Sunday, 16 October 2016

Take the Biscuit

I'm lacking in stamps for this week's theme of Foods of the World but for those with a sweet tooth here are some Bagværk which Google translates as baked goods.  This may make more sense than its translation of the other words on the miniature sheet - 'hyggestunder en mørk tid' - candlestick a dark time.  I make a guess that this may be something to do with the Danish word, hygge, cosyness, which has a deeper meaning in their culture, something like the warm glow of candlelight and enjoying the good things of life with friends and family perhaps around a table with lots of food and sweet things.   These are Christmas Biscuits.  To my eyes they look like gingerbread men but in Denmark it takes a different twist for these are

2015: Christmas Biscuits
honey cake man, honey cake heart and honey cake woman.  The recipes for these can be traced back to the middle ages, today they are decorated with icing and can be hung on the Christmas tree. The advice is that the full flavour of the honey first appears after a week so bake in advance of Christmas.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Foods of the World - come to the table at See It On A Postcard

Friday, 14 October 2016

Calgary Cowboys

"Young Cow Punchers, Calgary"
A trio of "Cow Punchers" as the card calls them, in other words, cowboys.  Interesting that the boy who is about to brand the cow is wearing a flat cap.  Is that job demarcation!  The reverse of the card says
"This is the way they catch the cattle on the Prairie when they want to brand them", the farming recipient of the card, keeper of cows and collector of postcards, in the UK would have been interested on a number of levels.  The colourised card would have been sent in the first decades of the 20th century (some time after 1904 as that was the year that Canada introduced the divided back card).  Calgary was the heart of the cattle industry at the time.  I couldn't resist adding a 21st century stamp of a western saddle
2012: Centenary of the Calgary Stampede
Postcards for the Weekend theme - Children - join the Linky Party at Connections to the World

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Wartime Post

2015: Stories of the Great War Part II (Stamp Design: Charlotte Barnes)
What a mammoth task it was getting post to and from the front line in World War 1 and Guernsey Post celebrated those pieces of postal history that survive in 2015.  The items shown on the stamps were brought to Guernsey Post by family members in response to a request put out to the public in 2013 to share the islanders stories of the Great War.  Lets look at the stamp
The first (42p) shows Philip Carré, the island of Sark's postman who left home to volunteer in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry.  Many of his descendants still live on Sark including his great grandson, Simon, who is continuing the family tradition and is one of the island's postmen. Next (56p) is one of the mail boats that carried the mail across the English Channel, the steamship 'Vera' built on the Clyde in 1898. The 57p shows an embroidered sampler sending the Christmas greeting of Lt Peter Le Page of the Royal Army Medical Corps. A lot of these embroidered cards sent from soldiers to their sweethearts survive and I have two sent to my Grandmother by her first husband who sadly did not return from the war.
12,000 of the countries post office workers enlisted in the Post Office Rifles and the 62p stamp shows five Guernsey ex post officer workers, members of the 8th Battalion City of London Regiment, Private J G Fowler, AW Smith, LW Burridge, HF Taylor and RF DE Garis. Lawrence Burridge was killed in May 1916 aged 23 and Albert Smith died from gunshot wounds in December 1917 aged 25, the fate of the other three is not known.  The 68p stamp shows a pre-printed Field Service Postcard sent from Private Yves Cataroche.  The soldiers referred to these as Wizz Bangs (their nickname for the small German artillery shells) because they got through the censors so quickly.  Lastly the 77p stamp shows Robert and Ethel Bynam.  He was a postman who started as a telegram boy at 14 and like Philip Carré in the first stamp joined the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry' and like him continued as a postman after the war until retirement.  Ethel was a postmistress who would have understood the significance of how and where stamps are placed on cards, this one says 'longing to see you again'. Robert and Ethel married in 1922. Their grandson, Dave, is Head of Network Planning at Guernsey Post.  

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Postal Related.  Love Post - See It on A Postcard

Friday, 7 October 2016

Passing the Post Box

This man holding a large cauliflower always makes me smile.  I like to think he is returning home from his Allotment with this freshly dug prize specimen tucked under his arm for dinner.  The post box where he is posting his letter is another prize specimen for this is the hexagonal 'Penfold' (named after its designer) and some post box enthusiasts will travel the country for a sight and picture of one of these ornate pillar boxes.  The first one was installed in 1866 and they continued to be manufactured, with small design variations, for another thirteen years.  Their continuing popularity with people meant that around 1988/1990 Royal Mail introduced a replica made of cast iron from a mold of the original Penfold and installed them in places of historic interest; so as not to confuse the original with the replicas these have a plate on the base indicating its more modern date.  There is no indication on the postcard of where the box is or was but the year the photograph was taken is stated, 1949.

