Friday, April 18, 2014

Wesołych Świąt

An Easter card from Poland

with a 2014 East Egg stamp

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April really is the cruelest month

The days when the weather was warm and sunny, it was far too windy to really enjoy the warmth and sun. 
On Monday, it got as high as 23ºC. 
Last night the temperature dipped to -8ºC.
Yesterday it snowed. Not much, but enough. 
That was after a day and night of rain. And cloudiness. Which meant there was no lunar eclipse viewing for us. I'd been looking forward to that as it was happening right at the time I'd be outside delivering my newspapers. Then this morning, as I was driving home, I caught a glimpse of this low riding, morning moon by the sunlit bathed condo building. 

(well, one of them is a blood-orange colour)
I just thought I'd share it with you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Parliament Buildings

The Parliament Buildings have featured on the definitive stamps several times. This series from 1977-79 which also includes a 1¢, 5¢, 12¢ is a one-colour steel engraved stamp based on a photograph by Reinhard Derreth from Vancouver and features an 'oblique view of the Centre Block with the Peace Tower predominating'.
Moving on to this series from 1985-89 designed by Montreal graphic artist Rolf Harder, we have the Parliamentary Library predominating. This view is from the back which overlooks the Ottawa River. Opened in 1876, the library was the only building spared when fire destroyed the Centre Block in 1916. An iron door separated it from the flames sweeping the remainder of the building. 

The 34¢ stamps issued in 1985 were printed in four-colour lithography and the 36¢ with added autumnal colours in 1987.
Above is another view of the Library for a stamp commemorating the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association issued in 1966. 
designed by Paul Aleksander Pedersen
picture engraved by Allan Alexander Carswell
lettering engraved by Donald J. Mitchell

and back to the front of the Parliament Buildings with the Centre Block and the Peace Tower flanked by Queen Victoria and King George IV. This stamp was issued to commemorate 100 years of responsible government, so the reigning queen in 1848 is shown with the reigning king in 1948.
The Parliament Building was used on this steel engraved stamp since it is 'the meeting place of the elected representatives of the people of Canada'. 
Picture engraved by Silas Robert Allen
Designed by Herman Herbert Schwartz

We are allowed to use the older stamps at face value on current letters, but I've just done a quick calculation to see the inflation rate (I have no idea how these things are figured out, I just used the Bank of Canada inflation calculator)

.04¢ stamp in 1948 would cost .44¢ in 2014 
.05¢ stamp in 1966 would cost .36¢ in 2014
.36¢ stamp in 1987 would cost .66¢ in 2014
.34¢ stamp in 1985 would cost .68¢ in 2014
.17¢ stamp in 1979 would cost .55¢ in 2014
.14¢ stamp in 1975 would cost .62¢ in 2014
It's a shame the stamp value can't be adjusted for inflation....

Saturday, April 5, 2014

more baby wildlife

We have new stamps, issued on March 31, 2014. The excitement has been tempered a bit by the dramatic increase in price (up 35% for domestic rate) This was announced in December, but there are still people who are so angry they are continuing to write letters to the editor claiming they will never, ever mail a letter again. These people probably sent their letter by email and didn't do so much mailing anyway, I'm guessing. There are also those who have been dismissive, saying "no-one mails anything these days" and "when was the last time anyone went to a post office?" Those are people who were not standing in a long line on Monday last week to buy the new stamps. It was so long, I left and went back on Tuesday. One good change coming out of all this are the pre-paid postcards that you can buy for $2.50 (or 5/$12.50 - no tax) These cards can be mailed anywhere, so in effect, if you are sending it overseas, you're getting a free postcard with your stamp! The older postcards were only 15¢ more than the overseas postage rate, so was still a good deal.

So, from my cards we have the burrowing owl
for the domestic rate of $1.00 
(there is a beaver stamp for the domestic rate of 85¢, but I don't have that one, nor do I have the one for international rate of $2.50 featuring an elk. I'm not sure why my local outlet didn't have the complete series.)

the puffin for the oversized letter rate of $1.80

and a mountain goat for the US rate of $1.20

These are the last of the baby wildlife series. For SundayStamps

Friday, April 4, 2014

flowers for a rainy friday

We've had relatively warmer weather around here lately, and I've been outside more....
now I'm inside nursing a fever, sore throat and raging headache.

Monday, March 31, 2014


You can find some real nuggets of fun from stamps.  Sheila at a Postcard a Day posted a stamp of a steam engine called Ivor, from a much loved children's cartoon. I'd never heard of this so looked it up and found several of the short episodes.  There went the rest of my Sunday afternoon! 

If you wish, make yourself a cup of tea and see for yourself.

Ivor is from the "top left hand corner of Wales." I love hearing the narrator trip so smoothly over those complicated Welsh names. The stories are enchantingly slow-paced and the animation very simple.  Perhaps too simple in the original 1950s series.

The original series was written, animated and narrated by Oliver Postgate in 1958. In the 1970s colour episodes were made with each episode forming part of the longer story which meant that each week the poor viewer was left with an almost excruciating cliffhanger.  Above is the first of the colour episodes and below is the original B&W version. 

Ivor wants to join a choir and the rest of the six episodes tell how this comes about.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

trams of old

a 1994 set celebrating the trams of Sofia, Bulgaria

unlike in these last few years (at least where I live), 
the styles changed greatly from one decade to the next (1951 to 1912)
see more public transportation stamps here

Friday, March 28, 2014

cats enjoying themselves

all cats have wonderful stretches 
(Cat Yoga)

and love to play
(Irina Zeniuk's Blue Cats)

and after all that,
there's the sleeping to be done 

(Jeffrey Brown from "The Cutest Sneeze in the World")


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a developing story

And so begins the development on the waterfront. This site was previously a motel that, in the end, no one was sorry to see demolished. It has been about 20 years in the making - and not without a lot of controversy. About eight years ago approval was given for a variance for extra height to build a 22-storey and 7-storey condo plus a 7-storey hotel. There is already a hotel on one side of the lot and an old motel with a rather nice house on the other. 

I can see the appeal of living right on the waterfront, but I don't think that should happen. Especially not right downtown, as this is. It has been nice to be able to see out onto the water from each of the north-south streets and to not feel hemmed in by tall buildings as you walk or drive alongside the lake. And there are the daily sunrises over the lake...

Not many of us who live in the downtown core are happy about having a high rise on the waterfront.  We haven't been too happy about these high rises (below), either. Then again, I live in what was the first high rise in town and people possibly weren't too happy about it, either. and I wouldn't blame them.

above, on the far left you can see the 6-storey hotel and a bit of the empty space where the new development is being built. on the left photo (both taken last spring, before the pier was finished), the red roofed Ascot motel

Below are some artists renderings of the future. The only possible saving grace is that there will be public access to the waterfront ... even if the public won't be able to see it from the street.

And if you look carefully, you'll see a building positioned directly opposite the 22 storey bit. that is the 'green' glassed condo building in the 3rd picture above. They will lose their view.

...and prices will likely start at $1,000,000

Sunday, March 23, 2014

farm animals

Sometimes stamps look amazingly better when you can see them enlarged. Sometimes not. Still, I rather like these  two series of stamps from 1962/63 showing farm animals in Romania. Below, we have the usual suspects - a chicken, rooster, and a goose as well as a pig, a sheep and a cow.

and after seeing all the cows on stamps that have been posted for Sunday Stamps, and because seeing a cow in a certain pose always makes me remember this 70s era ad...