Sunday, 20 May 2018

National Parks

1989: National Parks I (Design - Anders Gullberg; Engravers - Zlatko Jakus and Lars Sjööblom)
The insert card for this FDC says "Blå Junfrun is the most legendary of our national parks.  Seen from the mainand or Oland it is like a bewitching dome with the highest point 86m above sea level. Blå Junfrun became a national park in 1936."   It doesn't tell the full story for this blue granite dome is said to be home to witches and has a mystical stone labyrinth, its name translates into English as The Blue Maiden.

The FDC features a mountain stream which was drawn by the stamp designer Anders Gullberg
and the stamps show the black guillemots  which live on the island and next to them Rhododendron Iapponicum, the only Swedish rhododendron species and below that the fairy slipper orchid (Caypso bulbosa) which grows in the damp mossy forests of Sweden.

The Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus visited Blå Junfrun as he travelled through Sweden classifying flora and fauna 
2017: Birds of Prey (Merlin and Eurasian Hobby)
and one of the birds he classified is seen here flying over water on a Norwegian stamp, the Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo),
2015: National Parks - The Wadden Sea (Design - Jakob Monefeldt; Engraver - Bertil Skov Jørgensen
Staying with another sea facing national park here is the Wadden Sea where the coastline spreads across three countries (Denmark, Netherlands and Germany) each with their own national park, the Danish National Park is the smallest.  The miniature sheet features a Texel sheep and a black tailed godwit roaming the tidal flats and wetlands with a group of harbour seals taking their ease by the shallow waters.
2013: Nuuksio National Park (Design - Teemu Ollikainen)
More water but this time a peaceful Finnish lake in the Nuuksio National Park.
1962: Nikko National Park
Water on the move powering through the Senyru-kyo Narrows, Shiobara in the Nikko National Park.  Shiobara is famous for its hot springs, mountain streams, waterfalls and the beauty of its autumn colours.  The early Japanese national parks stamps were all monochrome so we don't get to see those autumn colours but maybe imagine that the misty steam from the hot springs is obscuring our view.  

Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter N - here for National Parks, Nature, Norway, Nuuksio, Nikko and Nippon - visit  See It On A Postcard

Friday, 18 May 2018

Traditional Costumes

So which part of Ukraine would you like to wear a traditional costume from?  As I like green I might pick the one at the top which would also mean I get to wear those neat red boots.  The evocative flower garland also makes an appearance and always brings to my mind long summer days.  Marina, the sender of the card, lives in the south of Ukraine in Melitopol so I guess she gets to wear the green jacket and red headscarf on the bottom right.

The flower that weaves its way through the country map I think is supposed to be a mallow which for Ukrainians symbolises love of home and the nation and can be often seen on decorative embroidery and folk costumes. According to legend it is considered to give protection and for that reason can be found growing and guarding the front of many Ukrainian homes.    

Postcards for the Weekend theme - Costumes - dress to impress at Connections to the World

Sunday, 13 May 2018


2013: The Three Legs of Man (Design - Emma Cooke)
Some things instantly say the Isle of Man, one is the triskelion or Thee Legs of Man, the island's symbol for thousands of years. When Emma Cooke moved from Aberdeen to the Isle of Man in the year 2000 she also was fascinated by the emblem that appears in all different contexts throughout the island and in an ongoing project started to photograph them. The stamp features one of the photographs from the hundreds she has taken.

The other image that springs to my mind are the Manx TT Races and the motorbikes
1994: Manx Tourism Centenary (Design - Colleen Corlett)
zooming around the island here shown with the Red Arrow Display team flying overhead.  This is a stamp from a rather attractive booklet they issued featuring a year of events complete with descriptions on the selvedge and caption stickers to put on your postcards.
1974: Tourist Trophy Motorcycle Races (Design - John H Nicholson)
As you can imagine stamp issues featuring motorbikes make a regular appearance on Isle of Man stamps.  This is one of the earliest (although not the first) after Manx postal independence in 1973.  It features Freddy Frith in 1937 when he set the first 90 mph plus lap of the Snaefell Mountain Course.   One of the most famous and greatest racers, Mike Hailwood, also features on this set but as I don't have that one then
1982: 75th Anniversary of Tourist Trophy Motorcycle Racing PHQ Card (Design - John H Nicholson)
here the artist shows him in 1961 when he became the first man to win three races in one week in different categories, it was a good year for him because he also won the 250cc World Championships.
2003: Post Office Vehicles (Design - Peter Hearsey)
Some people who rode the roads around the island throughout the year were the GPO telegram delivery boys on their BSA Bantams. I could have said zoomed around the island except  that would have been an exaggeration because the three-speed gearboxes were governed to restrict their top speed.

Sunday Stamps II prompt of the letter M - for Motorbike and Isle of Man - motor over to See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Take a L-etter

2007: Gibraltar Postal Anniversaries (Design - Anselmo Torres)
A letter is on a journey.  This particular one is dated 1857 which was the year British postage stamps were first used in Gibraltar after the merging of the maritime Packet Agency and Overland Post. The stamps are cancelled with Gibraltar's letter G.

