Sunday, February 7, 2016

Graphic Humour, Spain

Just recently I selfishly acquired this from a friend...well, he didnt object in me taking it, but I keep thinking that maybe I was just a bit too greedy....but then again, if I left it with him he would have just used it for postage most probably so I just want to think that I kinda saved it :D

If you take a good look you will actually see that the issue is presented as a souvenir sheet that is made up of one stamp, plus 11 cartoons in a comic strip format with no postage value (kinda weird on the other hand, to create a stamp sheet like this and then kinda make it useless...cos if you just use the stamp and leave the rest it kinda ends up being destroyed and looks I guess this was meant for collectors only...I mean, the face value of the stamp is not really something you could use on every day mail now, is it?). It features a dedication penned by the graphic humorist: “For the entire philatelic work force, with affection (2014).”

Antonio Fraguas de Pablo, known as Forges, was born in Madrid in 1942. Beginning as a technician at the national television station TVE when he was very young, in 1973 he decided to devote himself professionally to graphic humour. During this initial period, he published his first drawings in the daily newspaper Pueblo (in 1964) and in Informaciones, and began to collaborate with the humour magazines Hermano Lobo, Por Favor and El Jueves. In 1982 he began working at the newspaper Diario 16 drawing editorial jokes. Years later, he began appearing in El Mundo, the paper that he helped to found. In 1995 he started publishing a daily comic strip in El País that he still signs today. Exhibiting a sense of humour that is caustic, realistic and loaded with current references, Forges depicts a critical vision of current events in his drawings, with thought-provoking characters and situations from everyday life. He uses popular language, with invented words, such as strozá, gensanta, bocata and esborcio, that simulate vocabulary picked up directly from the streets. Among his most well-known characters, which undoubtedly reflect the ad hoc nature of society, are: Mariano and his wife Concha, the island castaways that combat loneliness with imagination, Los Blasillos (the Blasillo family) in rural Spain, the deranged football fans and the enfuriated office worker. Phrases such as “Don’t forget...” repeated day after day for different reasons, emphasise events that occupy the front pages of the news.

it was issued on October 9, 2014

anyways, the theme for today's Sunday Stamps is illustrations, and this kinda (at least according to me), fit into the I thought it would be nice to share it with you, cos personally, I really love this one!
Now, it is in Spanish, so I hope you can get the idea about what it is all with my limited knowledge of Spanish, I would refrain from translating, translating humour is like destined to result in a failure...

for more illustrations of this and other kinds, make sure to visit today's Sunday Stamps! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bicycles on Stamps

It's been more than a while since I've participated in the Sunday Stamps...almost a year actually...yeah, I know, shame on me =/ but as you know i've barely participated in anything postcards/stamps related during the past year...

anyways, enough excuses...some time ago I read that one of the foreseen Sunday Stamps' theme would be cycles, and I immediately knew I would have to take part in this one...those who know me, know my passion/love/fascination when it comes to bicycles (places like Amsterdam or Copenhagen for example are like my ideal place for living just because of that cycling culture they have..)

Ok, the whole theme for today refers to all cycles (bi-, tri-, motor), but I'll stick to the bi- ones...

I hope the host wouldn't mind I'm posting the same issue....
This is a set of Russian stamps issued on 11 December 2008 representing the history of the bicycle (and these come from the collection of the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, which is one of the oldest Science Museums in the world.

There are four different stamps here (no, it is not eight as it may seem at first glance - each bike/stamp is presented twice)

- the bike at the top-left and bottom right corner - Bicycle ZiCh-1 - a three speed derailleur touring bike that was revered in the Soviet Union for its quality, finish and capability. It appeared in 1946 and was possibly only produced until 1948. It was a brand of bicycles produced in Novosibirsk by Aviation Factory no 153. This factory was named after Valery Chkalov, an iconic Russian test pilot and Soviet hero of the 1930s)

- the middle stamp, both at top and bottom, shows a Road female bicycle V-22. Features: Representatively reflects class of road bicycles with an open frame. The most widespread model of female bicycle in the country in 1950-1960. Produced by Kharkov bicycle factory n.a. G.I.Petrovskiy.

- the stamp at the top right and bottom left corner - a collapsible bicycle of the military sample of "Leytner". Russia. 1917. Manufacturer: A. Leytner’s Factory of bicycles and cars "Russia". Features: the bicycle was produced upon the order of the Russian army. The collapsible mechanism gives the chance to fit it up quickly in the car in any conditions. The small weight (16 kg) offered an opportunity for transferring it on the back - I dont know if this is a typo, but in which world 16kg is actually considered 'small weight'?????

