Friday, June 27, 2014

from a Villa to a Court

In 1902 Charles Martin Bowman built Hampton Villa, a magnificent three-story red brick house with a red conical roof made of brass, located on Albert St in Southampton.  
The roof looks conical, but not red in this postcard. When I found this postcard, I bought it because it was a cool looking house and because it was in Southampton. I didn't recognize it for the house that still stands today as the one I'd been admiring for years.

Bowman's home included 12 bedrooms, five fireplaces (only one still in use), leaded glass lights, and twelve inch baseboards of maple and walnut, all hardwoods from a Bruce County forest which he owned. The curved bricks for the corners came from Scotland and stone corbelling (a projection of stone or wood from the face of a wall) lined the windows, each with a different sculpted design. Almost every window was adorned with stained glass design, still proudly viewed. The staircases were built with low rises, each with heavy-crafted banisters. The area below the conical roof was made into a beautiful veranda, now enclosed.

as it stands today... the south view
Over the years the house has been altered to suit the changing roles, but entering the building today one can see that the historic architecture has been preserved. 
I haven't had the nerve to walk in myself, but maybe I will one day and pretend that I'm looking for a vacancy for an elderly relative
this is perhaps the worst of the alterations, obscuring the front view of the elegant villa house. it looks like a motel was built on to the front. it is now a senior's residence.

This charming residence exudes warmth and comfort, where residents enjoy the beauty and tranquility. Hampton Court carries the same grandeur today as it did decades ago.

(italics from Hampton Court website)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

ghost stories

On Friday the 13th, with a full moon rising,     Canada Post issued the the first in a three year series of Haunted Canada stamps. this first photo is from the Canada Post website (because I was having trouble getting a perfectly straight picture of my own stamps)
but if you look closely on the real stamps, you can see a ghostly imprint of
 Haunted Canada Hanté and a holographic foil

the first five stamps feature these images:
  • Ontario’s Fort George: Phantom footsteps and ghosts make this one of the most haunted places in Canada.
  • Alberta’s Ghost Bride: The ghost of a 1920s bride who died in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is said to inhabit the hotel to this day.
  • Quebec’s Château Frontenac: The hotel’s namesake is said to wander hotel halls in his 17th century garb.
  • Saskatchewan’s St. Louis Ghost Train: Believers say a ghostly glowing light is a CNR conductor who lost his head to a passing train in the 1920s.
  • PEI’s Northumberland Strait: A burning ship is often spotted between NB and PEI. As would-be rescuers approach, the ship disappears into the mist.


Friday, June 20, 2014

many steps

My brother was recently in North Carolina on a trip. 
The last thing I said to him was "send a postcard". 
Yesterday, my card from NC finally arrived. 

I had given up expecting anything. After all, I've been saying that for years and usually get nothing. But now, suddenly my collecting is being taken seriously.

From atop Chimney Rock, an ancient monolith soaring 1,200ft above the valley floor, one can see more than 75 miles across Lake Lure, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Carolina Piedmont.

There is an elevator (35 seconds to the top), but the message on the card said "...they say the view is fabulous. we didn't go up. the elevator was broken."

Checking out TripAdvisor, it seems many others complained about the down elevator, though those that climbed the "many steps" to the top say it was worth it. For my brother, the line up to climb the stairs was too long and besides, it was clouding over.

But the real story is that while in Asheville, he was determined to find a vintage card and it had to be one of someplace local. (I would have been happy with a contemporary card, but being an antiques dealer, he was on a mission) He was only there for 3 days, but apparently searched high and low for just the right card. Then he had to find a stamp which, for some reason, proved more difficult than he imagined (but he was there over the long weekend, so it makes sense). By the time a stamp (and not a stamp to Canada) was found, they were already out of NC. The NC card could not be mailed with a WV or PA postmark. So, after they got home, he mailed the card in an envelope back to the friends in Asheville and asked that they mail it to me. Which they did.
The postmark reads Greenville.
Which is in South Carolina.
Oh well.
I'm still thrilled. by the card and the effort.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

clowns are people, too

While I'm not afraid of clowns, I'm not particularly enamoured of them, either. I find them rather creepy, though I know there are many different types of clowns (I inexplicably love Cirque du Soleil for example). Anyway, when I found these stamps in the 10¢ box, I picked them up partly because they were Gibraltar (of which I have none) but mostly because I thought this theme might show up in Sunday Stamps. I wanted to be ready.
Charlie Cairoli (1910-1980) born in France he was the most popular attraction for 40yrs at Blackpool’s Tower Circus
Nicolai Poliakoff (1900-1974) born in what is now Latvia, created Coco the Clown, who is officially an auguste, or the fool who gets the pie in the face
Charles Adrien Wettach (1880-1959) Swiss born Grock was once the most highly paid entertainer in the world
Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) performed at Covent Garden and Sadler's Wells simultaneously as London's leading clown and comic entertainer

These were issued in 2002 
for the Europa theme of The Circus, Famous Clowns
According to Grock "The genius of clowning is transforming the little, everyday annoyances, not only overcoming, but actually transforming them into something strange and terrific… it is the power to extract mirth for millions out of nothing and less than nothing. 