The letter may arrive at its country of destination in
1974: Centenary of the Letter Carrier Delivery Service (Design: Stephen Menni)
large overflowing bags.  It will then have to be
1986: Definitive - The Post Past and Present (Design - Klaus Oberli ; Engraver - Max Müller)
sorted. I can't make up my mind whether this is inside a sorting office or it is a travelling post office.  But if it is on board a train then the  central station of the city Winterthur on the cancel is one of the busiest on the Swiss Railway Network.

Well our postie will have to get his skates on from there
1997: Globi (Designer - Heiri Schmid)

to Zurich.  This is Globi the well travelled blue parrot created by Robert Lips (1912-1975) and
you can tell its always an adventure for Globi for he has exchanged his normal black beret for a postman's hat.
2017: 200 Years of the KK Breifsammelskelle Balzers (Design: Christine Böhmwalder)
In more sedate times the personal touch. The stamp commemorates a part of postal history when a mail station was opened in Balzers on 1 September 1817 and its operation entrusted to Austria.  Before 1912 the stamps of Austria were used in Liechtenstein (marked KK Österr.) but after the war and post-war inflation Liechtenstein finished the arrangement in 1920.
The maximum card features the postman Franz Frick (1906-1975) part of an independent postal service.
And who does not love the thunk of mail coming through the letter box and for me associated with an excited squeal and running feet, hopefully not to be disappointed with junk mail and bills and a disappointed - meh.  All this set of Canadian stamps have the year of issue hidden in the stamp, this one can be seen on the package he is carrying.  The Canadian mail handler (2nd stamp down) has a date on the ceiling to his right.  For the others of the set and their hidden numbers (and to save you squinting) click on the stamps here 

The Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter L - for Letters and Liechtenstein - See It On A Postcard

Sunday, 29 April 2018


1966: Wildlife (Design - Rena Fennessy)
The distinctive patterns of a kudu appear in all their glory in this stamp, these 'pencil' stripes can vary in number from 4 to 12. The artist is Rena Fennessy who created art for most of the post independent East African countries for about 25 years. She also drew birds and animals for field guides while creating her own art work of East African wildlife and scenery.  The only other thing I could find out about her was she lived in Nairobi and was possibly British. Must be quite a thrill to be able to stick one of your own stamps on a letter.  Well you see one Kudu and then two more come along at the same time...
1964-66: Definitive (Design - Victor Whiteley)
An alert kudu in a forest of young trees showing off its spiraling horns and
1998-2000 Endangered species (3rd Series)
South Africa also chose a similar front view when they issued 'standard postage' booklets of antelope definitives.

While browsing my Ks I came across these which I thought would be rather topical this week with the talks between North and South Korea just ending.
1966: Reunification of North and South Korea
Lets hope for a more peaceful coexistence and something less bellicose.  Build and not destroy.
1965: Drawings of Kim Hong-do
The artist Kim Hong-do (1745-c1806) painted beautiful landscapes but also everyday life, the stamp features his drawing of building a house.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II prompt of the Letter K - for Kudu, Kenya and Korea - See It On A Postcard

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Sycamore Line

Autumn, sycamore leaves and creativity combine to form a beautiful bronze, gold and green splash of colour brightening up a peaty green Scottish beck near Glenfiddich. This is one of the ephemeral artworks created by Andy Goldsworthy called 'Line to follow colour rhythms in sycamore' in October 1990.

More pictures of Andy Goldsworthy's Land Art can be found here.

Postcard's for the Weekend theme - Patterns and Prints - Connections to the World

Sunday, 22 April 2018


2006 Prefecture Stamps (Shizuoka) : Kawazu Cherry Blossom (Design: Kentaro Taki)
The tree blossom is looking lovely here at the moment, the white being slightly ahead of the pink this year but both bringing joy and promise of the coming season.  To see early blooming cherry blossom then travel to the home of these stamps Shizuoka in Japan which is famous for the earliest bloom with the largest bright pink petals. Millions will travel to gaze at the 8000 cherry blossom trees celebrated in the February Cherry Blossom Festival.  The first stamp has the treat of both blossom and bird which is a Japanese White-eye (Zosterops japonicus) a bird often portrayed in Japanese art and indeed also on Japanese stamps.

After meditating peacefully surrounded by the beauty of the blossom maybe the next experience
1995: World Sports Championship
  would be to watch some judo at the World Judo Championships in  Makuhari, Chiba City, Japan.
2009: The 13th Games of the Small States of Europe (Design - Daniel Mangani)
Travel to Europe and Malta issued a set of stamps for the 2009 XIII Small States of Europe Games which was held in Cyprus. I think the judo stamp is possibly the least successful  stamp of the set with its subdued colouring, however for a polar opposite put on your shades
2009: Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 (Design - Studio David Hillman)
for one of the many stamps GB issued in the run up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The Sunday Stamps II prompt this week is the Letter J - here for Japan and Judo - See It On A Postcard