16 June 2019

Sunday Stamps - Q

1967 Rwanda, Quelea quelea
designer: J Van Noten

Although it's French name is travailleur a bec rouge, the Latin name is Quelea quelea, given by Linnaeus and no-one quite knows why. They can be found in most sub Saharan countries and is apparently the world's most common non-domesticate bird species with a population of 1.5 billion. Probably why they have a conservation status of 'least concern'.  This is another beautiful illustration by the great Belgian illustrator Jean Van Noten.

for the letter Q - quelea

15 June 2019

ruby star

One of the five luminescent Kremlin stars seen in the daytime.

14 June 2019

old town

The history of Old Town of Corfu is tied more to Venice than to Greece. 
The architecture is of Venetian origin.

13 June 2019


This is a brilliant rerendering of Brussels' famous Atomium for a Postcrossing meetup card.

12 June 2019

90 years

On June 12th, 1929 it was possible to wake up in a $2 per night room in the tallest building in the British Empire. The night before was the social event of the year with the opening gala of the Canadian Pacific Railway's most grand hotel. It had 28 floors, 10 elevators, and 1,048 rooms. There was also a 12 bed hospital, a radio station, and a bank inside. Today, rooms start at $379 per night.

11 June 2019

piercing the sky

a postcard from before the current construction boom showing the 'CN Tower' and 'SkyDome'

10 June 2019

from jellies to sharks

Continuing on with yesterday's stamp, here is another jellyfish (as well as a shark).  These postcards are available at the Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto (a must see destination for anyone who is interested, or needs to become interested, in marine life.)  It is unfortunate that the 'correspondence' side of the postcard has already been filled in with a description and advertising for the aquarium.

09 June 2019

Sunday Stamps - P

2007, Canada, International Polar Year
designed by Gildo Martino

Eight countries issued stamps for International Polar Year in 2007.  The left stamp shows a male eider duck, while the right stamp shows a jellyfish.  In the centre is a cutout maple leaf.  Each stamp is 40mm X 30mm and the jelly fish is an actual size (apparently about the size of an average thumb!)  It had only recently been discovered on a subarctic polar expedition. The eider duck's migratory pattern was being studied as part of the 2007 IPY. It is considered circumpolar and is native to Greenland, Canada and Alaska.

for the letter P - Polar

08 June 2019

05 June 2019

Spadina House

"The magnificent 1866 mansion of Toronto financier James Austin contains elegant Canadian furnishings and fine art, spanning the lifetime of three generations. Landscaped grounds. 
Open daily year round."

04 June 2019

two plays

The Testament of Mary (a solo performance play by Colm Toibin)

Soulpepper Theatre Company (Toronto)     2016

The 39 Steps (a parody play by Patrick Barlow)

03 June 2019

US 66

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway that's best
Get your kicks on Route 66
It travels from Chicago to LA
More than 2000 miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66

02 June 2019

Sunday Stamps - O

2007, Czech Republic
Nature Protection of the White Carpathian Mountains and Orchid Meadows
This is part of a souvenir sheet I received, but the rest of it was cut off by the sender.

Ophrys holosericea are pollinated by bees
Anacamptsis pyramidalis is a pyramid shaped orchid. as the stamp suggests, it is pollinated by butterflies and moths
Ophrys apisfera also known as the bee orchid. it is exclusively self pollinated

for the letter O - orchids

01 June 2019

drawing rooms

Dundurn Castle, Hamilton (home of Sir Alan McNab)

Spadina House Toronto (home of James Austin)
The Austin family's Drawing Room contains matching walnut upholstered furniture in the Renaissance Revival Style. Original gasoliers, oriental carpets, and a Steinway grand piano exemplify the elegance of this prominent Toronto family.

30 May 2019


It is easy to get turned around in a city with horseshoe designed streets and canals

29 May 2019


"The lovely skyline of Edmonton with the Muttart Conservatory in the foreground"

28 May 2019

light bulbs

metro station Elektrozavodskaya, built 1944
named after a nearby electric light bulb factory and seems to celebrate this with six rows (318 in total) of circular incandescent inset lamps in the central hall.

27 May 2019

country manor

'Zdravnevo', near Vitebsk Belarus, belonged to Russian and Ukrainian artist Ilya Repin (1844-1930 )and is now a museum. The original house was almost destroyed during WWII and much of the wood was used for firewood by the residents of Vitebsk. In 1988 it was rebuilt using Repin's original drawings and with help from some people who remembered it during his lifetime.

