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 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 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 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 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 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 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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

100th Anniversary of the Birth of Jacques Cousteau, Macedonia

Good Sunday to you all! Nope, you are not at the wrong is just me, trying to figure out my blog's issues and its refusal to let people comment sometimes...i dont know if it had to do anything with the template or something, but for now, ill stick to this until i have more time to explore the problem in more detail....coz what I also can't manage is how to get the 'reply' button below each comment...I actually think that ever since Ive started experimenting with that, is when the posting-comments problems arose....if anyone can help me out, please let me know, coz the problem is really driving me crazy and im so envious when i see the option on other people's blogs :)

ok, enough rent...lets see what today's Sunday Stamps has to offer....something related to commemorations...hmm, well. i decided to go with something Macedonian this time, since for sure we issue a lot of commemorative stamps...and when trying to pick which one id post for was the blue colour which was a decider in the end :))

So here we see a nice blue  FDC issued in 2010, commemorating the centennial of Jean Jacque Costeau's birth.

im pretty sure most of you had heard about him, but for those who havent and as a small reminder for those who have....Born in 1910, Jean Jaques Costeau was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung and pioneered marine conservation.
His legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.
His work also created a new kind of scientific communication, criticised at the time by some academics. The so-called "divulgationism", a simple way of sharing scientific concepts, was soon employed in other disciplines and became one of the most important characteristics of modern television broadcasting.
He died in 1997, at the age of 87.

btw, i just wish those fish and whales and dolphins on the FDC were actually real pictures, not drawings...

lets see what others have chosen to commemorate below :)  And enjoy your coffee/tea while reading having a nice green smoothie...always a great way to start the day :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Earthscapes, USA

well, after a month, here I am again in the Sunday stamps...i really dont want to take any responsibility of converting coffee-addicts into tea-drinkers so it was about time to choose something nice for Viridian's theme today.....I wonder if someone else will pick this US "Earthscapes" issue as well...but well to me, this was like the most suitable thing for today, and these are really a number of lovely stamps in one place (yeah, this is actually the whole set of the issue :)) Lovely, no?

The U.S. Postal Service decided to celebrate the beauty and diversity of America's landscapes as seen from above thus issued these 15 stamps in 3 rows of 5, showing 3 categories of earthscapes: natural, agricultural, and urban. The photographs were all created high above the planet's surface, either snapped by satellites orbiting the earth or by photographers in aircraft. The beautiful “earth art” images were chosen to showcase designs or patterns and geographic diversity so viewers can see the world in a new way and contemplate a much bigger picture.

the first row is the so-called 'natural' row, where we can see America's stunning wilderness.
-the first stamp shows the Bear glacier in Alaska where ice breaks from its foot and becomes icebergs in a lake.
-Next is the volcanic eruption on Mount St. Helens and the scars it left on the Washington State more than 30 years ago.
-Next to it is the stamp featuring the Grand Prismatic spring in Yellowstone National Park,where water temperatures reach near 190 degrees F-too hot to support most life-but along the edges of the pool, bacteria and algae can thrive (which accounts for the vibrant color!)
- on the fourth stamp we can see fog drifting over the timeless sandstone towers of Utah's Monument Valley
- the last stamp in this row shows the rich tidal marsh forming a haven for fox squirrels and bald eagles and a stopping-off point for ducks and geese migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. If im not mistaken, this should be in the state of Maryland, where more than 250,000 acres of marshland be found.

the second row is the 'agricultural' row - these stamps may look like abstract art, but they show 5 products being gathered, grown, or harvested.
- On the first stamp we can see a salt evaporation pond where salt is evaporated from sea water. As natural evaporation occurs, salinity levels increase and the concentrations of algae and other microorganisms in the water change, causing the ponds to take on vivid colors. This pond is supposed to be near San Francisco.
- the second stamp shows the log islands in Idaho, where we can see an older method of transporting timber. These "islands" of wood are traveling by water toward a mill.
- the third stamp shows a center-pivot sprinkler systems at work. Red circles indicate healthy, irrigated crops; lighter circles represent harvested crops. You can find this irrigation in the state of Kansas.
- next we have a cherry orchard in the Door County in Kansas, where cherries are known to be red and tart.
- and the last stamp in this row shows a vibrant red image of a cranberry bog during the fall harvest in the state of Massachusetts.

and we come to the last row, dedicated to urban images.
- the first stamp shows a residential neighborhood in Clark County, Nevada.
- next to it we have two towboats "wrangle" barges in the Old River barge fleeting area near the Houston Ship Channel in Texas.
- the third stamp shows the railroad roundhouse at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA.
- on the fourth stamp you can see a close-up shot of a high-rise apartment complex (a common site in many densely populated areas) which offers a view of vertical living. This should be located in Manhattan, NYC.
- and the last stamp of this issue shows a highway interchange where Interstate Highways 95 and 395 converge.