More 'Postcards for the Weekend' on the theme - Post/Mail Related Items at Connections to the World

Sunday, 2 October 2016


I knew instantly what stamps I would be showing this week when I saw the Sunday Stamps theme and it is these little birds with big personalities issued by the Isle of Man earlier this year. Painted by the graffiti artist and illustrator Matt Sewell they asked him especially to portray a Manx Shearwater for the set so that is the one we start with.  Centuries ago this bird was called the Manks Puffin, I wonder if that is why its Latin name is Puffinus puffinus  The bold text on the stamps immediately identify all the birds
Matt Sewell says he has been obsessed with bird for as long as he can remember and has published a series of books to share that obsession such as 'Our Garden Birds' and 'Owls - our most enchanting bird' (the first book he has published concentrating on just one order of birds)
  His latest book is 'Penguins and Other Sea Birds' which he describes as celebrating our coastal friends and those from around the world.
A very flashy hobby which looks as though it is dressed up for a night out.  I am always amazed by how long a cormorant can stop underwater.  I was watching one diving on a canal last week although it seemed to have as little success as the fisherman further down the towpath but it was fascinating to see where it would surface. I'd put money on the cormorant rather than the fisherman to finish the day with a catch.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Birds - fly over to See It On A Postcard to join the flock

Friday, 30 September 2016

Sheep Gathering

Sheep gathering in Skidadalur, North West Iceland
Autumn is the time for sheep gathering in Iceland and this postcard shows the farmers in the Skidadalur valley on their horses,  I can't spot the sheepdogs but perhaps they are still trying to get the sheep to go over the hill.

Icelandic sheep are kept under cover from November to May and set free in the mountain pastures a few weeks after lambing when they will enjoy the summer grazing on grass which will be spotted with sedge, willow, thrift and campions.  Their mountain idyll will be interrupted by the roundup, in Icelandic called réttir.  Everyone gets involved, as the sheep will be scattered far and wide and need to be maneuvered down steep hillsides and over mountain streams, this will take about a week with overnight stays in mountain huts.  The sheep have distinctive ear markings which identify which farmer they belong to and when they are all eventually herded to their destination will be sorted into pens by these markings.  Many more people will appear on the last day of the sorting to take part in the celebrations of the end of sheep gathering for the year, part of the Icelandic cultural heritage.  One can imagine those early Viking settlers who brought the first sheep all those centuries ago doing the same thing.

 Postcards for the Weekend theme - Domesticated Animals - enjoy more at Connections to the World 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Colours from Guernsey

1994: Europa - European Discoveries
A gorse fire on Guernsey in 1972 led to the rediscovery of Les Fouaillages, an ancient burial ground some 7000 years old. On investigation the site contained clues of what had happened over all those ancient times, from the arrival of the first farmers to the sand wave which engulfed the area 900 years ago.   They also discovered that when the original burial chamber was sealed a wooden structure had been built on top.
The stamps show anticlockwise from the bottom left  24p - the site as it is now and would have been. 30p - some of the most significant finds; the pots from c4,500BC, arrowheads from 2,500BC and a polished stone axe whose date lies somewhere in the middle of that period which I suppose shows the continual occupation of the site.  The warrior whose burial is featured was put to rest clothed in a woven material and accompanied by his sword, spear, shield, knife and bronze rings. The second 30p value depicts some of those artifacts.  The last 24p stamp shows the warrior in full flight as envisioned by the stamp designer Miranda Schofield, one of whose areas of expertise is the illustration of archaeological finds. While trying to find information about her (largely unsuccessful) I discovered there used to be something called the Ancient Monuments Drawing Office, one of the organisations we have to thank for illustrating historical sites and finds.  In modern times with the advent of the digital age this tends to be done by the excavating group. 

I liked those flashes of yellow on Miranda Schofield's stamps but for a more all over effect here are some flowers
1993: Guernsey Flowers
 and appropriate for this time of year, a spray of chrysanthemum.  Happily this set of 'Guernsey Flowers' also includes an orange one
the wonderfully named Enchantment Lily. Apart from being enchanting to look at it must be an enchantment for gardeners for it will grow in any soil, is hardy and easy to grow.  The stamps are by Guernsey's long time favourite for flower stamps, painter and illustrator Roger Gorringe. 

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Orange and/or Yellow - colour your day at See It On A Postcard