Thursday, May 30, 2013


Sandringham House, in Norfolk, was the first home of Queen Victoria's eldest son, Prince Albert Edward (to become King Edward VII) and his wife Alexandra in 1862. Later, King George V would start the enduring tradition of the Christmas Message in 1932. The Royal Family spend the Christmas holidays (until February) at Sandringham, but when they are not in residence it is open to the public. It is the private property of the Royal family and not part part of the Crown Estate. The original hall was built around 1771, but was completely rebuilt in 1870 in a variety of styles. 

the fountain and fish pond are part of the kitchen garden
here is a link showing the plan of the gardens
these "art colour" postcards are from an original watercolour by J Lindsay, but I haven't been able to find much information on him.


edited to add a link to Isabelle's post on the gardens

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

a garden

I needed to take my car for a long drive (for reasons you don't really need to know, but it seems the lights don't turn themselves off automatically on this car as they did with my other car, so...)
anyway, after watching the rain fall on the lake for long enough, I decided to drive around a cemetery for awhile. Doesn't everything look so green now that it has rained?
This lovely garden drew me to a closer look.
I didn't actually find the headstone, though there was a bench nearby, which seems to be from the family.

This poem by the garden touched me immensely
(sorry for the rainy blurriness)
sharing with taphophile tragics

Sunday, May 26, 2013

active duty stamps

For this version of Sunday Stamps (on this American Memorial Day Weekend) here are recent Canada Post stamps commemorating 150 years of active duty. Each stamp has four soldiers showing the evolution of their respective uniforms.

the 'Rileys' out of Hamilton and the Black Watch out of Montreal
and the Royal Regiment out of Toronto

The souvenir sheet has archival photos and shows the royal crest of the regiment below each stamp

Friday, May 24, 2013

a mountie on a horse

Yesterday, the Google Doodle was a special one honouring our very own Mounties, so today I dug out the only iconic mounties on a horse postcards I have
In honour of the 140th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - or North-West Mounted Police as they were known at the time.
According to the Mountie Shop website

Canada's first prime minister, Sir. John A. Macdonald, wished to put an end to the illegal trade of liquor with the native people in the Northwest Territories (the area covered today by most of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories). Order had to be restored to the area to make it safe for aboriginal people and settlers. Contrary to popular belief, the force was not established to protect the white against the Indians, it was to protect the Indians from the whites. The whites were U.S. whiskey peddlers, controlling what is now most of southern Alberta, who were destroying the natives with booze and bullets.

The Mounties, in their red serge uniforms, have been immortalized as part of Canadian culture in pulp fiction and in many movies and television shows from Sergeant Bruce (Nelson Eddy), Sergeant Preston, Sergeant Renfrew to Dudley Do-Right (remember, Rocky and Bullwinkle?)
to (my personal fave) Constable Benton Fraser of the tv show Due South


for your viewing pleasure, Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald

Monday, May 20, 2013

grave post - Endean

A set of family gravestones from the Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Harry and Edith were married in 1926. Harry and a brother started a nursery business sometime around 1910-20 around the same time as horticulture was becoming the main source of industry in the village. His son, Frank was a town councillor for three years, from 1988-91. The centre stone is for Catharine who passed away at two days in June of 1967. The similarities in the stones - including the flourishing writing style - suggest they were carved around the same time. 

Note the roses on the stones for Harry, Frank and baby Catharine.
Roses became a distinct part of the town's heritage due in large part to the influence of the flowers grown in the area. Even becoming  the town's motto "En la Rose Je Fleuris," which freely translates as "Like the Rose I Bloom," "I Bloom as the Rose," or "In the Rose, I Flourish."
mosaic at the Rose Garden

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Finnish transport history

I only have two of the six stamps released in March of 2012 for the 150th anniversary of the railways on Finland. They were designed by Tarja Salonen and the shape has been 'cut to perspective to give them a feeling of motion'

as a bonus, the stamps were on train/tram related postcards.

Above is from Turku in 1959. Sender Eva says that "alas, the trams were replaced by buses in 1972"
Below, these 'stone-men' are featured on the front wall of the Helsinki Central Railway Station - or this mouthful of a name Helsingin päärautatieasema-Helsingfors centralstation (Finnish and Swedish)

The statues were designed by Emil Wikström in 1914
(photo wiki commons)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

reading and books

Isn't it always a relief to know that, somewhere, there is a word describing your affliction....?
this is a holiday weekend. I may take myself outside, in the warm spring air 
and find a park bench or picnic table and read.
or maybe I'll reorganize my unread books into pretty piles....