- the last stamp, the one in the middle both on the left and the right side - Racing track bicycle GM-30, 1938. It has wooden rims and frame from thin-walled steel pipes. The back plug is deprived of free wheeling.

and I have another issue I wanted to show for today, this one coming from France...

Issued 17 June 2011, showing bicycles from the origins to the present day. Here you have 6 different bicycles on stamps, plus a few extra drawings on the sheet.

With my non-existent knowledge of French, thank God to Eric and his blog, so I could copy the info on these bike-stamps

 The first model (without any pedals or handlebars), the dandy horse, was created in 1817 by German Karl Drais.
It was only in 1861 that the first pedal bicycles were created, the "michaudines" designed by French Pierre Michaux. The front wheel of the velocipede then became larger than the rear wheel to reach its climax with the penny-farthing, quickly condemned for its lack of security...
By 1880, an English company revolutionized the velocipede with the first bicycle including a chain. It will then become more reliable and another invention in 1888, the bicycle tire, will allow it to become more and more popular worldwide, partly due to the creation of the Tour de France in 1903.
The last stamp features a city bike, a recent version of the velocipede including the latest innovations, perfect for commutings. (velocipede - an early form of bicycle propelled by working pedals on cranks fitted to the front axle.) Funny fact - the Macedonian word for bicycle is 'velosiped' :)

For more wheels, visit the Sunday Stamps and enjoy the ride :)

(I'll come back to comment on your cycling beauties a bit later - I just realized I am already late for a friend's gathering - all for the love of bicycles..and stamps :))

Friday, January 15, 2016

Capital Cities of Europe, France

I don't know if you know Eric from France...though if you are a stamp collector you probably do or have at least come across his great stamps' blog

Anyways, Eric among else collects covers with EUROPA stamps, so each year I try to send him one and he sends me back the current French issue "Capital Cities of Europe".
 This year however I sent him the cover just in December (I know, I was terrible last year when it come to mail), but at least I caught the last train...and thanks to that and to Eric now I have added this beautiful "Capital Cities of Europe" issue depicting Riga!
If you want to, you can check some of the other issues from this series in this post.

Speaking of Riga, it is a capital I haven't visited yet, but that's been on my agenda for a while now....whenever I look at the postcards I have from Riga, I sigh at how beautiful it is!

This issue depicts four buildings in Riga, namely, The Nativity of Christ Cathedral (top left corner), St. Peter's Church (top right corner), The House of the Blackheads (bottom left corner) and the National Opera (bottom right corner).

- The House of the Blackheads - The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga. Major works were done in the years 1580 and 1886, adding most of the ornamentations. The structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans June 28, 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999.

- The Latvian National Opera House is home to both the Latvian National Opera and the Latvian National Ballet. It was constructed in 1863 by the St. Petersburg architect Ludwig Bohnstedt, for the then German-speaking City Theatre, and has been refurbished several times.

- St. Peter's Church is a Lutheran church in Riga, dedicate to St. Peter (well, of course it is), first mentioned in records dating to 1209. It has three periods of construction and two of reconstruction

- The Nativity of Christ Cathedral was built in a Neo-Byzantine style between 1876 and 1883, during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire. It is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Baltic provinces built with the blessing of the Russian Tsar Alexander.
During the First World War German troops occupied Riga and turned its largest Russian Orthodox cathedral into a Lutheran church. In independent Latvia, the Nativity of Christ Cathedral once again became an Orthodox cathedral in 1921.

n.b -  The Freedom Monument, representing a woman raising three gold stars, is featured in the margin of the sheet to the right. Inaugurated in 1935, this memorial was erected in honor of soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918-1920).

I have read that the 2016 issue is going to depict Amsterdam! Wohooo! Can hardly wait for that one :D
Thanks a bunch to Eric for this issue and, hopefully Amsterdam will be the next one on the list!! :D

issued: 03 April 2015
mini sheet size: 143 x 135mm

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter Wonderland, Alderney

Boy boy, we're almost to make an anniversary of silence here...I know I've terrible at updates recently, but this came as a shock to me as well :)

Well, New Year, new beginnings, new (un) realistic resolutions....let's see what 2016 brings us :)

And this blog, for the beginning of the year brings us a somewhat convenient post...even though outside is far from the wonderland on the images, the winterish theme is what should count, right?

I don't know if the proper word here is wonderland or dreamland but the images are so fairytalish! There is even both a train and a lighthouse stamp! A real win-win :)

This is the description that came along with the FDC....