well, sorry for the exhaustive longish post but i thought it would be nice to give attention to each stamp in particular since they all show something specific and interesting :)

for more Earth images, click on the button below...and have a great day!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Centenary of the Rosselare/Fishguard Ferry Service, Ireland

So hello Sunday Stampers! Beautiful sunny day over here..chilly, but the sunshine just feels so nice! So before i head to catch some fresh air, here is my entry for today's theme, which is ships.
Well, the first thing that crossed my mind was of course Titanic...or some of those great US Forever (and not Forever) stamps depicting ships...but then I wondered...what are the odds of actually those being a more frequent 'see' today...hmm..Macedonia has also issued two ships stamps, but somehow i didnt get very thrilled at the thought of posting those...and then it dawned on me that recently i have received something that would fit in the theme perfectly...and is just extra beautiful! (well, to me at least :))
A fantastic cover from Ireland, where the entire mini sheet has been attached!

these stamps were issued on 20 June 2006, to celebrate the centenary of the Rosslare/Fishguard Ferry Service.
the story goes that towards the end of the 19th Century a ferry service linked New Milford, in the Milford Haven estuary, and Waterford.
The engineer, Marc Brunel, envisaged a port on the west coast of Wales which could handle the transatlantic liners trade and which by definition would require a rail connection to serve London. The Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company, which was taken over jointly by the Great Western Railway and their Irish partners, the Great Southern and Western Railway of Ireland, undertook to build a railway from Waterford to Rosslare. Linking New Milford to the rail network presented major engineering difficulties so the alternative port of Fishguard was chosen. It was sheltered, had deep water and most importantly offered a shorter crossing to Ireland.
During the next few years no expense was spared in making Fishguard a major port for Irish traffic. Work began on the development of Fishguard in 1899 and was completed in 1906. The service to Ireland was launched in 1906, and the first westbound sailing of the Saint David carried 231 passengers. The service has operated since then without interruption, even during the First and Second World Wars, carrying both passengers and mail between Ireland and Britain.

Among the liners that called to Fishguard were the Mauritania and Lusitania. The ferry service established a very strong connection between the communities in Fishguard and Rosslare which is maintained today. It continues to serve as a key element of the infrastructure linking Ireland and Britain for the purposes of trade and tourism. Both ports are legally owned by Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company in which Stena Line and Irish Rail are shareholders.

ehhhh....I wish i could sail away somewhere right now....

see where others have sailed to today :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Macedonia in EU, Macedonia

Hello my dear readers and, ok, maybe not the right use of the word, but to me it seemed as a nice sort of neologism...

the theme for this Sunday is public architecture, esp. i stuck to that, instead actually interpreting the theme broadly...and i was about to go with those Russian bridges' stamps...but then i thought I could actually contribute with something different with which i have much less of a chance to overlap and have a double post with someone else, since I dont think that many today would go with something Macedonian...and Ill leave the Russian ones for some other time :)

well, I have two FDCs for today which I think fit in well into the theme, even though their initial subject is something totally different.
Each year, the Macedonian postal service issues stamps dedicated to the European Union...I dont know why it is called Macedonian in EU, when we still arent an EU member state (frankly I dont even want to be part of EU, but it is not like anyone is asking me or the public, those things are already settled behind the scenes about when and how are they going to happen).
Anyways, as I said, these stamps are issued each year, when some capital of the EU is presented on those stamps. In 2009, as you can see above, it was Prague (Czech Republic) that was chosen, and here you can see among else the very famous Charles' bridge in Prague, over the Vltava river.
Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas (you can also see those on the FDC).

Unfortunately I havent yet been to Prague, though Id really love to...and feel the bustling atmosphere of this place.

this second FDC was issued in 2011 and here you can see Budapest...well Budapest is famous for its numerous bridges over the Danube river but the Chain bridge is probably the most famous and widely known among the bridges of Budapest (and I must say that Ive actually been here and crossed this bridge! And Budapest is a beautiful place....though Id need to go there again coz that was like 10 years ago, so Im sure Id see Budapest with different eyes nowadays than back then).
The Chain bridge was the first permanent stone-bridge connecting Pest and Buda, and only the second permanent crossing on the whole length of the river Danube, opened in 1849. The portals are decorated with lionhead-shaped capstones and the coat of arms of Hungary with the crown and a wreath of leaves.
The bridge has the name of István Széchenyi attached to it actually, a major supporter of its construction, but is most commonly known as the Chain Bridge.
And on the stamp, you can also see the famous Hungarian Parliament building.

so, I hope you liked my pick for the see what others have chosen, click on the button below...and have a great day :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bicentennial of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), Macedonia

Since today's theme at Viridan's is free to choose, I knew what mine would revolve around to...however, it was not that easy to decide what would be most suitable, since I have no actual stamps related to the event (I dont even know if any such stamps have been issued), so this in a way was closest to what I think would be appropriate...

