Thursday, 29 November 2012


Card no 290 – November 2012

Kenmore, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was the home of Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis.

Fielding Lewis (July 7, 1725 – December 7, 1781) was a Colonel during the American Revolutionary War and the brother-in-law of George Washington. A successful merchant in Fredericksburg, VA, he had a plantation, which later became known as Kenmore.

Lewis married Catharine Washington on October 18, 1746. She was his second cousin and a first cousin to George Washington. They had three children before Catharine died in February1750.

A few months later, on May 7, 1750, Lewis married Betty Washington (1733-1797), the sister of George Washington and another second cousin. She was 17 years old. They had 11 children together.

In 1769, Fielding and Betty started construction of a large Georgian mansion on their property, which was completed in 1775. It has some of the most refined colonial interior finishes of any surviving mansion. Named by later owners as Kenmore Plantation, it has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The originally one-and-a-half story building was expanded to two stories in the early 19th century. Despite competition and changing tastes, the handsome building operated successfully as a store for nearly 100 years, until 1820, when it was finally adapted for residential use. Donated to the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation in 1996, the building has been studied and stabilized for restoration. It is believed to be one of the oldest retail buildings in the United States.

Appropriately, one of the stamps that Danielle used on this postcard was the 2011 George Washinton one

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Saw this and thought of you!  Should I be insulted or flattered?  Was I being likened to a hairy monster or did Partner-who-loves-tea recognise the background to this picture.  Whatever - she sent me this from home while I was staying with GB this year.

 Postcard - 118

For people who are not Discworld fans I should perhaps explain that in Terry Pratchett’s remarkable Discworld series of novels the librarian is turned into an Orang-utan by an unfortunate piece of magic.

The Librarian appeared in the first novel of the series, ‘The Colour of Magic’, and was transformed into an orang-utan in ‘The Light Fantastic’ as the Octavo fired a beam of magic upwards. On discovering that being an orang-utan had certain advantages for a librarian - he can climb up to high shelves, for example - he refused to be transformed back into a human and has remained an orang-utan ever since. The other wizards have gradually become used to the situation, to the extent that, from ‘Night Watch’: “if someone ever reported that there was an orang-utan in the Library, the wizards would probably go and ask the Librarian if he'd seen it.”

I should warn you, in case you meet him any time, that an Orang-utan is an Ape.  He is therefore likely to rip your head from your shoulders if you make the mistake of calling him a monkey.  In my librarian days there were other reasons I should have occasionally liked to rip readers' heads off but we won't go into that...

Monday, 12 November 2012

Corsica - île de beauté

According to Martine, Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most beautiful islands in the world – and she should know, she lives there.

 Postcard - 188

Although the island is separated from the European continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is closer to Italy than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France.

Corsica is one of the 27 régions of France, although it is designated as a territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale) by law. As a territorial collectivity, it enjoys some greater powers than other French régions. 

 Postcard - 251

Mountains represent two thirds of the island and form a single chain, 183 kilometres long and 83 kilometres wide. Monte Cinto as the highest peak at 2,706 metres (8,878 ft) and 20 other summits of more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft).

The French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte was born in 1769 in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio.  The northern town of Calvi is believed to be the birthplace of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

This statue in Corte is of Pasquale Paoli (1725 –1807), a Corsican patriot and leader who designed and wrote the constitution of the state.  The photo looks to have been taken on some sort of children's outing (note the supervising adult in the background)!

 Postcard - 226

The Corsican  Republic was a democracy asserting that the elected Diet of Corsican representatives had no master. Paoli held his office by election and not by appointment. It made him commander-in-chief of the armed forces as well as chief magistrate.

Paoli's government claimed the same jurisdiction as the Republic of Genoa. In terms of de facto exercise of power, the Genoese held the coastal cities, which they could defend from their citadels, but the Corsican republic controlled the rest of the island from Corte, its capital.

In 1768 the French conquered Corsica and Paoli oversaw the Corsican resistance before being  forced into exile in Britain where he was a celebrated figure. He returned and helped to create the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom which lasted between 1794 and 1796. After the island was re-occupied by France he again went into exile in Britain where he died in 1807.

The wonderful Martine has also kindly sent me map cards of some of the regions of mainland France and I shall aim to blog those (eventually – blogging cards is a slow business).

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Postcard no 267

I love this picture from Kim in the Netherlands.  I think it has to be my favourite picture of 'reading' that I have received so far.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Australia - A Big Country

Australia is the planet's sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the USA, and Brazil. At 7 692 024 km2, it accounts for just five percent of the world's land area of 149 450 000 km2, and although it is the smallest continental land mass, it is the world's largest island.

 Postcard no 191

 Postcard no 271

Click in the above to see the countries in detail.

Thanks to Jamie and Penny for the cards.