26 May 2019

Sunday Stamps - N

2019, Canada, Sweets

A new series of stamps were issued last month featuring five different desserts unique to Canada. Immediately it was noted by pretty much everyone that this is NOT A NANAIMO BAR. The ratio of graham wafer coconut base to custard filling to chocolate topping is all wrong. The bottom layer should be 50% with the filling about 40% and the top the remaining 10%. And it should be more compact.  Apparently the image was made by a photorealist food painter in South Carolina.

for the letter N - Not a Nanaimo bar

25 May 2019

24 May 2019


W  is for Western Australia ... wombat, wattle, WACA
artist: Gavin Ryan
Fair Dinkum Australia Aussie Alphabet

19 May 2019

Sunday Stamps - M

1999, Canada, mask
designer: Yves Paquin

A fiftieth anniversary stamp was issued for Le Theatre du Rideau Vert, Canada's first professional French theatre company which opened in Montreal in 1949. A mask of tragedy and comedy has an outline of the two actors who founded the company with Mercedes Palomino over the face of tragedy and Yvette Brind d'Amour over the face of comedy.
The masks of tragedy and comedy date back to the amphitheatres of ancient Greece. They were worn  as an exaggerated expression for the audience (some seated far away from the stage) to recognize the different emotions.

for the letter M - mask

18 May 2019


Lviv, City of Beer

If you are a lover of craft beer, then this is the city to visit. It has eight breweries, and a beer museum!

17 May 2019

la fee verte

Henri Privat-Livemont, 1896
Absinthe Robette was a brand of Belgian Absinthe named after the wife of the distiller Petitjean.

La fee verte - the green fairy - was a popular euphemism for absinthe. Inspired by the dancer Loie Fuller, she is illuminated by the colour of absinthe in its pure state: chartreuse. "Her tunic is ethereal; like Loie Fuller's scarves, there is but a wispy suggestion of material. The ribbons of fabric point upwards to the prepared glass of absinthe. The woman holds a steady gaze upon that raised offering in knowing anticipation of what will surely be a transformative moment. Wisp like emanations from the floral stalks and surrounding cloudy forms echo the turbid nature of the glass as water flows into the absinthe elixir. They allude top that moment when the absinthe will be transformed into an opaque libation, and all of its botanical olfactory notes will be released."


16 May 2019


Kaj Stenvall,
A Large Coffee, 1999

Some days I feel like this would be appropriate!

12 May 2019

Sunday Stamps - L

1982, USA, LOVE stamp

Somehow I missed that these special LOVE stamps have been issued by the USPS since 1973!  This one was designed by Mary Faulconer using flowers to spell out the word. The L is a miniature red poppy; the O is a ring of painted daisies and miniature pansies; the V is cornflower; and the E are three coral bells.

for the letter L - Love

11 May 2019

black domes

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Tallinn's largest and grandest orthodox cupola cathedral. Built in Russian Revival style between 1894-1900, it was meticulously restored after Estonia gained independence in 1991.

Does anyone know why the domes are black??

10 May 2019

old town market

The Altstadtmarkt was first planned in 1158
Showing the St Martini Church on the left, the Old Town Hall on the right, 
and the Old Town Market Fountain in the centre

06 May 2019

a bit of Ontario

This map shows the most populated area of Ontario. What's missing is the over 1,110 km between the top of Lake Superior and the southern portion of Hudson Bay and the nearly 700 km from Thunder Bay west to the Manitoba border. (as can be seen in the inset box)

05 May 2019

Sunday Stamps - K

1979, Canada
designer: Jon Eby

In 1979, the Canoe-Kayak World Championships were held in Jonquiere Quebec. I have only ever gone kayaking, or canoeing, on a calm lake. This, however, is a not sport for the faint of heart - it involves a course full of rocks, eddies, rapids, fast currents, and high waves. In a kayak the paddler sits with legs in front, facing forward in a closed deck using a double bladed paddle.
A posterized version of a photograph was chosen by designer Jon Eby.

for the letter K - kayak

04 May 2019


May 10-19, 2019 is the date for this year's festival, which, if you want a sensory overload of the heady aroma of sweet, sweet lilacs, I would highly recommend.

03 May 2019

red fox

I was too old for the Roald Dahl book, The Fantastic Mr Fox when it came out in 1970. However, by magic, I was not too old for the movie of the same name which came out 39 years later. To this day, when ever I see a red fox I almost expect it to start talking in a George Clooney voice.