Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dickens' Christmas Stories, Anguilla

Hello all from Skopje at 0 degrees Celsius...which I must say is much better compared to the previous days of -10 till -15...we had our first snow too, a LOT of snow, which on the first day was just fantastic despite all the chaos it caused....but now, everything is just grey and icy...
It is also a reminder that winter is coming (officially) and along with that, all the holidays too (which im NOT fond of - yeah, im one of those who shudder at the thought of the New Year euphoria). I don't know if you know, but here we celebrate the Orthodox Christmas which is on January 7, so the euphoria here revolves around New Year's Eve, while Christmas is more of a calm day and we dont really have the Christmas kind of spirit and atmosphere that we see the western world has....just saying :)

Anyways, it is also time for some Christmas stamps, and today I picked these coming from Anguilla which I  have these from since I was a child...my mum used to buy these for me when she'd be getting stamps for her at the philately, and Im glad she did, coz these are just gorgeous...so lovely and colourful and plus, coming from some rare countries from where I hardly doubt id get any other stamps!
(unfortunately, with all these sets im missing a stamp or two in each of them, and I really dont know how to find just the ones im missing, coz the dealers seem to be selling whole sets only...so if anyone could help, please, let me know :) From this one in particular im missing two and this set was issued in 1983 and on the stamps you have Christmas stories represented by Charles Dickens.




The first three stamps show the "Cricket on the Hearth", which was released 20 December 1845 and it talks about a cricket that constantly chirps on the hearth and acts as a guardian angel to the Peerybingle family.
If you want, you can watch the animated version on YouTube...seems perfect for the Christmas morning :)





these two stamps refer to Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"



It was first published on 19 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The book has never been out of print, and has been adapted to film, stage, opera, and other media multiple times.
For those who want to take a look at an animated version, you can check this one on YouTube



And the last two stamps I have from the set, refer to Dickens' story "The Chimes - A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In". It is a short novel, written and published in 1844, one year after A Christmas Carol and one year before The Cricket on the Hearth.


Unfortunately, there is no animated version of it on YouTube, but if anyone is interested in the Audio book, you can listen to it while doing the chores and errands in the house...it consists of 4 parts (or quarters), so it is rather lengthy, over 4 hours in total, but it may be convenient for the cold dark winter days when you just dont feel like moving out of the house :)



lets see how the pre-Christmas spirit has inspired the others...click on the button below...and have a great  Sunday! :)



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Celebrating 150 years of South African Railways - 1860 to 2010, South Africa

Today is a special day for Viridian's blog, coz we are celebrating the 100th post of the Sunday Stamps! That means, 100 Sundays of sharing stamps, stories, ideas...deserves to be marked somehow!
I actually almost opted out from today's posting, coz as indecisive as I am (and being an open theme), I really had no idea what to post, yet for it to be something special....well, I know that after participating so many times, it would have really been a pity to miss today, so in the end I picked a beautiful set of train stamps issued on June 25, 2010, commemorating the 150 years of South African Railways.
Plus, it's actually been a while since I've posted something related to trains, so, here we are :)



so here we have a longish post, talking about this set of 10 beautiful colourful stamps on which you can see the evolution of the South African Railways, starting from 1860, when the first railway was opened in South Africa, called the Natal Railway Company

1. So on the first stamp you can see the Natal 0-4-0, which was the first locomotive to arrive in 1860 and operate the Point railway.
After the Natal Railway was rebuilt to Cape gauge in 1875, this locomotive was sold to a local farmer for use as a stationary boiler. After subsequently falling out of service, it was buried in a riverbank for more than 70 years. Some research indicated its last locality and it was excavated in 1944, cosmetically restored and is proudly displayed today in the new Durban station forecourt.

2. Next to it is the Class NGG 16 Beyer-Garratt 2-6-2+2-6-2.
As a result of success in using articulated Beyer-Garratt steam locomotives on the SAR’s extensive 600mm narrow gauge lines, an order was placed for an upgraded Garratt design in 1937 with overseas suppliers. In all, 34 of these locomotives were ordered. Many of these engines are now in preservation service and some have been exported to the UK, their country of origin, where the best-known examples now serve on the 2ft (610mm) gauge Welsh Highland Railway. Locally, several are in service with the Sandstone Heritage Trust railway.

3. The third stamp shows the Class 24 2-8-4, which is a medium-duty locomotive designed for use on lightly laid branch-line tracks, as was typically the case in the South West African (Namibian) railway system, prior to dieselisation in 1960. The best known and longest operating locomotives have been a feature of the scenic George to Knysna tourist branch line. This train (known as the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe) continued to operate until the line was closed due to flood damage in August 2006. Several locomotives still remain in local service to Mossel Bay with the Transnet George railway museum and two other preservation groups, but the majority have now been scrapped.

