Sunday, September 29, 2013

birds of prey

This weekend is the big stamp show and sale in Toronto. I had been looking forward to it since, well, since last year. But, seeing as I still haven't organized the many hundreds of stamps I already have into the books I bought for them (most of them are still in little boxes and envelopes) I decided to not overwhelm myself further. The temptation was strong though and only tempered by the annual postcard show and sale being held today.

Also, I was afraid that I might end up buying more of the same stamps I already have (as I've already done). One of the topical stamps I collect is birds, but of all the birds out there perhaps my least favourite are the birds of prey.  We have a pair of peregrine falcons who return to nest each year on a ledge at a downtown hotel and I am among the hundreds of people who eagerly watch the webcam and follow the progress of the eggs and eventually chicks as they grow and learn how to fly and catch their own food before finally fledging out on their own. While I greatly admire their skills, there is something about their inherent aggressiveness that is not so attractive. And they are scary looking. I guess I just like the crafty, colourful, cartoonish looking birds best.

This 2013 set of falcoaria stamps for the Portuguese Association of Falconry are gems. They illustrate not only the birds standing on an outstretched (and seriously gloved) hand as well as in flight, but also some of the equipment used in the art of falconry

Clockwise, we have a Peregrine Falcon and a hood, followed by a Goshawk and a haversack, then a Golden Eagle and a falconry glove, and finally, a Hawk with a roster. 

this is a Stellar's sea eagle from China. these birds feed mainly on fish, favouring salmon and trout.

below is a kestrel, one from The Netherlands issued 1995 and the other from Viet Nam, issued 1982.

they have an unnerving ability to hover in the air

...and speaking of flying (sortof) have you seen this video?

for Sunday Stamps

Saturday, September 28, 2013

sculptures in the garden

This past week we have had splendid weather. Perfect autumn days and nights. There has been not a cloud in the sky and not a drop of rain has fallen.

Every year as summer rolls around, I pull out my big calendar and meticulously write down every activity that looks interesting. Every festival, art show, gallery opening, farmer's market, Doors Open event, walking tour, cruise night gets noted. If you were to look at my calendar for July and August you could be forgiven for thinking that I had a very busy summer. Except that, in the end, I often end up doing less than half of it. Summer, in all its hotness, just exhausts me. All I want to do is crawl back into bed (and sleep). Fortuitously, the bedroom is the brightest room in my place, so it's not like I was hiding in a dark, depressing dungeon or anything. 

And I got a lot of reading done as the sun beamed down on me. 

But as for getting outside and wandering about in the heat and humidity... I really want nothing  to do with it.

But now that it is fall and the humidity has dispersed and the temperatures are more comfortable, I am smiling and full of energy. I want to make the most of these warm (and/or crisp) days.

Last week I went to see the Zimbabwean sculptures in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
All of these were made by hand from one piece of  stone. There are a dozens of these sculptures throughout the garden with many more smaller pieces in a tent and all are for sale. Each has a tag listing the name of the piece, the name of the artist and the type of stone used.

Meet Patrick, one of the featured artists who was has been spending his days for the past six weeks working on smaller pieces to be sold and talking to people, explaining the types of stone and the methods he uses for his creations (like this pair of owls that I am really, really wanting to bring home when he has finished. It has taken him four days and he's now at the polishing stage.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

tell me the news, Maude

While searching to add to my collection of large letter cards, I came across this one for a woman named Maude. I haven't seen any of these before, but now I suspect there may be others for Victorian names?

Excuse me for not writing sooner. write and tell me all the news at the shop.
ans soon

I'm not sure about the sender - it looks like Leaota, which is the name of a mountain range in Romania (though there is a FB page for someone named Laeota). There were many postcards in the set, all addressed to a Miss M[aude] Graham. Lambton Mills was a small village on the Humber River in what is now Etobicoke, Toronto. There is not much left of the settlement except for The Lambton House Inn. And a cemetery, though there is no listing for any Graham. This card was mailed on August 18th 1909 but by 1915 the village was destroyed by fire, save for the Inn which was the only brick building. Makes me wonder what the shop was and what became of it and the shopkeeper, Maude. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

street signs - Ganaraska

It's not always just roads that get a street sign.