Friday, May 17, 2013

large letters

as we head into the first long weekend of the summer season, it is time to think about road trips
 a Curt Teich linen card sent from Georgetown Ky on Feb 13, 1950
a newer model glossy large letter by Smith-Southwestern sent from New Orleans on May 8, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013


So, I guess I have no excuse for hanging on to my old cassettes, since my new car does not have a tape deck. I am only mildly disappointed by this. They have been whittled down to a few of my most favourites and even then I barely remember what is in the box. Until I open it and get an emotional rush. I still have a stereo that has a tape player and a turntable which is in perfectly good working order. Or at least it was about five years ago when I last tested it. Perhaps if I had an ipod, I could transfer some of the music from the tapes and records onto it. If I had any idea how to do that. The new car has an ipod thing.

During one of my recent de-cluttering events, I came across a portable cd player I had bought for my father when he was in hospital. He died seven years ago and I had forgotten I still had it. There was a  Louis Armstrong cd inside. It was in a different drawer from the walkman I have had since godknowswhen. There was a Pat Metheny tape inside that one. (I have occasionally wondered what happened to it.)  There may have been a tape inside my car that is now gone, I just realize....... I forgot to check.

Anyway, there came a day a few weeks ago when suddenly I realized I had had enough of my old car that needed more repairs - some important, some minor enough to ignore as I had been doing already. Once I had made that decision, I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. After doing some research, I thought I would give Kia a try. Reviewers who test drive these things seemed to have been pleasantly surprised at their performance.  I've never had a brand new car before, but I figured if I could find a new one I liked within my budget, then great, otherwise it would be a harder job to find a used one. New cars are much easier - you go to the dealership and test drive, then decide. Used means going to several places and trying out every car you might consider a contender, perhaps a couple of times. And it may involve more negotiating. And I didn't really want to do all that. These guys were all over themselves offering me little extras (and I mean little: a gas card, a points card, keychain, a car wash bucket with stuff in it, even an ice scraper) which were nice gestures. And I like the idea of a 5-year warranty. Never had that before!

I now have to get used to driving something smaller and a little less luxurious than previous, but also that at least does not leak or make strange sounds and has all its interior lights functioning (as mine burned out, I never bothered replacing the bulbs. I spent a lot of time sitting in brightly lit gas station bays to do my paperwork and find stuff that had dropped...) And it is red. For the first time in about a dozen years I have something that is not silver. I was getting a little bored with the silver anyway. Though, one of the guys who delivers a different newspaper to the same apartment buildings as me also drives a red car and I have already come outside and thought it was his car, until I realized that this one was shinier, and, dare I say, nicer looking. And all mine.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

grave post - Abner Miles

When Abner Miles, an innkeeper and merchant from York, settled on the lots each side of (what is now) Yonge Street at Major Mackenzie Drive in 1801, there was not much in the village of Richmond Hill, so he began by establishing an inn, a store, and an ashery (a potash business, burning scrub brush and wood to produce raw ingredients for soap, candles and other mainstays of pioneer homes). The inn, or tavern, was perhaps the most important of Abner Miles businesses to help form the new community as it quickly became a favourite watering hole as well as a focal point for auctions, dances, masonic dinners and town meetings.
Soon, local residents and Yonge Street travellers were using the name Miles' Hill to refer to both the rise of land and the new community that gradually took shape along the road from Major Mackenzie Drive north through the core of modern Richmond Hill. Although Abner may have been the first resident of the area, it was the Miles' children who confirmed Abner's status as the "father" of Richmond Hill. The marriages of his daughters Hannah to James Playter, Lucy to John Langstaff, and Elizabeth to John Arnold marked the founding of three families who were to play important roles in the community's subsequent history. His son, James continued in his father's enterprises.
On his death in 1806, his son James inherited his land, what had by then amounted to two thousand acres, eventually donating land for the Presbyterian Church a manse, a school and a cemetery where his father was buried. 

Nothing is known of his education or early work. He was born about 1752 somewhere in Massachusetts. At some point he married a woman named Mercy, and together they had six children - five daughters, Hannah, Lucy, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary as well as son James.

I don't know where all the other taphophiles went, but now that the weather is nicer (sortof - we actually had bits of snow fall out of the sky yesterday!!) I have resumed my visits to cemeteries. I'll try to entertain you with my researches. There are more photos of the cemetery over on SightLines

Taphophile Tragics

Monday, May 13, 2013

a day out

On the weekend, I took a little day trip. To Richmond Hill. It is not the most exciting or touristy of places to go but it was Doors Open and I had a list of places that seemed interesting to see. I was a little disappointed, not least because it took so damn long to get there. It is about 50 miles (or 80 kilometres) from where I live and should take an hour. It took 1 hour 45 minutes, due to traffic. And yes, I did think about abandoning the trip and returning home, but it was almost as bad on the westbound lanes of the 401, so I carried on. Besides, I had too much gas in my car because on Monday I was getting my new car and was not going to send this one to the dealership to be forwarded to the scrapyard with anything more than 1/8 of tank of gas.

