31 December 2013

Twelve Grapes

Sent by Heleen (the Netherlands).

This postcard is drawn by one of my favourite illustrators: the Finnish gardener and illustrator Inge Löök. I really love her funny aunties, I wish I were like them when I become an old lady.

My friend sent me this postcard in the beginning of 2013, to wish me a Happy New Year. It has been, indeed! And so I'm doing: I wish happy new year to those who started a new year tomorrow!

She also asked me about a Spanish tradition that consists in eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to twelve months of happiness and prosperity. Each grape is eaten with each beat of the bell. I assure you it is really difficult not to get choked!

It seems that this tradition started back in the latest years of XIX century, as a way to ridicule rich people who usually ate grapes with champagne. But it became established in 1909. In December of that year, some wine growers from the regions of Alacant and Murcia had problems to sell the overproduction of an excellent harvest. And they succeeded in popularize the custom.

I have read this tradition is also alive in places with a cultural relationship with Spain, but I am not sure about this point.

30 December 2013

Old Money

Last month I received this stamp on a postcard from John (the UK). He explained me that he stuck it just as a sticker, because it is "old money". Also in November Heleen (the Netherlands) sent me a lot of gulden stamps because it was the last time she could use them (what a pity!).

In Spain the euro replaced the peseta, in 2002, so we were obliged to change the stamps too. I remember stamps in pesetas were allowed for a short period after. Still now you can exchange them in post offices (you must go to a special post office if you have more than... 600 euros? Something like that).

I wonder if a lot of people have faced this problem...

29 December 2013

Smurf Mail

Smurfmail sent by Heleen (the Netherlands):

Inside the second envelope arrived a real Smurf [Smile]; and in other one pictures of a hard-working Smurf:

28 December 2013

Postcards from China?

There is some funny things related to the postcards received through Postcrossing. When I started to participate in that (great!) site, the problem for some recipients was that people used to receive more postcards from Finland than from any other country. I must say it never was a problem for me. I think I'd never tired of Finnish postcards because usually they are really nice, and so are the stamps. I guess that I never would have visited Finland had it not been for the received postcards.

This fact has changed (sometimes I miss the Finns in my mail box!). Now I receive more postcards from the USA, the Netherlands and Germany than from the rest of the world. And I guess I have more and more probabilities to receive postcards from China and Russia.

Postcards from and to Russia travel really slowly. I suppose that discourages the Russian postcrossers and mail artists.

And postcards from China... Well, sometimes they amaze me. I do not know if you have the same experience, but some Chinese postcards arrive with only a "Happy Postcrossing" written on. I confess this is not my idea of best mail. However, what astonish me the most is that some postcards has nothing to do with China, and the sender almost never writes a minimum explanation!

Some examples:

Sent by Wuai (China). I cannot read the sentence, and I do not understand why he is sending me this postcard about a writer from Praga, without a word about this fact. Please, do not misunderstand me: I do not mean that I do not like the postcard or I am not grateful to the sender. Certainly not! I am just saying that this is not the postcard I expect from China, this is all.

Sent by Fori-Wang (China). This postcard was actually sent from the Czech Republic (but with a ID starting by CN-...). It depicts the Sacre de l'empereur Napoleon 1er (1806-1807) by Jacques-Louis David. This picture is in the Louvre (Paris, France).

Sent by Psyche (China). No explanation.

(Now I am watching at the postcards I have posted... Is there a connexion China-France-Czech Republic I do not know?!?)

27 December 2013

Belle van Zuylen

Isabelle de Carrière (1740-1805), aka Belle van Zuylen was a Dutch writer, especially know by her letters, although she also wrote novels, pamphlets, music and plays. She kept up an extensive correspondence with numerous people, including well-know intellectuals like Constant d'Hermenches, James Boswell, Benjamin Constant, Ludwig Ferdinand Huber...

She died on 27 December, 208 years ago. How nice to dedicate a stamp to a tireless letters writer!

(Stamp sent by Heleen, from the Netherlands).

26 December 2013

Mail Goodies

Not exactly a Christmas present, but I have recently received this bag as a gift. Look at it closely:

Isn't it perfect for a snail mail lover as me? However, who offered me the back hardly knows that I like mail!