and the actual event is that September 30 is the International Translation Day...and being a translator by vocation, I did want to commemorate it somehow today. So this FDC issued by the Macedonian postal service seemed to fit into the subject, since translations and books go together...and even though children's literature is really specific and does require loads of skills and knowledge to be conveyed the right way, Id really love to actually have the chance one day and work on the translation of Andersen's works. I enjoyed reading some of his stories when I was little (the Little Mermaid is actually by Andersen, and that Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is actually there since Andersen was Danish).
Some other famous stories by him are for example The Princess and the Pea (boy, I LOVED reading this one over and over again when i was little...i was amused by her sensitivity to something as small as a pea grain), then the Ugly Duckling (yup, another one of my childhood's favourites, which taught me a lot I think)....or The Little Match-girl...probably one of the saddest of his stories...I am the kind of person who so much gets involved into the books she reads, I found this one really traumatic...I mean, a child is reading about another child dying on New Year's you know how shocking it feels to kids? Still, due to the fact Andersen's stories can really touch the reader's heart, is why i love and appreciate his work, and it would be a real challenge to be able to convey that effect into Macedonian. If someone thinks that translator's work is me, it is EVERYTHING but easy...but it is very creative and you get to learn so many new things all the time, and that's why I love, as for the pressure and the insane deadlines and low pays...well, thats a whole different story :)
And while we are already on the subject...for those who may not know...translation and interpreting are two different things...translation is the written production of text, while interpretation is the one which totally fries your brain out, whether it be consecutive or simultaneous (and esp if you need to interpret Italians, that's when you feel like killing someone..). I have nothing against Italians or anything...but boy, they talk sooo fast, that it is just so difficult to follow and keep the train of thought, catch notes and interpret it all afterwards without forgetting what you actually wanted to say...but well, I love that part of my job as well....just yesterday I had to do this pres-conference..with all the media...I was terrified to death (as I always am)...but the moment I put the headphones on and start talking, the fear disappears and I get totally absorbed by the thrill and beauty of interpreting and nothing else seems to matter just gives an enormous satisfaction when done right :)

ok, I blabbered more than usual about myself...but this is like, my day..and I just couldnt help it :)

btw, this FDC was issued to commemorate 200 years since Andersen's birth.

btw2...if anyone has any stamps/cards/anything related to translation/interpreting...PLEASE contact me! Thanks!!

For more versatile stuff, click on the button below

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oh and the golden snuff-box, Belarus

A beautiful Sunday day over here...rather busy though, but I could steal a few minutes and pop-in at Viridian's for her Sunday theme of music, books and literature.
Well, fairy tales are a literature genre, so hence my choice today fell on this beautiful Belrrussian FDC issued on August 24, 2001.

This FDC refers to the fairy tale of "Oh and the golden snuff-box"...if you get confused like me regarding "Oh", that is the name of the wizard (if i can call him so) who gave the snuff-box to this boy and told him that whenever he needed something, he should just open it, and its magical powers will do the job. It all started with the boy asking for food coz he was poor and starved....eventually marrying a princess..well, you know how fairy tales are :)

In case you want to read the whole story (in Belarussian), here is the link
Ox and the Golden Snuff-box

thanks a lot to dear Ana for helping me out on this one :)

and for more books and music, visit Viridian's blog

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hawaiian Missionary Stamps, USA

When last week this Sunday's theme was announced, i didnt plan to participate since I didnt really have something to show..and then last night I was browsing to some of my folders with stamps, and I was thrilled to bits when I came across this one coz I thought, 'hey, this can actually fit this Sunday's theme!!'.

So, here we go, this is my contribution to the subject of "he Post, post boxes, postal vans, stamps on stamps, or similar images"

this awesome mini sheet was issued in 2002, commemorating the Hawaiian Missionary stamps. The first Hawaiian Post Office was established in December 1850. Postmaster Henry M. Whitney had stamps printed locally in three denominations. These were the first postage stamps of the Kingdom of Hawaii, issued in 1851, where four stamps of three values - 2¢, 5¢ and 13¢ - comprise the issue, all printed locally by letterpress at the Government Printing Office They came to be known as the "Missionaries" because they were primarily found on the correspondence of missionaries working in the Hawaiian Islands. Only a handful of these stamps have survived to the present day, and so they are amongst the great rarities of philately. It is said that only 28 covers with these stamps are known to exist.

the 2¢ Missionary, first issued October 1, 1851, was intended for payment of the 2¢ foreign mail rate on newspapers but also was used to pay the 2¢ ship fee on letters.

the 5¢ Missionary was first issued October 1, 1851 to pay the Hawaiian postage on foreign mail.

the 13¢ Missionary with "Hawaiian Postage" first issued October 1, 1851 was used to pay the 13¢ combined United States and Hawaiian postage for a single letter bound to an Eastern United States destination.

The other 13¢ Missionary with the "H. I. & U.S. Postage", was first issued by early April, 1852, to eliminate confusion over whether Hawaii's stamp included the United States postage of 8¢.