The Santa Special 

It was Christmas Eve and Alderney had woken up to a magical stillness and hush. As the Islanders pulled open their curtains, a blank canvas awaited them to be filled with festive fun. Victoria Street was a scene from a Dickens' novel, its cobbles sugar-iced in snow and its street lamps casting pools of golden light against the colour-washed houses. Down at the harbour, the still waters looked like a skating pond, snow formed into drifts beside the quays and the colours of the fishing boats faded away like old photographs. On the horizon, dark clouds brooded, lead-grey and ominous. By nightfall, the stillness of the day had been replaced with gusting winds and lashing sleet. Doors were closed and fires banked up. Hot toddies were poured to smooth the last-minute wrapping of presents and stockings were fastened to mantlepieces by excited children. As the weather worsened, the mournful sound of the foghorn at Mannez Lighthouse caught the wind and the tower's beam of light reached out to the turbulent sea. Overhead, Father Christmas sailed above the weather in his sleigh and searched for the beautiful Island he knew lay beneath. A gap in the snow clouds opened and he gazed at Alderney as if looking upon the face of a well-loved friend. As the sleigh descended onto the long stretch of Braye common, Father Christmas heard a loud crack on the starboard side and the vessel lurched to the right before coming to rest in a large snowdrift. "Ho! What's this, my lovelies?" he called to his reindeer. Stepping off the sleigh, Father Christmas could see the problem immediately: one of the runners had split in two. Weighed down with hundreds of presents there was no way he would be able to mend it on his own. He looked around to see if help was at hand. Orange squares blinked out of the darkness and strings of festive lights adorned porches and garden fences but not a soul was about. The old man's spirits were beginning to fall when to the west he noticed a bright light drawing closer and into view chugged Elizabeth, the Island's pretty diesel engine, with the two London Underground carriages she pulled. They had finished their Christmas Eve train ride for local families and were heading back to the shelter of their shed at Mannez Quarry. Father Christmas had an idea so he set to work. In no time at all, the sleigh was empty and the railway carriages had been transformed into vibrant grottos stacked high with presents and treats. He fastened his reindeer to the front of the little green engine and then up, up and away they flew! The strange craft soured into the night sky and as they rose above the pretty town of St Anne, the winds dropped and the sound of carols drifted up from the church at its centre, it's stained glass windows blazing with jewel-like hues. "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas Alderney!" cried Father Christmas. And the sleigh bells rang out. On Christmas morning, their stockings unwrapped, the Island's children gathered for a snowball fight. They may have noticed the extra large snowdrift half way along the common, but it would be the New Year before the mysterious sleigh was revealed. Another Alderney Legend would be born.

Date of Issue : 27 October 2011
Values:            31p, 36p, 47p, 48p, 52p, 61p, 65p
Stamp size:      29.584mm deep x 38.55mm wide
Perforation:     13.5 x 14.25

Enjoy your winter days =)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The History of Alderney Harbour, Alderney

the theme of water seems quite adequate for this period because after a few weeks of nice weather, we've been struck again by some thunderstorms and floods...and even woke up to some snow this morning, but by now it has all melted away...well, I don't mind the snow or the rain as much as I mind the constant weather changes which leave me so drowsy and unwilling to get out of my pajamas all day long...

well, we have some nice water quantities on this 2012 FDC from Alderney.

Alderney harbour has been the setting for some formidable feats of maritime engineering and chief amongst them is the 2,700 feet long Breakwater, which was built by the British Admiralty to defend against the threatened invasion of Napoleon.
The completed structure is the longest in the UK, cost £ 1.5 million and posed enormous challenges to contractors, Jackson & Bean.
Sea conditions in Alderney can be severe and Braye Bay is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic and a large tidal range. Added to this, the waters where the Breakwater was to be built reached depths of over 150 feet, greatly magnifying the scale of the task.
Stone and sand were provided locally but all other materials needed to be imported and so Little Crabby Harbour was built to accommodate the tipping (hopper) barges and steam boats that to'd and fro'd.
The Breakwater is formed from a rubble bank, topped by a masonry wall with a promenade and slipway on the harbour side. The foundation stone was laid in 1847 and by the late 1850's over half a million tonnes a year were being tipped.
The development created a booming quarrying industry and the Commercial Quay was opened in 1897 to help with export. It remains a lifeline for islanders, providing berthing for passenger ferries as well as food and freight deliveries. In 2011, a multimillion-pound refurbishment was completed, making it fit for the 21st century.
The Breakwater construction proved far more difficult than anticipated, went vastly over budget and was blighted by winter storms. Building stopped in 1864 but the task of maintaining it continues.
Today it remains a bustling working harbour that provides shelter for the quays and moorings but also for the shoreline around Braye Bay, where clusters of houses still dot the low-lying land.

