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Monday, August 31, 2009

Reading someone else’s mail from 1907

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The Grave(Reverse)nant-y-glyn(Reverse)

In 1907, someone who we only know as “L” visited Colwyn Bay in wales and sent a postcard of a grave to “Miss Banfield” in Herefordshire.

A couple of years later, “L” visited Colwyn Bay again, and sent another postcard to Miss Banfield.  This time it was of a wooded roadway in country Wales.

A hundred years later, these postcards turned up at the markets in suburban Brisbane, and my mum, who knows I love postcards, bought them for me.

So we can now read these brief personal messages between these two people, both of whom are probably long dead.

This inspires me to keep sending postcards to the furthest reaches of the planet.  Who knows, one or two of them might outlive me, and someone in a century might be wondering who “Neil” was and why he sent such wierd postcards!

By the way, if you want to read what “L wrote to Miss Banfield, just click on one of the images above.  I managed to transcribe it.

The GraveNant-y-Glyn

Genoa International Boat Show

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A Postcrossing post card from Vincenzo in Naples, Italy.

The postcard celebrates the 49th International Boat Show in Genoa in October this year.

Thanks for the postcard, Vincenzo!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

History in a Wardrobe

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NOTE. This article was originally published at - if you'd like to see the slideshow and associated images, please view it there.

In the back of her wardrobe, my mum found some old documents covering a period of almost a hundred years. It’s a bit like taking a visit to Narnia digging around in the back of old wardrobes. Perhaps that’s why C.S.Lewis wrote about them.

Rather than spoonfeed it all to you here, why don’t you take your own trip to Narnia and dig around by clicking on the slideshow and having a look at some of these amazing things.

There’s a picture of my Dad pretending to be a rich oil-sheik, a heart warming anniversary card from my Grandad to Grandma a couple of years before he died, a seaside postcard written by my Aunts shortly after the war, some concert programs from during the second world war, and much more.

I love this stuff. It tells me about life before I was born, before my parents were born, and gives me a sense of being part of an unfolding, fascinating history!

Hall of Great Harmony

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A postcrossing post card from Xizhe in Shangai.

Xishe is on vacation at the moment, planning a trip next year to Greece.

The Hall of Great Harmony is part of the “Forbidden City” in Beijing, built in 1406 by the Hongwu Emporer, it served as the Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties for almost 500 years.

The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Thanks for the postcard Xishe!


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A postcrossing post card from Judit in Belgium

The ship in the picture is “Carina” (you might be able to see the name КАРИНА in cyrillic on her bow).

Length: 122m, 7600GRT, 328 passengers.

She is currently known as “Rochale One” and operates as a static ship for student accommodation in Amsterdam.

She was built in Nantes, France in 1977 for the then Soviet government and named “Aywasowski”. She operated cruises out of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

She was renamed Carina after she was bought by German company Phoenix Reisen in 1997. She changed hands again in 2000 and was renamed “Primexpress Island”, operating out of Cyprus.

The ship was impounded in the port of Limassol (Cyprus) because of unpaid bills.

She was eventually purchased by a consortium of three Dutch housing companies acquired the vessel, towed it to Amsterdam and configured it for use as hotel accommodation for students.

Her engines are kept in working order, so she is capable of sailing as and when needed.

Thanks for the fascinating postcard, Judit!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vladivostok, Russia

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A postcrossing postcard from Alla who lives in Vladivostok and actually studies at the University of Southern Qld.

Vladivostok is Russia’s largest pacific sea port, and home to the Russian Pacific Fleet. It is located near to the Russian border with China and North Korea.

Among the numerous naval vessels, you can see two cruise ships. The one on the left is Regal Princess, which was renamed Pacific Dawn in 2007. I am not able to name the cruise ship on the right.  My friend Geoff from Oz Cruise Club tells me the ship on the right is Norwegian Wind (now Superstar Aquarius), which cruises the Asia Pacific region most of the year.

Thanks for the postcard, Alla!

Slovinski National Park, Poland

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Słowiński Park Narodowy (Slovinski National Park)

A postcrossing postcard from Aleksandra in Poland.

Slovinksi National Park is one of only two sea-side national parks on the north coast of Poland.

It’s famous for its moving sand dunes which can reach 30 or 40 metres in height. Surrounded by marshes, peat bogs and forests, it is home to many different types of birds, as well as foxes and elk.

Slovinski National Park is included in the UNESCO world network of Biosphere reserves.

Thanks for the fascinating postcard, Aleksandra!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Polzeath, Cornwall

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The Sands and Pentire Point

A postcard from my mate Simon who’s on holidays in England at the moment.

He’s there in the middle of summer and it’s still too cold for him to go swimming, but he had a great time camping.

From what he says, the ice cream and clotted cream is good too.

Sounds like Simon might need to do a lot more jogging when he gets home again!

Thanks for the postcard Simon.

Looking forward to having a few beers with you when you get home!

Temple & Mosques in Singapore

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A Postcrossing post card from Loh in Singapore.

Thanks Loh!


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A Postcrossing post card from Ela who lives in Sastamala, Finland.

Ela works with old people. some of them are over 100 years of age.

She has two sons, one in the Finnish army and the other still at school.

Thanks for the lovely postcard, Ela!

Budapest, Hungary

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A Postcrossing post card from Christina in Hungary.

Christina is studying law, and organizes weddings.

The top picture shows Buda Castle, the historical castle of Hungarian Kings, completed in 1265.

The second picture is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge – A suspension bridge which was the first permanent bridge across the Danube connecting the cities of Buda and Pest in 1849.