4. On the fourth stamp you have Class 25C 4-8-4.
These were designed to operate through the arid Karoo on the main line between Cape Town and Johannesburg. To conserve scarce water supplies on the Northern Cape routes, they were fitted with special steam condensing equipment. Used steam from the cylinders was collected and fed to the ultra large water tender, which was equipped with five large condensing fans. . Only one locomotive, No. 3511, remains intact for museum purposes and is currently stored out of service at the Kimberley locomotive depot.

5. Class GMA/M Beyer-Garratt 4-8-2+2-8-4 The Class GMA/M may be considered the ultimate of the articulated Beyer-Garratt steam designs to have been placed in service on the SAR. The difference between the GMA and GMAM classification was the coal-carrying capacity of the bunker at the rear. The front water tank served as ballast or for emergency use, hence these engines always operated with an auxiliary water tanker to increase operating range. Most of these locomotives saw final regular SAR duty until 1985, with the majority now scrapped. Several survive as static exhibits or preservation usage.

6. Class 35 Co-Co Diesel-Electric Locomotive
These were introduced in 1972 as replacement for aging steam locomotives on the SAR branch lines. The GE version depicted on the stamp is rated at 1160 KW continuous power output and weighs in at 81 tonnes. The units are powered by a V8 diesel engine driving a dc generator, which in turn supplies power to six axle hung traction motors. The majority of Class 35s are still in service.

7. Class 9E Co-Co 50KV ac Electric Locomotive
In the mid-1970s, 25 kV ac traction was introduced as a more efficient power distribution system, along with more effective air-braking installations, for lengthy freight trains.
In view of increased traffic levels on this export railway (trains now comprise 342 wagon, 35000 ton loads) insufficient 9E availability has necessitated supplementing motive power with additional Class 34 diesels, as depicted on the stamp design.

8. Class 26 4-8-4
This class was classified as non-condensing and was fitted with regular coal/water tenders. In 1980, SAR selected one of these locomotives, No. 3450, for a radical rebuild programme to improve power output and efficiency. By this time, SAR had already decided to phase out steam power completely and No. 3450 subsequently operated regular revenue-earning duties on the De Aar to Kimberley main line until the early 1990s. To identify the locomotive, it was painted red, together with its tender, earning the popular nickname ‘Red Devil’. After being relegated to tour train services during the late 1990s and early 2000s, it operated its last tour trip in 2004. It is now stored out of service at Cape Town’s main station as part of the Transnet museum collection.

9. Class 19E Bo- Bo Dual Voltage Electric Locomotive Placed in service at the end of 2009, the Class 19Es are able to switch voltage supply automatically between the dc and ac transmission network at Ermelo station, hence may operate straight through without stopping and changing locomotives, saving much train marshalling and time.

10. Gautrain Electrostar Bo-Bov
The first provincial railway in Gauteng was due to be partly commissioned by mid-2010. The maximum operating speed of the train sets is 160 km/hr, the fastest regular train service in the country today. Passenger capacity (with standing room) ranges from 77 to 165 persons per car, depending on the specific coach application.


For more special stamps click on the button below



and wishing Viridian many many more occasions like this! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Centenary of the Argentinian Society of Pedeatrics, Argentina

It is a rainy cold Sunday here...so perfect to stay indoors and while taking a break from work, squeeze in some stamps here :)
Today's theme is 'stamps with a message'...the title may be confusing regarding that, but after going through my collections, i somehow thought that this may fit in today's subject, so lets see what the message is all about


For the Centenary of the Argentinian Society of Pediatrics, there was a National drawing competition "the Rights of Children" and on the 4 stamps + envelope you can see drawings done from children aged 6 to 12.
Apart from all this package being so lovely and colourful, the messages they bear are very nice as well, and all talk about the rights of boys and girls like 'no violence to children' 'the right of all children is to have fun' and as well as that children have the right to be loved and to be able to freely play...the envelope says that 'playing equals to being happy'...and i think that this last thing is something that many children do not experience nowadays, being prisoners of the modern technology, spending their time in front of the TV, computers, XBoxes, Nintendos and such...that seems to be their way of having fun and playing together...not going out in the nature, running, playing sports and games....when i was a child, we didnt have computers and our social life was not on Facebook, but it was in the backyards or in the streets in front of our houses, and we always found ways of how to entertain ourselves, with all sorts of games we could invent....esp. during the summer holidays, spending our days outside, and once the sun would set down, all of a sudden you could hear hundreds of mothers', fathers' and grandparents' voices from all around calling their children to come home coz it is dark already...the children enjoying being outside rarely responded to this at first instance, so all this calling out would usually go on and on for quite some time...and when we would come back home, we would be tired of playing, but our hearts and lungs would be full and we would be really happy, going to sleep and thinking what are we going to play the next day...I think that many children nowadays are deprived from these feelings, which is really a pity, coz you are a child only once...well, you know the story of the modern world :)

For some more world messages, click on the button below