Who am I? What am I? Where have I gone?

This blog has been discontinued but will be left on the web for people to comment and, perhaps, to lead people to either my new postcard / letterbox blog –

Or my main blog – Rambles from my Chair


I look forward to seeing you there.

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Gone for Gold….


Red has been the standard color for the iconic U.K. mailboxes — known as pillar boxes — since 1874, but a number have now been turned gold in honour of all Team GB Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists as a way to help residents of their home towns to celebrate the historic victories.

A map of all the locations of the gold post boxes, as they are painted gold, is available at www.goldpostboxes.com. The pillar boxes were originally painted green to blend in with the landscape, but the red color was introduced in 1874 to make them more visible. It took 10 years to repaint all the post boxes, and the Royal Mail now maintains 115,000 red post boxes across the U.K.

A Royal Mail statement described the gold post boxes as “a highly visible and fitting way to recognize the successes of Team GB and ParalympicsGB gold medal wins during the games.”

The fast-turnaround commemorative stamps are a first for the Royal Mail. However, they did produce Olympic stamps during the last Olympic Games in London in 1948, when the stamps bore a simple design carrying the five Olympic rings.

I think the nearest pillar box to home will be that to mark Jade Jones’s gold medal winning performance. Royal Mail has painted a post box on Church Street, Flint, gold.

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I’m still away

I’m still away from home and the number of postcards awaiting my attention when I get home is growing like Topsy. It will make my return there quite special.

A lot of people have been asking if Royal Mail will be producing Gold Medal Stamps and painting pillar boxes gold to celebrate our Paralympians, when the London 2012 Paralympics Games start on the 29th of August.
In a first for the Paralympic Games, all Paralympian GB Gold Medallists will be honoured by Royal Mail with a post box painted gold in their home town.
Royal Mail will also feature every Paralympics GB Gold Medal winner in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, to be included in a set of stamps available after the Games.

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A Digression

I’m on holiday at the moment and have not seen many of the postcards received at home.  So here is a little digression…

Great Britain is now immersed in preparations for the games, and Royal Mail is not an exception! They’ve come up with a couple of interesting initiatives to honour Great Britain’s gold medalists.

To begin with, for each gold medal earned by Team GB, they plan to paint one of their famous red post boxes… gold! That’s right – for the first time ever, their iconic post boxes will be dressed in a different color. And the mailboxes will be picked according to the home town of the winners, so if you’re cheering for your town’s local athlete, keep an eye on your post box!

But that is not all! Royal Mail is also engaging in a race against time to have a commemorative stamp and their respective mini-sheet printed for each golden medalist the day after their medals are won – shortening the stamp making process to 24 hours or less!  They will work around the clock to accomplish this operation (including weekends!), delivering the special stamps overnight to 500 post offices around the UK.


Posted in Digressions, Royal Mail | 2 Comments

Card no 103 – Norma (Scrappy Grams) – Muncie, Indiana, USA

This came out of the blue from my blogging friend Scrappy Grams and was a very pleasant surprise.

According to the information on the back Indiana is called the Hoosier State.  I had to look this up:-

Hoosier is the official demonym for a resident of the U.S. state of Indiana. Although residents of most U.S. states typically adopt a derivative of the state name, e.g., “Indianan” or “Indianian”, natives of Indiana never use these derivatives. Indiana adopted the nickname “Hoosier State” more than 150 years ago.

The etymology of hoosier is unknown, but it has been used since at least 1830. According to Bill Bryson, there are many suggestions for the derivation of the word, but none is universally accepted. Jacob Piatt Dunn, longtime secretary of the Indiana Historical Society, noted that “hoosier” was frequently used in many parts of the South in the 19th century for woodsmen or rough hill people. He traced the word back to “hoozer,” from the Cumberland dialect of England. This derives from the Anglo-Saxon “hoo”, meaning high or hill. In Cumberland, “hoozer” meant anything unusually large, such as a hill. Immigrants from Cumberland settled in the southern mountains (Cumberland Mountains, Cumberland River, Cumberland Gap, etc.). Their descendants brought the name with them when they settled in the hills of southern Indiana.  But research published in 2007 by Jonathan Clark Smith of Hanover College offers a number of different conclusions and there is no certainty about any of them.

This card brings my total of state map postcards to eight.

This card arrived on 23rd June, travelled 3,778 miles and took 8 days.

 Total so far – 288,701 miles; 24 countries (including 9 US States).

Posted in U.S.A., US State Map | 1 Comment

Card no 102 – Viktorija (leilita) – Vilnius, Lithuania

This card shows a sculpture at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre. This sculpture of the three muses, by sculptor Stanislav Kuzma, leans out above the theatre and has become symbolic of Vilnius.