The most valuable of all Missionary items is a cover sent to New York City bearing the only known use of the 2-cent value on cover, as well as a 5-cent value and two 3-cent US stamps. This is known as the Dawson Cover. It was in a bundle of correspondence shoved into a factory furnace around 1870, but packed so tightly that the fire went out (though one side of the cover bears a scorch mark). The factory was abandoned; 35 years later, a workman cleaning the factory for reuse discovered the stuffed furnace, and knew enough about stamps to save the unusual covers. This cover was acquired by George H. Worthington in 1905, then bought by Alfred H. Caspary around 1917. It has changed hands several more times: in the 1995 Siegel auction it realized a price of US$1.9 million, and was last sold publicly for $2.09 million,making it one of the highest-priced of all philatelic items. The Dawson cover, shown on this Sheet  may be evidence of the validity of the 1850 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation between the United States and Hawaii as a sovereign nation. Under Article XV.

Thanks a billion to my fairy for this awesome cover which came in sooo handy today :)

For more postal items, visit Viridian's blog...and have a great Sunday! Finally some rain here!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Adopt a Shelter Pet, USA

the moment I read Viridian's theme for this Sunday, I knew what I was going to post! And here it is! Or better say, here they are :)
the theme this week is related to cats, dogs and other pets....and for that, i have this amazing set of 10 FDCs issued by the USPS on April 30 2010, hoping to raise awareness of the need to adopt shelter pets. And I absolutely support that! You dont need to pay money to get a cat or a doesnt have to be some pure-bred puppy or a Siamese cat...a shelter animal is capable to love you just equally, or even more coz you;ve rescued them from the miserable conditions they live in or even death...I dont know how it is in other places, but here, the cats and dogs' shelter is one of the most notorious places where they treat animals far from nice, and most often they euthanize them eventually if no one picks them up...or they dont even wait for someone to pick them is really really sad, so if anyone wants a pet to keep him/her company, please check for a shelter pet will really find yourself a great buddy..
Both my cats are stray cats and I wouldnt for the world change them for some other 'famous' breed with a pedigree

The pets depicted on the stamps were photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce near her home in New Milford, Connecticut. All had been homeless at one time; all but one had been adopted when they were photographed.

the set consists of 5 cat and 5 dog stamps...for some i have info, for some I dont...this one here shows a cute yellow/orange cat, or also known as a Classic red tabby cat...this one is just like my younger cat Foxy...I wonder if it is a mischevious as him :)

look at its is just telling you 'im so lonely, please take me home with you!'

the cat on this tamp is called Willow. It is a gray Maltese cat who was left in a box at the door of a shelter. That's how often stray cats are left...

this one would entertain you all day just has this 'throw me the ball, throw me the ball' look in the eyes :)

a pretty sad face...yet hopeful you're gonna pick it..the kind of cats that wouldnt do acrobatics to catch your attention, but just longs for a home with you...

this is Buddy, a golden retriever who was purchased from a pet shop, then given up due to health problems. Well, if they had given him up coz they simply couldnt afford to pay for the medical expenses, i guess it is ok, coz that way someone who could actually take care of him would take him. But if they gave him up just coz he wasnt perfect, now that;s gonna make me mad. Just some days ago, believe it or not, there was this story here how these parents had given up their child and placed it for adoption, just coz it had some health problems (related to the heart if I recall correctly). I just dont know what to say...

   dont you think this is the type of cat who'd curl around your feet in winter and will keep you warm?

this adorable fellow is Trevor, a yellow Labrador retriever found abandoned at a new home construction site

Peaches, a gray, white and tan shorthaired cat who was born under a porch and had to be trapped to be rescued.

and this happy adorable face is Teddy, a wire haired Jack Russell Terrier who was given up when she had puppies.

so if one day you feel like adding an extra furry member to your family...dont buy, adopt one!

and thanks a million to the good fairy for sending me this ;-))))

nowadays, many animals can be seen as I wonder what the others have come up with :)


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rock in Portugal, Portugal

It was not easy to choose today what to post for Viridian's theme of 'art, music, dance'...I mean, it offers you really endless opportunities, and you just dont know what to pick among all those great stamps (esp. the ones I have related to art...but I decided to leave art for some other more-in-the-artistic-mood time). My choice today fell on this Portuguese cover, with a set of 6 stamps dedicated to Portuguese rock...come on, how many of you are actually familiar with the Portuguese music and the Portuguese rock artists? :) (the question does not refer to Portuguese readers...that wont be a fair competition :)))

Anyways, this is a good way for a foreigner to google a bit about the Portuguese artists depicted on these stamps and give a try to some of their music .
The first stamp (top left) shows the cover of the "Ar de Rock",  released in 1980. It is the debut album of Rui Veloso, a Portuguese rock and blues singer and musician, born in 1957. Ok, i dont know what's the definition of rock to Portuguese, but on the overall, this album seems to be too mellow and more like blues/swing/samba/rumba, than rock :) Maybe the "Donzela Diesel" song feels more rocky...funny, the songs in general sound like the Eurovision type of music.
The next stamp shows the cover of the "Herois do Mar" album, released by Herois do Mar, a former Portuguese band formed in 1981 and disbanded in 1990. Cool synth-pop kind of album. Reminds me of the early DM days :)
The third stamp shows the "Psicopatria" cover by the band GNR. Boy, this one gave me trouble in figuring it out. It is a Portuguese band founded in 1981. Liked the album! Might be my favourite among all these :). The sound is just the kind of rock my ears love listening to!