I will admit, I like the bright colours and the fact that they look like happy clowns and not the down and out clowns that may be more of a North American style. Red Skelton (1913-1997) comes to mind. He was a very funny man and I loved his show, but his hobo clown, Freddie the Freeloader, always made me uneasy. 
He also has a stamp which I don't have, but now that I've seen that there are 20 stamps in this series of old television shows from the 50's and 60's (issued in 2009) I want one. Or rather, all of 20 of them!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cobourg... again

look what I found while sorting through my vintage cards.... 
I didn't even remember having it (does this mean I have too many??)

In a far away country

It's all relative, I guess - Detroit is just a wave across the river from Canada and only 475km southwest of  Cobourg

I can't read the date, but it might be 1907?

see here for the inside view of this building


Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Later (continuing from yesterday's post), we headed out to the village of Grafton where I took no pictures of either the lovely old inn where we had lunch, nor the nicely plated lunch. Neither did I take any pictures of Ste Anne's Spa, a place I was wanting to see and where I've often thought would be a wonderfully decadent place to spend a few hundred dollars if I had nothing else needing my money. Sometimes, I'm just enjoying the moment and not thinking of future blog posts. Sorry.

However, we did go to an old canning factory that now looks nothing like any factory ever. It was built in 1904 and during the next 50 years until it was closed, thousands of pounds of produce were processed. Only one of the factory buildings and one barn remain as it all became derelict until a couple of years ago.

Now it is the sparsely decorated weekend home of a couple of designers and a weekday showroom of designer furniture.

with a spa bathroom to die for

(this would be the juliette balcony where you see the woman in the top picture)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Doors Open...part one

It's Doors Open season in Ontario again and this past weekend I met up with friends who live in Cobourg (about a 2 hour drive east from where I live) and we set out to explore the area. 

The one place that I really wanted to see was Victoria Hall. 

It is an imposing structure that is now - and always was - used as a town hall, art gallery and concert hall.

and yes, there were fears that it might end up as a pile of stone rubble by the 1970s (it was built in 1860), but with the help of at least one feisty councillor named Lenah Field Fisher, it was restored to its former glory.

(you'll notice that these pictures were obviously not taken taken in the same season, and not even taken this year. there wasn't quite the profusion of flowers this year, so these are from 2012)
Inside, as well as the third floor art gallery, and the second floor concert hall is the main floor courtroom
With its panelled boxes, it's modelled after the Old Bailey in London and is the only known sunken court room in Canada.
Now, instead of being sent down for a criminal offence in this room, one can have a unique wedding setting.
this was possibly my favourite room of the day
Just down the street is the old armouries which is now the police station. 
I neglected to take a photo but, wouldn't you know it, I do have an old postcard. We toured the newly renovated facility and saw the dark old jail cells as well as the light filled new offices 
and I really wanted to add these jail cell keys to my old key collection. I wish I'd taken a picture of the whole display case to show just how enormous they were!
then we headed outdoors where we were treated to an impromptu first lesson on a segway!

for a brief millisecond, I thought about grabbing my friend's purse and taking off, just to have this poor cop try to chase me on this thing.
but, I remembered what those jail cells looked like and besides, we had more to see.....

Friday, June 6, 2014


a delicious map card of the Normandy region of France. 
I've been waiting to post this on this occasion*

This site gives you all the info you might need if you happen to be in Normandy for the 70th Anniversary D-Day Celebrations

not quite a "we remember" or war-time era postcard as I don't have any 

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Musical instruments is the theme this week for Sunday Stamps and I have been eagerly anticipating some 2014 Europa stamps of the same theme, but so far none of my postcards have had any on them. So I resorted to searching through my older stamps and found these. All drums from Africa.
Up first is one from Upper Volta - which I admit I had to google to find it's current name of Burkina Faso (West Africa). With a bit more google research, I found this description

The body of a lunga drum has the shape of a gently curving cone connected by a hollow cylinder. A circular drum rim made of coiled-up cane wrapped in raffia grass fits over the round opening on each end of the drum's body. Goat skin is sewn onto the rim to make each drumhead. Cords made of antelope skin are strung back-and-forth between the two heads, holding them in place and enabling the drummer to apply the pressure that controls the drum's pitches. Alhaji points out that the pressure actually pulls on the cane rim, whose subtle movement affects the tension of the goat skin.
Players wear the lunga drum over one shoulder, holding it snuggly up into the armpit with a long scarf. A curved wooden stick with a flattened knob on the end is the drum beater.

and below, there are two more drums, these from Chad (Central Africa), which I couldn't find any information on. 

on the left is a 
'shoulder drum' 

and on the right a 
'drum and seat' 

both from 1965