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 15 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.......

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas stamps

There is growing frustration and angst among many Postcrossers on our facebook page regarding the wanton 'pen mark' cancellation that is becoming the norm. emails have been sent and phone calls made to Canada Post to complain. I understand the postal employees are disgruntled, but this scribble just ruins the stamp and makes it worthless to any collector. who wants to save that??

I am not a collector of cancellations, though I do like the special ones, but I'd rather see an uncancelled stamp than one defaced in what looks like a disrespectful manner.

these stamps above are from 2005 and 2007. both were designed by Hélène L'Heureux and feature holographic snowflakes. the snowman of 2005 was the first time a secular Christmas stamp was issued.

What I really wanted to feature this week for Sunday Stamps II were these from Ukraine.
one from 2012 designed by Olena Levska

and this 2013 one designed by painter Vladimir Kornev
I love how the gold shimmers.

Sunday Stamps is continuing on with a link up over at See it on a Postcard.
Some people have been experiencing problems getting a link for See it on a Postcard to work (including myself, though now it's working on my sidebar). please let me know if this is still happening. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Masterpieces of Canadian Art

Both of these art stamps have a gold foil border, which looks elegant... until it gets all scratched. This series was started in 1988 and with each successive year a new stamp featuring Masterpieces of Art being issued.
first is by Jean Phillipe Dallaire (1916-1965) called "Coq Licorne" Unicorn Rooster issued 1999 from his 1954 painting                                         He is best known for his festive paintings populated by strange and macabre people. In his work, the real and the imaginary intermingle in a world of form and colour. (credit National Gallery of Canada)
next is by Alex Colville (1920-2013), Church and Horse, issued 2002 from his 1964 painting. 
Drawing his inspiration from the world around him, from the most repetitive gestures of everyday life, he placed his unsettling juxtapositions of figures, objects and animals in an ambiguous atmosphere of disquieting tranquillity, as though time were suspended. His compositions are rigorously constructed according to a precise geometry and executed with a technique that consists of minuscule dabs of paint applied meticulously dot by dot. (credit National Gallery of Canada)

For Viridian's last Sunday Stamps 
join us next week at See it on a Postcard for another round of Sunday Stamps

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


some of you may be wondering what these are...
some of you may be wondering what these would look like...


community mailboxes!

I rather like them (compared to the other ones, they are attractive)
though I did notice that there is no shelter or light
and no recycle/garbage bins at any of the locations
while it may be convenient to have mail picked up at the same location,
you never know just what time it will be picked up
a little something shared with signs, signs

Sunday, December 7, 2014

blue stamps

Normally, I like stamps that have a bit more detail to them than these, but there is something about the simplicity that really appeals to me. below is the full set of Dutch icons, that with all the Dutch postcards I've been getting, I hope to have completed soon

There is more detail than you might think from a first glance at this Japanese stamp, from the waves in the water to the hint of ruffled feathers in the swan.

(I am beyond frustrated that I can't get the proper, exact, shade of turquoise, I must say)

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Sunday Stamps link up will soon be featured on my other postcard and stamp related blog See it on a Post Card 
yes, the one I started then rarely posted on... that was me (how many Violet's do you know?? and you do know that's not my real name, right?)


I would like to thank Viridian for keeping this stamp party going for so long - next week 200 posts! It has introduced me to many of you lovely people and to many, many interesting stamps. 
a round of applause and cheers, cheers!!

Starting on December 21, a link will be up at 12:30am Eastern - so before breakfast for you all in the UK and Europe, and before dinner for you in Australia and Southeast Asia.

we'll start with Christmas or Hanukkah on the 21st 
and move on to children's toys for the 28th

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

street signs - Main St

You probably can't get a more mainstream (or boring) a name than Main Street. At least in the US and Canada, it is very common. It is even used as a metonym to described the major retail street, or what the Brits call the 'high street'.
but I have never seen it written as it is in the town of Delhi (pronounced DEL-high, by the way) not far from Woodstock, where we saw last week's street sign.

signs, signs

Monday, December 1, 2014

the sport of mums

A highlight of the fall season around here is the annual Mum Show (officially the Hamilton Fall Garden and Mum Show) 

with this year's theme being, appropriately, the Pan Am Games. The games are coming to Toronto in July 2015. There was great excitement when the bid was won. Then things went quickly downhill. Among them were the years of wrangling about what to do with Ivor Wynne Stadium and a long drawn out period of months (literally six or eight months) when every day, the front page of the newspaper (remember, I deliver the thing, I saw it even if I gave up reading about it) carried stories of the ups and downs and to-ing and fro-ing and reversals and back to the future stories of the fate of the stadium that would hold the soccer matches. Homes were expropriated, sites were challenged. It literally went up the mountain and back down again (yes, Hamilton has a Mountain though it is really a part of the Niagara Escarpment that divides the city). In the end, the old stadium was knocked down and a new one with a different configuration built on the same land. It was also renamed after a well-known coffee and donut chain (started by Tim Horton - who was a hockey player, not a football player, but that's beside the point) for a lot of money, though for the duration of the games will be called the Pan Am Soccer Stadium

Anyway, this post and walk for Restless Jo's Monday Walk takes place at the Gage Park Greenhouse
as you walk through the greenhouse, you'll find  some of the participating sports displayed 

with equipment to admire and explanations  to read
the most interesting of which I found on the table tennis sign. we all know it is also called ping pong, but who knew about 'whiff waff' and 'flim flam'?? or that originally it was played using books as net and paddles hitting golf balls?
and of course, the centrepiece is the giant soccer ball

and hiding in the foliage was the pretending-to-be-shy mascot Pachi

previous walks through the mum show can be seen here  and here