At the bottom, we start with the cover of the "À Flor da Pele" album, released in 1981 by the band UHF, formed in 1978. Sounds rockish...Geraldine is a cool song! There is one called "Modelo Fotográfico", and for some reason at first i thought it may have some resemblance to the Kraftwerk's "Das Model"...dont know why..but anyways, they are absolutely different.
In the middle is the cover of the album called "88". released, of course in 1988, by the Portuguese band Xutos e Pontapés, formed in 1978 and in 2004 the band was awarded a state decoration by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, for 25 years of career achievements in the music industry. It is not a bad album actually. The Doçuras song is very nice, calm and relaxing. "Prisao em Si" is very nice too.
On the last stamp you can see the cover of the "Woflheart", which is the first full-length album by the band Moonspell, where most of the tracks are actually in English. And there is a drastic difference btw this one and the very first album...this one reminds me of the first Anathema albums when they were into the death/doom metal....though I prefer their latter, ambient/art rock albums.
Out of this, Lua d'Inverno is a beautiful instrumental! Trebaruna is good too. But the others...well, just too harsh for my taste :)
And maybe these stamps should be called "Music in Portugal" instead of  'rock' coz maybe just half of this sounds like real kind of rock music :)

It was nice to have something totally different on my playlist...too bad I dont understand Portuguese though :)

For some more cultural stuff, visit Viridian's blog...and of course, have a lovely Sunday :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hong Kong Museums Collection, Hong Kong

useful or practical items...thats what this Sunday theme is over at Viridian's...with the possibility to of course interpret it widely...and with me that is rather complicated since the more choice you give me, the harder for me it is to decide...if you narrow me to something particular, it goes more this was no exception...i mean, i could have picked something related to trains since trains are a useful thing (though that depends where you live, cant really say that about ours here :))..anywyas, after browsing through my collections, my choice fell on this Hong Kong cover with a set of six stamps showcasing some of the finest collections in local museums that epitomise Hong Kong's historical and cultural lineage....and if you take a better look all these are useful and practical items, despite being from BC times maybe :)

At the top row, the first $1.40 stamp shows a forehead headdress...looks really nice though im not sure how heavy this actually is with the 'pendants' at the sides. This item can be found at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.
The $2.40 stamp next to it shows a Silver footed bowl decorated in can be found at the HK Museum of Art. 
At the very right is the $2.50 stamp showing a sequined reversible palace costume, which can be found at the HK Heritage Museum.
At the bottom row, first is the $3 stamp showing a green glazed barrel for herbal tea. I like this idea that it is green and intended for herbal tea...i like the connection :) This item can be found at the Dr. &Mrs. Hung Hin Shiu Museum of Chinese Medicine, HKBU. It is the first time I hear such a museum exists. It is situated at the Hong Kong Baptist University. For those who would like to read more about it, just click on the link provided above. You can also do it for the other museums, the links are provided with the Museum name.
Next to it is a $5 stamp showing a baby carrier with head support and can be found at the HK Museum of History.
The last, $1.80 stamp also shows an item that can be found at the HK Museum of History. It is a qipao, which is a one-piece Chinese dress that has been worn since the Manchu ruled China in the 17th century. It is also known under the name of Chenogsam. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao that is most often associated with today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and was made fashionable by socialites and upperclass women.

For more useful and practical items, click on the big button below :) And of course, enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Greetings from America, USA

well, today's theme at Viridian's is anything you wish, so I just had to show(read: brag!) this amazing birthday cover that arrived in my mailbox some days actually didnt arrive in my mailbox since it was too big to fit in, so my dear postman had to hand it in to me :)
This must be one of the most amazing covers I have ever received...all covered with ONE set of stamps! And yeah, it definitely wins the cover with most stamps received contest :)

this set of 50 stamps was issued on April 4 2002 (reissued October 25, 2002), and was the first time a U.S. postage stamp was issued on the same day in every state.
The Greetings from America stamps are reminiscent of the large-letter greetings postcards that vacationing tourists of the 1930s and 1940s sent back home. In addition to the state name, each stamp contains images identified with that state.

Text on the back of each stamp lists the state's bird, flower, tree, and capital, as well as the date the state entered the Union.

