Sunday, March 1, 2015

smiling faces

Look at these smiling, happy faces of 
John Glenn (right) and Walter Schirra (left)

These stamps from Romania were issued in 1963 as part of their Space Navigation series. There are ten altogether, 6 Russians and 4 Americans. All are set at an angle except for four of the Russians for some reason. The designer was a Dimitrie Stiubei (1901-1986), and it is interesting to note that the flag on each of the stamps has a different fluttering image.

As a side note, I have been reading You Are Here, the photo essay book by Chris Hadfield from his journey on the International Space Station. If you haven't seen this, I highly recommend it. If you have only seen his photos from his twitter account when he was the commander of the ISS, you are still in for a treat with his delightful and thought-provoking commentary accompanying the photos. I bet, if Schirra and Glenn could re-enter space in the 21st century, their smiles would be even grander!

Faces for SundayStampsII

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Year of the Ram

Perhaps I was a little too optimistic in expecting to see more Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram stamps. I've not yet received any from China or Taiwan... so the only ones I have are the Canadian ones I bought.
And this year brings another design by Hélène L’Heureux with an illustration by Susan Scott and calligraphy by Ngan Siu-Mui

I think I managed to get a photo that shows off the embossing
which makes the 2003 stamp look very smooth, and almost plain in comparison (image from CanadaPost website)

I'm not sure why Canada Post has chosen to call this the Year of the Ram, though my best guess is that since a ram is both a male sheep and a male goat, 
in the great Canadian tradition of compromise, Ram was chosen! 

and just for the cuteness factor, here is a mountain goat, part of the baby wildlife series issued in 2014. 
this image is from the postcard, but is valued at $1.20 for US postage


Today, the Toronto Postcard Club is having it's annual show and sale, so I'm off in the snow to see what I can find. Then it's dinner with a friend. Then, maybe a nap before work in the frigid cold again. Sheep makes me think of lambs, which makes me think of spring, which can't come soon enough!!
I'll visit you all later.

Along the way, I might even find some inspiration to post something other than about stamps....

Sunday, February 15, 2015

red, yellow, or blue

I'm not really a big fan of red roses
I much prefer these yellow ones with just a touch of red

although, personally, on a day like today, with the temperature dropping to -34ºC (that would be -29F for the American readers) I would forgo the over-priced cut flowers and prefer to be whisked away to the warmer clime of the Caribbean... 
St Lucia would be nice, where the weather is (at the moment) a balmy 28ºC (oh, look that's my birthday!) how romantic would that be?!

While Saint Lucia offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world none can top the majestic Pitons, the island’s iconic mountains. Said to be the most photographed site in the Caribbean and most famous mountain pair on earth, the Pitons are a must-see for anyone who visits the island. Located just south of the town of Soufriere on the west coast, Gros Piton (771 m / 2,619 ft) and Petit Piton (743 m / 2,461 ft) rise regally from the blue Caribbean below.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

ships in the far north (east)

I had to twist my head around in circles to understand this map. Then I finally found out that the stamp honours the discovery of the Commander Islands, 
a group of islands in the Bering Sea
about 175km east of Kamchatka, which is shown in the second stamp.
These are from the Landscapes of the Far East series issued in 1966.

Vitus Jonassen Bering was a Danish explorer and officer with the Russian Navy. Born in 1681, he was chosen by Peter the Great to head the first Kamchatka Expedition in 1725 to map the area and to establish whether or not Asia and America were connected by a land. He returned in 1728 to report that it was all open sea between Asia and America and immediately made preparations for a return expedition, which wouldn't take place until 1741. He found Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, but storms and ill health forced his ship to land at an uninhabited island in the Commander islands group. It was there, on what would be later named Bering Island that he and 28 of his men died. The ship - the Svyatoy Pyotr, or St Peter, shown in the first stamp - made it back to the Kamchatka Peninsula after being stranded on the island for nine months. The second stamp shows the city of Petropavlovsk (Peter and Paul) - named for the two ships under Bering's command - which Bering founded in 1740.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

water - fresh, frozen, thermal

Fresh water is something that many of us take for granted. However, it may not always be so readily available to all of us (as it already isn't for so many millions of people in Africa and Southeast Asia) if we don't take care of our resources.
This stamp from Spain, was issued in 2013 for the International Year of Water Cooperation
It actually took me a few moments of turning the stamp around in circles to figure out the 'right' way up, until I realized it was meant to show the water going in both directions.

these stamps, also from 2013, aren't really about water - they are actually part of the Canadian Flag series - but do feature water.
 Lake Scugog to be specific.
one of my favourite pastimes includes sitting in a chair looking out over a calm lake. though, maybe not a Muskoka (aka Adirondack) chair as I find them incredibly difficult to propel myself out of (then again, an excuse to stay put and enjoy the view...) now, sitting in an ice fishing hut looking out over - or into a hole in - a frozen lake is not something I have ever aspired to do.

maybe you would prefer your body of water to be indoors,
away from the biting cold, or biting mosquitos. 
then head over to Budapest, Hungary to partake of the Rudas Baths. apart from this swimming pool, there also six therapy pools in this thermal bath built in 1550. there is even night bathing on Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm-4am. it is still mostly an enclave for the men though, with Tuesdays being a women's only day and the other four weekdays for the men. weekends are "group use".