Top row, from left to right: Douglas Quay, Braye Harbour c.1800; - Breakwater c1866; - SS Courier c.1926
Bottom row from left to right: Little Crabby Harbour c.1985; - RNLI Lifeboat - Roy Barker 1 c.1995; - Commercial Quay - built 2011

Wanna see more water beauties? Then just visit Violet's post for today's Sunday Stamps

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prehistorical Animals - Australias Age of Dinosaurs, Australia

After an early 5 am morning rise for watching the Australian Open, it is time to post some Australian stamps too.
Ok, I will admit that I was actually a bit lazy to search for some nice shaped stamps I was simply easier to go for something Australian...but it did fit in nicely with the current AO event :)

I really love this sheet of stamps issued in 2013, showing a number of dinasours. The colours are just so beautiful and even the dinasours dont seem so terrifying...except for that first guy with the name of Koolasuchus. My knowledge on dinasours is, let's just say, non-existent, so I'll just give you a few facts on each one, relying on what google has to say about this bunch of guys here.
I already mentioned the Koolacushus, which was an aquatic temnospondyl estimated to have been around 4 to 5 metres, with a mass of up to 500kg. It is an extinct genus of brachyopoid temnospondyl in the family Chigutisauridae. Fossils have been found from Victoria, Australia and date back 120 Ma to the Aptian stage of the Early Cretaceous. Koolasuchus is the latest known temnospondyl.

On the following stamp we have two representatives of Serendipaceratops, a dubious genus of herbivorous ornithischian dinosaur from the early Cretaceous Period of Australia.

The third stamp shows the Timimus, a genus of small coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Australia. It was originally identified as an ornithomimosaur, but now it is thought to be a different kind of theropod, possibly a tyrannosauroid or unenlagiine

The fourth one, on the top, is a Diamantinasaurus, (meaning "Diamantina River lizard") is a genus of derived titanosaurian dinosaur from late Albian (Early Cretaceous)-age rocks of Australia

Below the River lizard are two representatives of the Qantassaurus, a genus of two-legged, plant-eating ornithischian dinosaur that lived in Australia about 115 million years ago, when the continent was still partly south of the Antarctic Circle. It was named after Qantas, the Australian airline ( in honor of the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service, which shipped fossils around the country as part of the Great Russian Dinosaurs Exhibit between 1993 and 1996, and sponsored expeditions to South America and Eastern Europe).

And the last guy on our exhibit here is an Australovenator, (or a Southern hunter), a genus of megaraptoran theropod dinosaur from Albian (Early Cretaceous)-age rocks (dated to 95 million years ago) of Australia.

I really wish there was some place on Earth where dinasours still existed...for me it is somewhat difficult to grasp the idea of such animals walking around and the whole concept of such creatures existing is really cool! Just don't ask me to pronounce all those names and genus and stuff :)

For more fun choices, visit Violet's blog.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Total Eclipse of the Sun, Hungary

Im not quite sure if this post is exactly fitting today's Sunday Stamps theme of "Organizations, Special Events", but I find the Total Eclipse of the Sun as one very special event and therefore want to share with you today this Hungarian issue from 1999, where this Solar Eclipse is presented.

This Eclipse occurred on 11 August 1999, something that seems quite distant right now, but I actually do remember when it happened even though from here in Macedonia we didn't really have the best experience possible, but I do remember this weird kind of sensation in the sky and all those constant warnings of not to be staring at the Sun directly at that time without any sunglasses and if it is pretty fine to be doing it at other times.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the Sun for a viewer on Earth.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is larger than the Sun, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across the surface of the Earth, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible over a region thousands of kilometres wide.

The path of the Moon's shadow during this time began in the Atlantic Ocean and, before noon, was traversing the southern United Kingdom, northern France, Belgium, Luxembourg, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and northern Serbia (Vojvodina). Its maximum was in Romania (next to a town called Ocnele Mari near Râmnicu Vâlcea); and it continued across Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran, southern Pakistan and Srikakulam in India and ended in the Bay of Bengal. It was the first total eclipse visible from Europe since 22 July 1990, and the first visible in the United Kingdom since 29 June 1927.

Due to the high population densities in areas of the path, this one is considered as one of the most-viewed total solar eclipse in human history; although some areas in the path of totality (mainly in Western Europe) offered impaired visibility due to adverse weather conditions.

So if you have an experience to share with this or some other Solar eclipse you have witnessed, please do so in the comments section...would be an interesting read :)

Click on the link below and see what others have shared today!