It is gonna be way too much to go into details about each and every stamp, so I'll just let you enjoy it visually :)

Thanks a million to dear Bryon for such a thrill! and for actually putting down the effort to stick and line each of these 50 stamps in an alphabetical order!

for some more interesting themes, see what others have picked for today by clicking on this big button below

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Flags of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia

Hello my fellow readers!
I was wondering if I'd ever get the chance to find an occasion to share these stamps with you and then dear host of Viridian's blog jumps in choosing that perfect topic!
So here we are, with the flags of my dear former Yugoslavia...the amazing country that had to crumble to pieces..and the country that many people feel nostalgic for, including me.
I won't deal with politics here, even though that's the main reason why everything went to hell...I just want to share with you these stamps and a small piece of where i used to live for the first 10/11 years of my life...yeah, im old actually :P

I have these awesome stamps thanks to Goran, who was so kind to send them to me....I absolutely love love love them! I know that there is nothing particular about their design maybe since they just portray flags, but to me they are special coz of the emotional bond we have.

the stamps depict the flags of all the 6 former Yugoslav republics, as well as the stamp of SFRJ (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), the country which existed from the end of WW2 until the beginning of the 1990's, when there was an outbreak of civil wars.

As you can notice, most of the flags are based on the three stripes principle, except for the Macedonian one, but they certainly include the five-pointed star fringed with a golden line, which represents the symbol of the state-economic system of the Federation - the socialism as well as the aspiration to achieve its highest level, the communism.
You can see the Yugoslav flag at the bottom line, shown on both the left and the middle stamp, where on the first one the name of the country is depicted in Latin while on the middle one, in Cyrillic letters, since both of the alphabets were used in the country. The flag of Yugoslavia was adopted on 31 January 1946, and it consists of three parallel lines, where the order is blue, white, red. It is based on the previous Pan-Slavic one, whose basis is identical. The three lines represent the nature of Yugoslavia as a Community or according to the version i like more, the blue colour represents the Adriatic sea, the white one - the freedom and the sky and the red one represents the blood shed during the wars.

Then, starting from the top, first you have the flag of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, while next to it is the one of Socialist Republic of Macedonia, the only one not following the 3 stripes principle. Macedonia got its independence on September 8 1991
In the middle you have the flags of SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Slovenia, while at the bottom, apart from the SFRJ flags I had already mentioned, you also have the flag of SR Croatia.

All stamps have face value of 2,50 dinars (the currency of SFRJ), and were issued in 1980. The year when Josip Broz Tito died and which was the starting point for the breaking up of the country.

For more flags and patriotic stamps from around the world, click on the image below...and have a great Sunday :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Portuguese Cheese, Portugal

Been a long while since Ive participated in Viridian's Sunday stamps, but here I am back again...with something least for me :)
I totally love cheese, both white and yellow ones. It is not like the healthiest food on Earth but it can be very delicious! Too bad there are not really Macedonian cheese stamps, coz the Macedonian cheese is just luscious! Yum yum yumm!

I received this AWESOME from Sam, who unfortunately has disappeared. I hope he is ok, and if anyone has any news, please share.
The cover contains all the 5 stamps issues in this set, as well as the souvenir sheet.

Both the s/s and the €0,32 stamp on the top left depict cheese produced in the Serra de Estrela mountain range in Portugal.
It is made of pure, raw sheep’s milk, of the Bordaleira race, Serra da Estrela variety, curdled with cardoon, aged between 30 to 45 days (for the soft cheese).
Cylindrical shape, about 6 cm high and 15 in diameter and weighing between 300 and 1 500 g.
Ivory coloured paste, soft, creamy, “blind” or with a few small holes, exquisite flavour, slightly acidulated. The legally defined area of production, which better opinions considered to be excessive, covers the municipalities of Carregal do Sal, Celorico da Beira, Fornos de Algodres, Gouveia, Mangualde, Manteigas, Nelas, Oliveira do Hospital, Penalva do Castelo and Seia, and a few administrative parishes in the municipalities of Aguiar da Beira, Arganil, Covilhã, Guarda, Tábua, Tondela, Trancoso and Viseu, in the centre-north of Portugal.
This one seems sooo creamy, it is driving me insane!

The €0,32 stamp at the right bottom part depicts the Rabaçal Cheese.
This one is made from sheep’s and goat’s milk, in the ideal proportion of 75% of the first to 25% of the second, raw, curdled with animal rennet, it is aged for at least three weeks. Cylindrical shape, about 5 cm high and 12 cm in diameter, it weighs between 300 and 500 g. Whitish-unpolished paste, semi-hard, with little or no holes, it has a particular flavour. The production area is mostly concentrated in the old village of Rabaçal (Penela municipality, Coimbra district) and a few neighbouring villages. The certificate that instituted the POD includes the municipalities of Alvaiázere, Ansião, Condeixa-a-Nova, Penela, Pombal and Soure, in the centre of Portugal.

