not only Greenland's capital but the home of the giant Santa Claus Post Box
Image from Wikipedia
where letters to the jolly gentleman are gathered all year round.  Razlan from Hong Kong also called in to the nearby tourist post office and shared his photo on Flickr here  Of course another way to 'visit' Greenland is by post and this is what one Canadian postal enthusiast is doing with post office cover cancels  here.  



Postcards for the Weekend theme - Country Map - navigate to Connections to the World
  

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Pets


Cats seem to rule the internet (possibly in their quest for world domination) so it is appropriate that this Alderney set of stamps is called "In Praise of the Cat".
1996: In Praise of the Cat
The artist is the Guernsey born Peter Le Vasseur; I wonder if he has some mischievous cats of his own?
Balls of wool and playful cats seem to go together and also the warning to keep them away from the fish tank
1975: Aquarium Fish
especially if one doesn't want a veil-tailed goldfish to go missing. The stamp engraver is the prolific, and award winning,  Josef Hercík (1922-1999)
1996: Australian Pets (Designer: Dianne Cook)
If you are highly energetic and enjoy long walks then maybe the pet of choice would be a Blue Heeler dog, they are also highly intelligent so like to be entertained.  As a working dog breed they are also called Australian Cattle Dogs and nip at the heels of the cattle they herd, could be useful for rounding up small children.
1974: Young Animals
For an easier and more relaxing life perhaps try a fluffy baby bunny.


An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Pets - enjoy more companions on See It On A Postcard

Friday, 26 May 2017

Street Scene

Sedan Chair, Seoul, Korea
A moment captured in time as a group of men walk quickly towards us with their coats flying outwards with their movement. The overcoats are called durumagi a traditional garment worn not only against the cold but for ceremonial purposes.  I've shown this card before on my blog (back in 2011), but it is one of my favourites so how could I resist using it for the 'Street Scene' theme.  

I wonder who is hidden from view in the sedan chair?   The uses of the sedan chair (or gama) in Korea are summed up by Wikipedia 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".
 The card was sent in 1907, not from Korea, but the the seaside town of Weymouth on the south coast of England to Staines just outside London
and as it was the 23rd December then it comes a message "I must wish a very merry Christmas, hoping you are well and got better weather than we have" .


Postcards for the Weekend theme - Traditional Street Scene - walk over to Connections to the World