Sunday, January 25, 2015

changes in everyday life

this was an exciting stamp to receive! even the priority mail sticker is in a hexagonal shape. it is part of a series of six stamps of Changes in Everyday Finland issued in October 2014. I actually got two postcards from Finland on the same day with a different one of these stamps on each (so, if I was excited about one, you can imagine my excitement at getting two, at the same time!) - but for the life of me I now can't find the other one...
they are non-denominational first class stamps and the designs "depict six megatrends that have changed everyday life: information technology, culinary culture, domestic appliances, migration, pop culture and vehicles." 

below is a picture of the set I found from, and here is a link to the artist Sami Saramäki's work. there will be more in this series coming in the next couple of years leading up to the Finland's celebration of it's 100th year of independence in 2017.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

grave post - Jarvie

In Memory Of
Robert Jarvie
Born 5th July 1816
Died At Shanghai, China
23rd August 1866
Buried Here 5th July 1867
And Of His Wife
Agnes D'arcy
Born 1st March 1835
Died 6th February 1923
Daughter Of
Andrew Bannatyne, L.L.D.
And His Wife
Margaret Millar
Of Milheugh, Blantyre.
Also Frances Mary Collins
Dear Friend And Devoted Maid

I found a notice in the Paisley Herald from the 2nd of May 1863 announcing the marriage of Robert and Agnes. Robert was a partner with a Walter Buchanan as an East India merchant and died during the financial crisis of 1865-66 when the business went belly up. Agnes seems to have spent more time living with her "dear friend and devoted maid", Frances, than her husband.
a portrait of Mrs Agnes D'Arcy Jarvie by John Gilbert Graham  c 1866

and here is a picture of the home where Agnes was born and brought up. 

A history and description can be found here

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Red Cross Society

75th anniversary of the incorporation of The Canadian Red Cross Society. 

At the heart of the Red Cross organization are the volunteers. In recognition of their invaluable contribution, the stamp design by William Tibbles and Clive Webster of Toronto features the medal awarded by The Canadian Red Cross Society for long-standing and meritorious voluntary service.
(source: Canada Post Website)
when I enlarged the photo of the stamp and adjusted the exposure settings more details emerged - like the writing up the sides and the denim background that I initially saw as simply a dark blue. 

It was at first an affiliate of the [British] National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded, subtitled the Red Cross and became the Canadian Red Cross Society by an act of Parliament in 1909. The Canadian Red Cross provided relief during the Spanish Civil War, the Boer War, and the First World War after which it decided to continue its work of mercy in peacetime. 

In 1984 when this stamp was issued, the Canada Post website lists among its contributions, 'among other things, organized the well-known blood-donor service*, the water and small craft safety program, various forms of international assistance, a sickroom equipment loan service, and a school program'. Now you can add Meals-on-Wheels, First Aid and CPR training and violence and abuse prevention. 
*The tainted blood scandal of the 1980s (when inadequately screened blood, often from high risk populations) led to the Krever Inquiry which eventually led to the role of blood donor services moved away from the Red Cross and the formation  of Canadian Blood Services.

I am still a little peeved that because of my visits to the UK in the 1980's I can no longer donate blood. I wonder what are the limitations to Brits donating blood in their own countries?


anyway, I am off to enjoy the mild temperatures in the city, and then see the Paddington movie, so will visit everyone's contributions later.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

street signs - North/West

An intersection for the directionally challenged.

West St runs in a northwest direction from Lake Simcoe and North St is, well, north of the lake and most of the city centre. 
My brother used to live on North St E, so I learned that West St is the dividing line.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

grave post - Forrest

“One of the members of the Glasgow Fire Brigade has lost his life under somewhat sad circumstances. On Friday forenoon, October 20th, 1899, a request was received at the Central Fire Station, College Street, for the use of hose, to extinguish a fire that had broken out in the Dalquharran Colliery, Dailly, Ayrshire. As there was little time to catch the 11.15 a.m. train, one of the firemen, Robert Forrest was instructed to take the hose to Dailly, and to explain the method for connecting to the water supply. On his arrival, Forrest was prevailed upon by those in charge of the pit to assist them in their efforts to extinguish the fire. Along with four or five other men, he descended the pit and laid the hose, and after the water had been turned on they were all returning to the bottom of the shaft, when Forrest was observed to stagger. He was assisted by two men, and at once taken to the pit-head. A doctor was in attendance but, unfortunately, Forrest succumbed in a very short time. It is believed he had been overcome by choke damp. Forrest was a well-known and much respected member of the G.F.B. and was for years in charge of the hose, helmet and bootmaking dept., and his loss under such circumstances is deeply deplored by every member of the brigade. He leaves a widow and five of a family.”

NOTE:    Choke Damp—Carbonic Acid Gas which accumulates in the lower parts of coal mines, wells, etc.
(Glasgow Herald—October 23rd, 1899)