This stamp celebrates the Pilgrimage Route of Pope John Paul II.  As the 15th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic visit to Lithuania approached, ways were sought to mark the occasion and reflect on the memory of this Servant of God. The bishops of Lithuania proposed joining together the main shrines in Lithuania and that are connected with this Pope to form a Pilgrim Route of John Paul II. The Lithuanian government approved the plan for such a route on August 8, 2007. It currently includes 16 prominent pilgrimage sites. During his visit in 1993, Pope John Paul II gave valuable guidance for the life of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and for the nation as a whole.

This was my first card from Lithuania and takes my countries total to 24

This card arrived on 21st June, travelled 1,146  miles and took 9 days.

 Total so far – 284,923 miles; 24 countries (including 9 US States).

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Card no 101 – Hendrina (CarpeDiem55) – A village near Rotterdam and The Hague, The Netherlands (PC49)

This picture by Mondrian (1872-1944) is called “Composition L with red, yellow and blue” and was painted in 1921.  Piet Mondrian was born Pieter Mondriaan but between his 1905 painting, The River Amstel, and his 1907 Amaryllis, he changed the spelling of his signature from Mondriaan to Mondrian.  Born at Amersfoort in The Netherlands he lived much of his life in France. He was an important contributor to the De Stijl (The Style) art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors.  Immersed in the crucible of artistic innovation that was post-war Paris, he flourished in an atmosphere of intellectual freedom that enabled him to embrace an art of pure abstraction for the rest of his life. Mondrian began producing grid-based paintings in late 1919, and in 1920, the style for which he came to be renowned began to appear. (Wikipedia)

A most appropriate stamp for this card – a Mondrian no le gusta el verde is Spanish for ‘Mondrian does not like green’.  (It is in Spanish to celebrate Expo 92 which was held in Seville.)

I mentioned the story of this stamp here but this is a clearer picture of it with less franking.

This card arrived on 20th June, travelled 313  miles and took 6 days.

( + amendment for failuire to post 97 in correct order – 183 miles)

Total so far – 283,777 miles; 23 countries (including 9 US States).

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Card no 100 – Nelly (Nel80) – Marseilles, France

Another direct swap from Nelly and her son Theo.    Notre-Dame de la Garde is a basilica located in Marseille, France. This ornate Neo-Byzantine church is situated at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 162 m (532 ft) limestone outcrop on the south side of the Old Port. As well as being a major local landmark, it is the site of a popular annual pilgrimage every Assumption Day (August 15). Local inhabitants commonly refer to it as la bonne mère (“the good mother”).

This card arrived on 18th June, travelled 796  miles and took 5 days.

Total so far – 283,281 miles; 23 countries (including 9 US States).


Posted in Architecture, France | 1 Comment

Card no 99 – Danielle – Omaha, Nebraska, USA

This was a ‘direct swap’ although we’ve now swapped so many it’s more a case of sending to each other cards that we know the other person would like rather than directly swapping.   I like map cards and Route 66 is so well known.  But what I didn’t know is that by the 1980s it had pretty much been replaced by other highway systems.

This stamp commemorates the fact that Congress admitted New Mexico as the 47th state in the Union on January 6, 1912.

I’m known for the fact that I don’t watch films but one film I did watch (and love) was “A Bug’s Life”.  Some writing on the back of the stamp sheet reads:  There are so many great reasons to “Mail a Smile.” Perhaps you want to share a proud grin like Dash’s family in The Indredibles as they watch him race. Maybe it’s a smile that conveys the excitement of meeting new friends line Nemo and Squirt in Finding Nemo, or the trust and caring shared by Sulley, Mike Wazowski, and Boo from Monsters, Inc. Sometimes a smile says “you’re a rip-roaring good-time friend, ” like Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye from Toy Story 2. And for friends setting off on new adventures, Flick and Dot from A Bug’s Life send a smile of encouragement.  (Disney – Pixar, United States Postal Service)

This card arrived on 16th June, travelled 4,121 miles and took 7 days.

 Total so far – 282,485 miles; 23 countries (including 9 US States).

Posted in Maps, U.S.A. | 1 Comment

Card no 98 – Nelly (Nel80) – Marseilles, France

This was a direct swap.  This is a most attractive view of Marseilles, a city with much in common with my home city of Liverpool.

This stamp was issued in 2011 – the Blue Marianne (Europe 20g) and costs 77 Euros.

Marianne is a symbol of Republican France. A Marianne is a bust of a proud and determined woman wearing a Phrygian cap. She symbolises the attachment of the common citizens of the revolution to the Republic – Marianne is the personification of liberty, equality and fraternity.

This card arrived on 16th June, travelled 796 miles and took 3 days.

Total so far – 278,364 miles; 23 countries (including 9 US States).


Posted in Architecture, France, Landscape | 1 Comment