If a river runs through your town, it too, may be graced with the same sign as the roads.

In this case, the Ganaraska River cuts through the Town of Port Hope as it makes its way from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario. It is the site of the annual "Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny" - a 10km race (canoe, kayak or any other home-made floatable craft) held every spring to commemorate a devastating flood from 1980.

Ganaraska (Ganaraske) may have been the name of the Cayuga village where Port Hope now sits at the mouth of the river. below is a winter view looking northwards.

if you like trout, this is the river to fish - read about it here   seventh in a series of street signs for signs,signs

Monday, September 23, 2013

grave post - Brown

Dreadful Accident on the New York Central Railroad.
[From the Albany (N. Y.) Journal, Oct. 16.]

     The local mail train on the Central road, which left Rochester yesterday afternoon at 4:30, and which was due at Syracuse at 8:15 last evening, met with a serious disaster when six miles west of the latter city. Owing to the late heavy rains in that vicinity, a culvert was broken in, and the rail track was carried away. The fact was unknown to either the engineer or the conductor of the train, and while coming along at the usual speed, the locomotive ran into the stream, and a frightful breaking up of the cars instantly ensued.

     The dead and wounded were conveyed to the Globe Hotel at Syracuse, where medical attendance was immediately obtained, and the utmost care and attention paid to the injured.
    We have, since writing the above, learned that the portion of the road carried away, was a high embankment, six miles west of Syracuse. It was caused by heavy rains, and the rush of water through a deep cut made through a hill upon which the track was laid. The train was precipitated down an embankment of twelve feet, into a pool or stream of water six feet in depth. The cars were badly broken, and one of them was submerged to the depth of four feet over the flooring.
      The night was dark and rainy. The place had never given any indications of danger, and was all in order just before dark. The train consisted of an engine, baggage and two passenger cars.

We are indebted to the telegraph operator of the Central road for a list of the killed and wounded, as follows:
MISS BROWN, of Toronto, killed.
CLINTON BROWNSON, Westfield, Conn., fatally wounded.
JOHN OAKSBURY, of Vermilyes, Jefferson county, ribs broken.
SAMUEL PLUMB, of New York, slightly injured.
LIZZIE FRANKLIN, Warren, R. I., rib broken.
PATRICK NOLAN, baggage master, badly injured, his legs and shoulders being badly broken.
P. PENTTINGER, emigrant baggage master, collar bone broken.
R. HASLUP, engineer, bruised and arm scalded.
Fireman, badly bruised.
MR. McMASTER, the recently appointed mail agent, was badly bruised.
MR. DeFOREST, of New Haven, Conn., arm broken.

MISS BROWN, daughter of GEORGE BROWN, editor of the Toronto Globe, was drowned in the cars. She was in company with her father, en route to England. He escaped with a few slight injuries.


Catharine Brown was actually George Brown's sister. 
She is buried, with the rest of her family, in The Necropolis.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

folk costumes

For Sunday Stamps this week, we have folk costumes. these are only five of the set of eight issued for various regions around Poland in 1969 and designed by graphic designer Stefan Malecki

Krzczonów is a village in southeast Poland

(don't you just love that feather in his cap?)

Łowicz is a small town between Warsaw and Łódź in central Poland
(I like how her braid is swinging!)

Rozbark is a village in Upper Silesia

(I'm sure the hand positions mean something, no?)

Dolnośląsk is Lower Silesia (in Polish) 
the folk costumes are from the Wrocław area

Sącz is a region south of Nowy Sącz.
(that ruffle on her waistband is something I haven't seen before)

I boosted the colour a little to see if it would help make the images clearer, but they are not very crisp to begin with.
one site had dates listed from 1804-1811, but then I thought maybe they weren't dates, but just some sort of stock number. they are all very different from each other and I wish I could find some information on them. but sadly, nothing.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I spent a good many hours yesterday with my computer on and set to the live video feed of the raising of the Concordia. Many hours of not much seeming to happen, then suddenly you return to the screen to to see a lot has happened. Fascinating stuff, really. And oddly riveting.

