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 thew 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)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

John A

The theme of famous people, portraits was chosen specifically for this date because it is     Sir John A Macdonald's 200th birthday. 
Hot off the press is the stamp issued (unusually, on a Sunday) today in his honour. (my post office outlet had no fdc, sadly)

We don't do much in the way of celebrating our leaders, so there isn't a whole lot happening to commemorate our first Prime Minister and Father of Confederation. There may be a glass or two - or three - raised in his honour at some point. He did, after all, really, really like his drink. Until Rob Ford came along, John A was our most famous politician known for his drunken stupors. Though, it could be argued that most men of the time drank a lot, the fact that he could also govern the country and accomplish as much as he did while being inebriated shows a certain strength. He was PM for 19 years, oversaw Confederation and the building of the Canadian-Pacific Railway, and created the North West Mounted Police. He also enjoyed bribery and patronage to get his way, was a bit neglectful and possibly a racist.
John Alexander Macdonald was born in Glasgow though exactly where is in dispute (and as a result plans to erect a plaque have been stalled for a long time). He had a rather unhappy personal life, which could go a ways to explain his penchant for alcohol. The family emigrated to Upper Canada in 1820 and by age 15 John was working to support his mother and sisters. A brother had died from a blow to the head by a servant who was to have been looking after the boys. His first wife, Isabella, was an invalid for many years and their first child died in infancy. Another child with his second wife, Agnes, suffered from hydrocephalus and never walked.

This stamp is a 1973 definitive. John A was a caricaturist's dream. In this case the designer was David Annesley. 
(yes, he is always called John A, never MacDonald)

Today has warmed up to a mild and pleasant -1C, but I may still warm my insides with a shot of whisky and toast the old geezer.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year stamps

The 2012 stamp from Ukraine for Christmas also included a New Years stamp in the set.
here's the one from 2011 (sadly, no gold foil on this set)
I couldn't find much information on this New Years stamp from Lithuania, it's been designed by artist Greta Gruzdaityté who seems to also be a jewellery designer.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

please look after this bear

So, here it is my second challenge for Sunday Stamps, and I found it rather difficult to come with something!! 

my own Paddington Bear wears a brown coat and has yellow wellies and an orange hat. he stands 18" tall and isn't really much fun to play with, but he is adored none-the-less.

and we are eagerly awaiting the movie 
which doesn't come out here until mid January, 2015.

but, back to the stamps -- the one on the right was part of a 2006 joint issue with the USPS on illustrations from children's literature with the Peggy Fortnum illustration and the bear on the left is a 2014 issue as part of the Classic Children's TV stamps showing a still from the programme. (which I have now found here, if anyone is interested! the complete series of 56 five minute episodes narrated by the late, great, Sir Michael Hordern. have some tea and toast with marmalade and enjoy. after checking the other toys on stamps, of course)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


By the Christmas Tree in Gore Park in downtown Hamilton stands a special mail box. I tried to peer inside to see if there were actually any letters to Santa (after all, it was already the 23rd, but I guess those elves can work some magic)

Here are a couple other post boxes I found on my summer holiday.

I admit, I was a bit dismayed to see this Amsterdam post box covered in tags and signs and posters. What is interesting is that in the centre is a window displaying the next pick up. I guess the carrier changes the day after emptying the box.

Then there is this cute, stubby post box from the UK with two slots. I'm not certain why the stamped and franked mail need to be kept separate.

I also managed to get this old pillar box from the reign of GR and says Post Office instead of Royal Mail.

The pick up times are listed as 6:15pm on the stubby box and 6:30pm on the older box - with a Saturday pick up at 12:30pm!! These are much more reasonable times than what we have - which could be 1:00pm or 5:00pm with no Sat or Sun pick up. I was once in line at the post office outlet waiting to buy stamps at around 4:59 when a couple of anxious people rushed in asking "has he been yet". 'He' hadn't. I made a rhetorical comment to no-one in particular, (but sort of to the nearest person) that I wondered how he managed to pick up all the mail in the city at exactly 5pm, to which she replied that "they use more than one truck and employee".  I sighed at the lack of humour. I also remember the days when each box had a different pick up time on it, usually about 5 minutes apart from the next mailbox, so if you were late for one, you could make your way to another mailbox, hopefully before the driver got there.

I hope all your Christmas cards were delivered on time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

ring in the holidays

A couple of months into the last winter from hell, the one that started exactly a year ago today with the ice storm that moved swiftly into the Polar Vortex and plunged into temperatures of -40C for days on end... I leapt at the chance to change one of my delivery routes to one that was inside a trio of condo buildings. (I now have eight buildings all together, and only 10 houses, yay!) There were fewer newspapers, and a fair bit more walking, but it was INDOORS where it was all cosy and warm (and some of the elevators are put on service by the nice security guards, so I save my back from carrying all that weight). Some of these buildings are like being in a small village or a hamlet - each one has a distinct personality, even if there are several in a complex by the same developer. The lobbies are decorated with sofas and coffee tables and dressers as if you are entering a formal living room. And now they all have Christmas trees up and some have a host of decorative tchotchkes on mantles and tables that never seem to mysteriously walk off (I suppose all the security cameras help). And I have noticed that in at least one of the buildings there is a profusion of wreaths and such ornamenting the doors to the apartments. Not on all floors, mind you, but for some reason everyone on the 7th floor of the Magnolia building has taken to making their entry stand out. There are ten apartments on each floor. Walk with me on a different sort of Monday Walk for Restless Jo along the corridor....

It is hard to convey just how big some of these wreaths (and those bells!!) are. And I love the fact that except for those two longer ones with the silver balls (#10 and #3) they are all very different. I find I look forward to walking along this floor and am slightly let down as I go to the 6th floor just below and find only two lonely decorations and one of those isn't even Christmassy! Obviously, this floor is the one with the more interesting people. The ones who really get into the spirit of the season. 
Now, about those xmas tips for your newspaper carrier.......