Monday, 31 December 2012

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Card no 322 - Sarah

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centreline of the park. It is the most visited national park in the United States.  It was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds

Sarah, who sent me the card, told me her parents spent their honeymoon there.  The card arrived at Christmas and seemed wholly appropriate for that time of year.

Snowy Owl

Card no 221 - McGregor

This Snowy Owl card was sent from Canada and is a card published by the Oak Hammock Marsh Conservation Area.

 Owls are my favourite birds so this made a beautiful addition to my set of bird cards.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Belarus in Associations

Card no 320 - Elena

This is a map card with a difference.  It shows the shape of Belarus and fills in the shape with words associated with the country. Elena was kind enough to explain some of the words that were not in English.  For example -  pushena or belovezhskaya pushena is the most famous national park in Belarus and a UNESCO WHS.  It’s a good job that Elena explained because putting  belovezhskaya pushena gave the language detected as Malay and the translation as ‘belovezhskaya pushena’.  I love Google translate but occasionally it can go a bit berserk!

Draniki, Elena told me, is a traditional dish of potato pancakes served with sour cream.  And Pesniary is ‘a nice musical band singing songs in the traditional Belarusian language that is so little used these days’.

Among the words I recognised were Azarenka - Victoria Azarenka is a Belarusian professional tennis player and the current World No. 1 – and zhaleyka - a single-reed hornpipe, considered by many to be the most popular Russian folk wind instrument.

The Pahonia was the official state symbol of the Belarusian National Republic in 1918 and the official coat of arms of Belarus from 1991 to 1995 when it was controversially scrapped.

Right in the middle of the country can be seen the word ‘postcrossing’ and judging by the number of cards I have recievd fromn there and sent there I must agree it is worth mentioning.   It is ranked eighth in thenumber iof cards sent ion the Postcrossing site.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Touring Australia - a maxi-card

Card no 319 – Penny

What a great card this is!  It is my first maxi-card.  In philately a maxi-card (also known as a maximum card, or maxicard) is a postcard with a postage stamp placed on the picture side of the card where the stamp and card match or are in concordance. In most cases, the cancellation or frank is also related to the image on the front of the card and the stamp.  The collecting of maximum cards is known as maximaphily.

The stamp and card are from the latest Australian stamp series – Touring Australia.
The cancellation on my card shows a petrol pump, how cool is that.

Friday, 28 December 2012

The Brda waterway - the world of silence

Card 317 - Karolina

This water trail in Poland is ideal for those who enjoy peaceful and quiet surroundings of unspoilt nature. It meanders near reserves of cormorants and grey heron and passes by coniferous forests which are home to peregrine falcon.

The Brda is considered one of Europe's most attractive kayaking routes thanks to its scenic landscape, frequent rapids, winding courses, crystal-clear water, and clean air. The Brda waterway runs through the Bory Tucholskie National Park. Those who are fond of wilderness may start their trip from Nowa Brda. Charzykowy on Lake Charzykowskie and Swornegacie on Lake Witoczno are two other convenient starting points. There are waterside hostels and bivouac sites for those kayaking or canoeing down the route.

Karolina who sent me the card has a summer house between Pieczyska and Koronowo.

I will mention the stamps on this card in a separate post.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Stamp Machines and a Paper Nautilus

 One might wonder what Stamp Machines and a Paper Nautilus have in common. The answer is the sender and the fact that he puts lots of used stamps on the back.  The stamps are chosen according to the recipients interests – what a great idea.

Card no 316 - EJ

This card from EJ shows old and new stamp slot machines. The one on the left is from 1930 and the right from around 1982.  I think they are German but they may be Dutch.  Sadly most of our British stamp slot machines have been phased out and very few remain.

 Card no 318 – EJ

The Paper Nautilus (Argonauta argo).

These are the stamps that decorated these cards…
International Reading Year 1972 stamp - Hungary

A Polish sorting office

Cylindropuntia fulgida, the Jumping Cholla, also known as the Hanging Chain Cholla, is a cactus that is native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.  A strange thing to have on a Polish stamp!

A Romanian Common Genet (Genetta genetta)
And a European Pine Marten (Martes martes) from the same series

A Russian stamp with flowers and bees

A Croatian air mail stamp with what appears to be a species of Swallow
A Tanzanian stamp of the Caspian Cobra (Naja oxiana) - I love this one

And a Green Iguana or Common Iguana (Iguana iguana) from the same series.
The stamps that actually paid for the cards to travel were these!