My list of places that had opened their doors to the public would take me through most of the town, but in the end, I had to seriously edit it because of the time... and traffic. Who knew it would be like rush hour at noon on a Saturday. Some of my choices were not worth the effort it took to get there. I bookended the day with two churches (and an almost hidden cemetery which was a bonus). The experience between the two could not have been more different. The first was a Hindu Temple (Vishnu Madir) which I was quite excited about seeing.
It was also a Museum of Hindu Civilization so I thought there would be lots to learn. This might have been the case if anyone had taken the initiative to talk to us. After taking off our shoes, we were free to wander through the museum and the temple on our own, but no pictures were allowed (and sadly, there were no photos included in their brochure).

I shouldn't be so harsh, it was quite informative with a brief history of Jainism and Hinduism and a timeline which included Christianity and Islam. The temple itself was huge with many sculptures on the wall of the various gods and stories of the gods. It was as might be expected and very colourful. There were examples of prayer alters to see and a film on the very basics of the religion. It just might have felt more welcoming had some of the people who were volunteering offered some explanations or to answer questions. Instead, they seemed more interested in talking with each other.

The last church we visited was a Coptic Orthodox. It was also huge and there is an expansion in the works.
Volunteers took you on a guided tour, explaining as much as possible from the baptismal font (it looks like a single person hot tub for full immersion) to the sanctuary and the mosaics and tapestries (which were white because Easter was last weekend, then they will change to red). A parishioner's large collection of crosses was on display. There was a brief account of Jesus' time in Egypt, and an explanation of the Coptic language (like Latin it is a dead language, but some services are in Coptic, Arabic and English with the priest deciding according to the demographic of the parishioners attending at the service). And there were brightly painted frescoes on the ceiling which I always find inspirational.

Then we found a park that seemed to be a favourite for wedding photographs (I hoped I didn't get in the way, but there were at least four couples getting their photos taken!)

however, it did seem a little early for the best of the flowers.....
except for these

...and yes, I did get my new car today. More on that later.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

toys of old

This week's challenge was to find a stamp that had something 
to do with children's toys or games.
These are Christmas stamps from 1970, 
but Christmas is a good time to find toys.
We have an antique toy locomotive, toy wheeled horse, 
mechanical tricycle toy, and a doll carriage toy.

I like the look of these older toys.
So many of them seem to be realistic miniature versions of what an adult would use and are not as bulky as the plastic Fisher-Price versions. 
They could easily sit in a living room and not look childish. Then again, they are probably covered in lead paint and have other hazards.

Friday, May 10, 2013

blossoming in DC

The cherry blossoms peaked this week in southern Ontario. If the timing were an exact science and I could make it to Washington to see them, I think it would be worth the trip.

This is a 1942 (?) postcard from Washington DC

How many of you remember these souvenir postcard folders? Most of them were filled with pictures of previously issued postcards. It was a little like a photo book in miniature of the tourist sights.
They were meant to be mailed, but I suspect many were simply taken home as a souvenir and put away in a drawer and now it's not hard to find them in the 50¢ bins at postcard shows.

Disappointingly, the images on the inside are usually rather soulless and completely devoid of activity with people or cars.
This one is from CAPSCO (Capitol Souvenir Company) and is Folder No. 1
CAPSCO was founded by Jacob Goozh soon after he emigrated to the US from Europe. He started by taking photos of returning soldiers using tintype photography which gave them an instant souvenir to take home. By 1931 he had strategically moved his souvenir business (of which postcards was a small part!) to Pennsylvania Ave next to Union Station where he could supply the many tourists arriving and departing by train. The family business is still a going concern, though it has now moved to Maryland under Jacob's great grandson.
Postcard Friendship Friday

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Above is a Chinese Year of the Snake postcard letter that arrived on Friday, just in time for our Chinese stamp theme

Mujin put several stamps on the card, including one with a snake design
I wish I knew how to find out the stories behind these stamps....

these two spring like stamps arrived in January 
and Postcrosser Juli wrote that it was -11C and snowy
It is interesting to note that among the 25 postcards I've received from China there is not one duplicate on the stamps!

Friday, May 3, 2013

magnolia, not white

Long after people in places like Alabama and Georgia have excitedly posted their photos of the magnificent spring blossoms, we in southern Ontario finally get our chance.
It rained this past week and everyone noticed how, overnight, the greenness had arrived. That was on Wednesday. Today is Friday and the leaves have burst forth and the forsythia and magnolias are coming into their crowning glory.

These are two postage paid postcards celebrating Magnolias issued on April this year

above is "Eskimo" with "Yellow Bird" to the left are hybrids that have been developed to thrive in our cold winters and short summers.
I have always thought that if I owned a house with a yard, I would plant a magnolia tree. But now, after careful thought and observance, I think I would buy a house across the street from a house with a magnolia tree in their front yard. And let them deal with all the fallen petals.
This is the Grandmother of Magnolias in Burlington.
it is difficult to get the whole thing in one good photo and do it justice