The €0,47 stamp depicts the Azeitão cheese.
It is made from the milk of the Bordaleira sheep race, sub-race Saloia (in present times from other imported races as well), raw, curdled with cardoon, three weeks normal aging time. Shaped as small cylinders – 5 cm high, 8 cm in diameter –, weighing in average between 250 to 300 g (smaller ones are now appearing on the market). Pale-yellow or whitish paste, soft, creamy, with a stronger milky taste than the Serra da Estrela cheese (from which it descends). The production area established by law stretches to the municipalities of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setúbal, in the Lisbon region.

The €0,68 stamp depicts the Cabra Transmontano cheese.
It is made from raw goat’s milk of the Serrana race, curdled with animal rennet, aged during two months at least. Cylindrical shape, 4 to 6 cm high and 12 to 15 cm in diameter, weighing between 600 and 900 g. Hard whitish “blind” paste that has the characteristic flavour of goat’s cheese and a light peppery touch. Produced in the municipalities of Âlfandega da Fé, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Mirandela, Mogadouro, Torre de Moncorvo and Vila Flor (Bragança district), as well as Murça and Valpaços (Vila Real district), located in the north-east of Portugal.

And the last, €0,80 stamp, depicts the São Jorge Cheese.
It is made of raw cow’s milk curdled with animal rennet. Shaped as a sort of wheel-type big cylinder between 10 to 15 cm high, its diameter varies between 25 and 35 cm and its weight between 8 to 12 kg. Hard, straw-yellow paste with many tiny irregular holes, brittle, with an individual flavour and slightly spicy touch. Minimum aging three month. The production area is that of the whole Island of São Jorge, Azores

technical details regarding the stamps:
- Date of Issue: 21 June 2010
- Width:            40.0 mm
   Height:           30.6 mm
  Size of the s/s: 13cm x 10cm
- Perforations:   13 by 13
- Process:         Llithography

My favourite for now would definitely be the Serra de Estrela one. Whats yours?

hope you have a yummie Sunday! for more delicacies, take a peek at Viridian;s kitchen :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Purebred dogs, France

Just yesterday I realized that I have not yet posted something French here, despite having a number of stamps and covers from there....i should really reconsider the whole concept and how come i so much put forward some countries and sequentially totally neglect to start repairing that, here comes something extra beautiful coming from France! Im just in love with this sheet! (btw, yesterday the discussion has opened up again...what's the difference btw a mini and a souvenir sheet...and in which category this one belongs to....I would put it in the mini-sheet, but then again, it may be a souvenir sheet too...arghhhh...HELP!)

this beauty was sent by Eric, from whom I also stole some of the info regarding it.
He says that these stamps were probably issued to remember that French households have nearly 10 million pet dogs. 1,650,000 souvenir sheets (composed of 4 stamps) and 4.7 million of the "Labrador" stamps were for this occasion.
The four stamps on this sheet are depicting some breeds of dogs belonging to 4 of the 10 distinct groups, identified in the LOF and defined by the World Canine Organisation ("Fédération Cynologique Internationale" or FCI in French) : the Yorkshire (€ 0.95) for the group of Terriers, the Labrador Retriever (€ 0.58) for the group of retrievers, flushing and water dogs, the German Shepherd (€ 0.58) for the group of sheep dogs and the Poodle (€ 0.75) for the group of companion and toy dogs. The other breeds appearing in the margins of this sheet : Dalmatian, Golden retriever, Jack Russell and Bull Terrier.

the size of the Yorkshire and the German Shepherd is 30mm x 40mm, while of the Labrador and the Poodle, 40mm x 30mm, The perforation of all is 13x13.

Merci Beaucoup Eric!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Local Fruits, Barbados's been so long since I've uttered something here...I mean, I know I have neglected this blog much more than my postcards' one, but i didnt even grasp it's been more than 3 months....ouch ouch ouch =/

You know, when you get off-track with something, it feels a bit more difficult to get back ON track...and the more time goes by, the worse it gets instead being vice-versa...I really can't explain this phenomenon, but it seems to be applicable to other issues in life as well.
The other day I got down to scanning the bunch of stamps/covers I have received in the past months since all I've been doing was piling them up all over my desk and shelves, and one day I realized that I had no idea what I already have and what I don; as you all know it very well, procrastination will make your life just complicated :)

Anyways, let's see what I chose for today as a kick-off for the new beginning (posting for the first time after 3 months, does feel like a new beginning).