And other mail present I have received (mmm... some weeks/months ago, I'm afraid): snail mail sweets. I mean they arrived by snail mail.

25 December 2013

Stressed - Desserts

I don't know if you celebrate Christmas. If you do... Do you eat so much as my family does?!? Somehow I feel that today is the right day to show this postcard sent last month by Heleen (the Netherlands).

24 December 2013

Christmas Lighthouse

Sent by Mélissa (Canada).

With this postcard and matched envelope and sticker, I wish you Happy Christmas!

23 December 2013

More Tea

This amazing parcel sent by Heleen (the Netherlands) also contained tea. Concretely, tea with raspberry that is, mmm, almost finished.

But the sender was not sure that it arrived in good condition after crossing the customs. So she wrote a message for the customs officers, asking them to leave the packet mooi ('nice') if they inspected the content. I am pretty sure the customs officers in Morocco did not understand the message written in Dutch. But anyway it worked, and the tea and the box arrived safe and sound!

22 December 2013

Key-ring for Mail Lovers

Two Christmas presents magically received before Christmas. My new key-ring and a little tin of delicious black tea. Have you noticed that the time for collecting the mail is tea time? :D

21 December 2013


From Aarón (Hungary). It shows Heros' Square (Hősök tere) in Budapest.

Postcard sent by John (the UK): The Holyhead and Chester Mail Coaches stuck in the snow on Hockey Hill near Dunstanble, Bedforshire. By H. Alken, February 1837.

Sent by Laura (the UK). Mrs Hartley in the character of Hermione in William Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. Another one for my little collection...!

Sent by Kate (the USA). Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in the state of Oregon. An Autumn view of this.

20 December 2013

Bee Collage

Sent by Keith (the USA). The stamp in the front of the postcard is from Hungary.

19 December 2013

Postcard from Montenegro

Sent by Ivana (Montenegro).

Actually I received this postcard long time ago, but I forgot to post it. Now I have just realised I have never posted mail from Montenegro!

18 December 2013

Old Lighthouses

Some old postcards with lighthouses sent by Heleen (the Netherlands): Ameland (two postcards) and Vlieland:

Update: I have recently got (also sent by Heleen) a more recent picture showing Vlieland lighthouse. I thought it could be interesting to post it here.

17 December 2013

Postcard from Brunei

Sent by Alfie (Brunei).

The only postcard I have received from Brunei (a little cheat, because I was not the first recipient... by I receive it by mail anyway!).

The following postcard was sent by Heleen (the Netherlands). Actually, it has nothing to do with Brunei. But somehow I found some similarities in these pictures, and I kept them together in my desk for a while. These orange landscapes just made me dream...

16 December 2013

Pink Tea

Sent to Laura (the UK).

Collage made of tea packaging (from the Netherlands), washi tape and stickers).

The envelope (my first attempt to made such decorations of washi tape):

14 December 2013

And More Christmas Stamps

Last week I wrote that certain stamp was a favourite... And as part of Christmas' magic I have just received it as a postcard! (A bit damaged, but still).

Well, but today is about stamps. The theme for Sunday Stamps in Viridian's blog is again Holiday stamps, I'm going to show the few Christmas stamps I have received this year:

From the UK

Timothy Cratchit (aka Tiny Tim) is a character from the novel A Christmas Carol, by English writer Charles Dickens. This used to be my favourite book as a child. I have probably read this novel more than thirty or even forty times (Sure!).

From the UK

This stamp has been designed by a 10-years-old school girl. She and the girl who designed the stamp below (7 years old) won among more than 240,000 entries to the contest. It is only the third time in Royal Mail's near 500-year history that children have designed the stamps for Christmas. You can read more here.

More received stamps from the UK:

Don't you love a Christmas stamps about Christmas cards?!?

I am not sure it these pre-euro stamps are Christmas stamps, but I think so (Update: Yes!). I just wanted to show them because they are really lovely!

From the Netherlands

From the Netherlands


Some cows I received for the VQR Postal Project (haven't you participated yet?):

Colourful VQR made by Servane (Belgium).

Postcard made by John (the UK) with an advertising leaflet. The phlegmatic cow.

Letter sent by Ângela (Portugal).

And more cowstamps from the UK: