Thursday, 7 January 2016

Victor Horta's kitchen

Over the years, I suppose I've spent many hours in the kitchens of wherever we happened to be living at the time. It seems to have resulted in a fascination with kitchens in general but it's not often I'm sent any.

I like the look of this one, even though it's a bit empty.  When I turned the card over it stated that it was from the house of Victor Horta in Brussels (25 rue Americaine à Saint Gilles).  The name sounded familiar but I'm sorry to say, I had to look up who he was.

He was, as I'm sure everyone else knows, a famous architect of Art Nouveau houses in Belgium. Four of these houses, plus his own, are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO as being prime examples of Art Nouveau.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Hwaseong Fortress at Suwon

I've been lucky enough to have received a number of cards from South Korea, and two of them have shown the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Hwaseong Fortress at Suwon.

It was built in the 18th century both for defence and to house the tomb of  King Jeongjo's father. I can probably do no better than to quote the back of the card for details:

A distinctive feature of Hwaseong Fortress is that it combines practical functions and beauty together. The castle is a taste of traditional Korean natural stone-masonry and still maintains its integrity.  The castle wall has 4 main gates, 2 flood gates, 3 gongsimdons (observation towers), 4 jeokdaes (gateguard platforms), and gangnus (an angle tower), 2 jangdaes (command posts), and nodaes (multiple arrow launcher platforms), 10 chis (bastions), 5 porus (sentry towers), and ammuns (a secret gate), and 5 porus (firearms bastion).

It remains remarkably intact in spite of damage during the Korean War.  Restoration and reconstruction work has continued since 1964.

Obviously it's a place I'd love to see but, realistically, I probably never will.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas markets

I am particularly fond of collecting market postcards and this season I have been lucky enough to receive several of German Christmas markets.

The one above is a gorgeous maxi-card showing the Dresden market known as the Striezelmarkt.  The name derives from "Stollen", a traditional German fruit bread, but the Dresden version is richer and contains more fruit than the other recipes.

The Nuremberg market is called Christkindlesmarkt, and is held in front of the Frauenkiche.  Every year, a young girl (strangely) acts as the Christ Child, and makes an opening speech from the church balcony.

Cologne, too has a Christmas market, in fact it has five of them! I think I would suffer from overload with all that going on.

Christmas and the markets are well and truly over, of course, but some postal delay meant that I'm still finding cards arriving.

Saturday, 2 January 2016


Robins are among my favourite birds, the European robin, that is.  I have not met an American robin even though I believe a few have made it to these shores when migrating.

The robins found in Britain are not very afraid of humans and can easily be tamed to take food from your hand.  They are less tame on mainland Europe where they were once hunted, but even there they will turn up to check for unexpected delicacies while you are gardening.

These cards are from France, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands.

Friday, 1 January 2016

A new year, a new start

 The caption in English is "Month kidnaps Dawn" which I thought might be a good start to a new year, especially as I feel the last few of my months were kidnapped by various means.

The illustration, by Svetlana Boyka, is of a Slavic myth, though I'm finding it hard to find out which.  According to one source, Hors, Khors, or Hurs is the god of the winter sun and his spouse is Dawn-Zarenitsy.

It became extremely complicated when I tried to find out more, so I'll leave it at that for now. A Dawn and a new start are all I need, along with a winter sun.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear is second only to Winnie the Pooh when it comes to famous British bears, with Rupert Bear coming third. Let the arguments commence!

I'm sure there are plenty of other Paddington Bear postcards but this is one issued as a PHQ stamp card by the Royal Mail in 2014, part of a classic Children's TV series.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Beth at The Best Hearts are Crunchy. You can visit her by clicking on the button below.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Bridges, old and new

These first two bridges, the Pontcysyllte aqueduct (opened 1805) in north Wales and the iron bridge (opened 1781) at Ironbridge, were part of an industrial archaeology series of stamps published in 1989.  At the time, the bridge was already a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then, in 2009, the aqueduct was added to the list.

I don't know if this third bridge, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge will ever join them on the list.  Only time will tell. The stamp was part of the huge series issued to mark the Millennium, this one in June 2000.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps, hosted by Violet Sky at "See it on a Postcard!"  As usual, click on the button to see some bridges on stamps.

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