I got this beautiful cover as a surprise from Holger and his Barbados trip. It was a really nice and pleasant surprise for my mailbox since this is my first cover ever from Barbados.
Holger used 3 stamps which were issued on February 7th, 2011 in a set of  16...pretty lovely stamps, but I don't think these would ever manage to be contained as a whole set on one cover...even if it is an A4 envelope....
The stamps represent local fruits from Barbados and on this cover you have:

- at the left, the $1 stamp represents the Tamarind (Tamarindus indica))- this plant is indigenous to tropical Africa, where in the 16th century it was introduced to Mexico and South America (I guess that's how it reached Barbados). It reminds me of groundnuts a lot, though I can't tell if they taste the same, never ever tried Tamarind, though its use seems to be really wide.
This tree produces edible, pod-like fruit which are used extensively in cuisines around the world. It is a long-lived, medium-growth, bushy tree, which attains a maximum crown height of 12.1 to 18.3 metres.
The tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste, and is high in acid, sugar, B vitamins and, oddly for a fruit, calcium

- the 80c stamp shows Sea Grapes (Coccoloba uvifera)- this plant is native to coastal beaches throughout tropical America and the Caribbean, including southern Florida, the Bahamas, Barbados and Bermuda.
This plant is a sprawling evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches a maximum height of 8 m, but most specimens are little more than 2 m  tall. It has large, round, leathery leaves (up to 25 cm in diameter) with a primary vein that has a red color extending from the base, and the entire leaf turns red as it ages. The bark is smooth and yellowish. In late summer it bears green fruit, about 2 cm  diameter, in large grape-like clusters. The fruit gradually ripen to a purplish color. Each contains a large pit that constitutes most of the volume of the fruit

- the 40c stamp shows a Mammy Apple - this fruit is large and round weighing up to 7lbs. It has a thick light brown skin and its taste can be compared to that of a mango. Each tree can grow up to 75 feet and can yield 300 to 400 fruits. Powder made from mammey apple seeds can be used either as a dusting agant or in a solution as a spray

the size of stamps is 36x36 mm, while perforations are 13.25 by 13.25.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Trams, Belgium

this week's theme at Viridian's is Streetcars, or any kind of public transport. As someone might guess, i was on the verge of posting something related to trains (again) but i do have these set of 3 tram stamps, so it would be the best occasion to use them now :)

So here we have the tram set from Belgium issued in 2008.

the first one shows De kustttram, or the Belgian coast tram, which is a public transport service connecting the cities and towns along the entire Belgian (West Flanders) coast, between De Panne near the French border and Knokke-Heist near the Dutch border. At 68 km in length, it is the longest tram line in the world, as well as one of the few interurban tramways in the world to remain in operation. The service makes 70 stops with a tram running every ten minutes during the peak summer months, during which it is used by over 3 million passengers.

the second, 0,90 stamp shows a tram operating in Brussels, whose system is one of the ten largest in the world, with 17 routes totalling 133.4 km.

the third, 0,80 stamp portrays the Charleroi Metro, which is a 25 km express tram network in Belgium, consisting of a horseshoe-shaped line around central Charleroi and two branches towards the suburbs of Gilly and Anderlues.

the technical details regarding the stamps:

- Date of Issue: 14 April
- Width:            40.2 mm
- Height:          27.66 mm
- Perforations: 11.5 by 11.5

for more rides around, get off at the Viridian's station, by clicking on the button below:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cats, Poland

I had some hard time in choosing the stamps for today....I have some ADORABLE cats and dogs' stamps, and I didnt know which ones to show...but in the end, the choice fell on these Polish felines..

I am a huge cats and dogs' lover...I have been one since I was the majority of pictures I have from when I was little, a dog or a cat is present too...i used to have a dog too, but someone had stolen him and unfortunately we never managed to find was an adorable Collie, or more popularly known as I have two cats which I absolutely adore, but still, i long for a dog least dogs are genuinely happy when they see you :)

as for today's stamps, this is a set of 10 Polish stamps issued in 1964. I dont have many details regarding them, but I can tell you that they are big-sized stamps (over 4cm x 5cm), that is, bigger than the usual, standard sized stamps...and from top to bottom, from left to right, this is what they represent (sorry for the disorder, but this was somewhat most convenient for the scan...)

50gr stamp - Siamese cat
1.55 zl  - European cat
2.50 zl  - European cat
6.50 zl - European cat
3.40 zl - Persian cat
40 gr - European cat
30 gr - European cat
90 gr - Persian cat
60 gr - European cat
1.35 zl - Persian cat

 Some additional info...the European cat is also known as the European short-hair and is said to have its origins in Sweden.
Persian catsis are a long-haired breed of cat characterized by its round face and shortened muzzle. Its name refers to Persia, the former name of Iran, where similar cats are found. I love these coz they are so fluffy and chubby! Adorable!!
Unlike Persian, Siamese cats are not so attractive to least not all of them..probably coz of their face-shape and the big pointed-out ears. Makes them cold....The origins of the breed are unknown, but it is believed to be from Thailand, where they are referred to as 'moon diamonds'...

Hope you have a nice Sunday folks! Here we finally have some sun and some warm weather! (by warm I mean, 6 degrees...but it is lovely compared to all that snow and ice and freezing cold temperatures!)

for some more adorable companions, click on the button below...and if you dont have a pet, you can always adopt one and give them a chance for a new home and lots of mutual'd be surprised how much pets can change your life..