The best part was there was no filling the air time with inane and/or repetitive commentary, just the visual with the sound of the gentle waves (quite soothing actually, when I was napping) and the distant voices of some of the engineering crew. The comments on the Reuters site (seriously moderated, I'm sure) were for the most part intelligent, for a change and the answers were well considered and insightful.

The BBC has a pretty cool time-lapse video (plus many more images) for anyone who didn't have a spare 19 hours...

So, no need for a made-for-tv movie about this, then?!

In the meantime, google maps still shows the unrighted vessel lying of the island

Monday, September 16, 2013

grave post - Ingersoll

Continuing with last week's grave post, this gravestone can be found in the Ingersoll Rural Cemetery. Charles Fortescue Ingersoll was the younger brother of Laura Ingersoll Secord. He was one of the founding families of the town of Ingersoll which he named after his father who brought the family to Upper Canada from Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1793.  
Charles was a busy man, working with his brother James at building a sawmill, gristmill, potash plant, and distillery. He also served as postmaster at the general store he started. In 1824 he would be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and then again in 1830. 
A year later, while still in office, Charles died of cholera leaving his wife, Maria. They had children, but I haven't found any sources saying how many. Charles himself was one of many siblings as his father had married three times and had four daughters with his first wife, Elizabeth (the eldest being Laura) and seven more children with his third wife, Sarah (the eldest being Charles).
The family were re-interred from the Episcopal Church Cemetery in 1888
Due to the shared history, (and probably to coincide as part of the War of 1812 commemorations)  in 2012  the town of Ingersoll was twinned with the town of Great Barrington.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

se-tenant stamps

I was quite thrilled to find this block of stamps. 
birds are a particular favourite of mine 
especially waterbirds.

It also helps that the latin names are included on the stamps.

Myophonus insularis -  Taiwan Whistling Thrush
Cinclus pallasii -  Brown Dipper
Aix galericulata -  Mandarin Duck
Nycticorax Nycticorax-  Night Heron
Egretta garzetta -  Little Egret

Rhyacornis fuliginosa -  Plumbeous Water Redstart
Enicurus scouleri -  Little Forktail
Motacilla cinerea -  Grey Wagtail
Alcedo atthis -  Common Kingfisher
Motacilla alba -  White Wagtail

this is a set of se-tenant stamps for Sunday Stamps

edited to add a link to the whistling thrush call

Friday, September 13, 2013

Royal Mail

The news that the nearly 500 year old Royal Mail is soon to be privatized came out this week. I can't begin to imagine what this might entail, though I have tried to read as many articles in the UK papers as I can. It hasn't seemed like privatization has worked well on any of the other British institutions and the talk continues over here on what to do with Canada Post as it seems to be losing millions of dollars. I get very annoyed when I hear dismissive comments like "get rid of it - who sends a letter anymore anyway?"
 With Postcrossing, I am at the post office at least 2-3 times a week. Once I learned that you can save on the HST by sending your letters when you buy your international stamps, I no longer stock up and instead head out whenever I have three or most postcards ready to send. It is a rare occasion that there isn't a line-up at the counter. And this is at a substation located within the Shoppers Drug Mart that's usually open 7 days a week for about 12 hours a day. Now, I admit, I also have a tendency to get there between 4-5pm just before the mail is being picked up but still, there's always other people waiting to send something. So I say to these dismissive types who can't 'remember' when they last mailed a letter - maybe you should talk to the post office employees at your local Shoppers to see how busy they are since you obviously assume everyone else is just like you.
 Okay, rant over.

for PostcardFriendshipFriday here are two postcards showing Royal Mail initiative....

this postcard shows the World's First Post Office Tram, Blackpool.

The Post Office tram was first used during the period of the Blackpool illuminations 1981. hired from Blackpool Transport Dept to promote the use of holiday postcards, the tram was adapted to accommodate a full-time philatelic sales point.

this second card shows a red pillar box at the Fullwood entrance 
for the Post Office at the Garden Festival

When I tried googling the words garden festival, Blackpool and Fullwood, I came up blank - except for a copy of this postcard sold on e-bay

these are NWBP Series. not sure what that stands for - maybe someone from England can enlighten us?