The third picture is of the River Danube with the Szabadság Szobor or Liberty Statue standing on Gellért Hill. Including its base, the statue stands 40 metres high and comemorates the liberation of Hungary from Nazi occupation by Soviet troops during World War II.

Thanks for the fascinating postcard, Christina!

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Be a kid for 60 seconds

I recorded this tune today just before Sunday Lunch.

Being a kid is a lot of fun, and sometimes you enjoy music more when you suspend your "grown up" mind and just be a child again - even if its only for sixty seconds.

This is a three-part tune I did on the WX5, using Trombone (8), Clarinet (99) and Trumpet (5). If you can pick the tune before the trumpet comes in at 35 seconds, you're truly a kid at heart!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If a Sauna and tar won't cure it, nothing will

A postcrossing post card from Jorma in Finland.

Hmmm - I'll have to give a sauna a try sometime!

Thanks Jorma!

Hangzhou Night Scenes

A postcrossing post card from Evelyn in Hangzhou, China.

Evelyn is a student, and although it's summer vacation time, she's studying to make sure she passes her college entrance exam next year.

Evelyn hopes one day to be a director.

Best of luck, Evelyn, and thanks for the post card!

City Reach Brisbane River - 1909

This postcard from Rita shows a view of the Brisbane River looking South-East from the top of Queen Street towards the Kangaroo Point cliffs, with the Customs House in the foreground.

It shows a view in the opposite direction compared to this postcard which was taken around the same time.

The Morning Mist over the Pasture

A postcrossing post card from Catherine, in Sichuan, south-west China.

Catherine loves good food from all over the world, but she says Sichuan food is the best.

Thanks for the card, Catherine!

Devon Riviera

A postcard from my mate Simon who is currently taking a quick holiday in the UK.

Hope you're having a good time, Simon!

By the way, for you Fawlty Towers fans, the middle left picture is of Torquay. (Don't mention the war)

Thanks for the postcard, Simon!

Lisboa. Cais das Colunas (1940-1950)

A postcard from Catarina in Lisbon.

The photo shows Lisbon in the 1940's.

Catarina is currently completing her Masters Degree Biomedical Engineering, which means she hasn't had much of a vacation this summer :)

Thanks for the card, Catarina!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The cure for Mondayitis

Fishing on a monday afternoon. THE cure for Mondayitis :)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Found it!

I found the image on the right here. Many of the features in it match those in the postcard which places it as I thought at Petrie Bight. The photo on the right is from Picture Queensland, the State Library of Queensland, dated 1924. Here's what the info about the picture says:

Wharves at Petrie Bight, Brisbane. The S.S. 'Royal City', 5411 gross tons and 3481 nett tons, docked at Nixon-Smiths wharves, Circular Quay, on 17 February, 1924. The S.S. 'Royal City' is discharging 19, 399 cases of kerosene, 20,000 cases of benzine and motor spirit and 650 tons of general cargo from New York and Port Arthur.

The 1924 picture has many additional buildings not in the postcard, so I'm sticking with my guess that the postcard is dated around 1910.

Unfortunately, I don't think the ships in both pictures are the same. The stern of SS Royal City in the picture on the right is quite different from the stern of the vessel in the postcard.

Even so, it's great to be able to more accurately date and place the postcard.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Town Reach Brisbane River

A postcard from Angela in England.

I am guessing, but I think this picture looks north-east towards Petrie Bight from Customs House. It's probably dated between 1900 to 1910. Unfortunately there's no stamp on the back of the postcard, and no postmark. The writer didn't date the card, so we can only guess!

At the turn of the century, Petrie Bight, downstream from the city centre was occupied by wharves.

The houses in the top right of the picture are probably on Bowen Terrace, New Farm.

For comparison, see another picture of this area around the same time.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

RMS Baltic

A Postcard from Miry.

RMS Baltic is the twin funnelled ship whose stern is visibile in the picture.

At the time she was built in 1903, RMS Baltic was the largest ship in the world, with a GRT of 23,876 and a length of over 222 metres.

She was the third of a set of four ships dubbed "The Big Four", abd built for the famous White Star line by Harland and Wolff in Belfast - the same yard that made RMS Titanic.

Her maiden voyage was from Liverpool (the port seen in the picture) to New York in 1904. Her Captain, Edward J Smith was later to be the captain of RMS Titanic in 1912.

In 1909 she rescued survivors of the collision between another White Star Liner, RMS Republic, and SS Florida off the coast of Newfoundland.

In 1912 she transmitted ice warnings to RMS Titanic before that ship's fateful collision with an iceberg.

In 1929 she rescured passengers of the sinking ship, Northern Light.

She was scrapped in Osaka in 1933.

This postcard was mailed in 1928 from Liverpool to France (see reverse side for details).

So much history in one postcard. How wonderful!

The Kings Head, Bexley

A postcard from Miry.

My father worked as a barman at "The Kings Head" in the early sixties before we migrated from the UK to Australia.

It wasn't far from where we lived (Bexleyheath).

The owner of the pub, Frank Petty, begged Dad not to leave for Australia, but thankfully we did. Frank kindly sent us "The Times" calendar every year for many years after that. It hung proudly in our loo, showing a picture of one magnificent British garden for each month of the year.

Boulonge-Sur-Mer. - L'Embarquement pour Follkestone

A postcard from Miry.

Boulonge-sur-Mer is located in the North-East of France, and is that country's major fishing port.

This postcard was sent in 1906 from Wimereux to Palaiseau.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Some technical articles if you're interested

I have a technical blog that I occasionally add articles to, so that I don't bore you with hi-tech ramblings here. But in case you're interested, here's a brief summary of some recent articles.

Cool technology - fun with PVRs
Some amazing facts - just incase you'd like to be impressed.
My Inbox - This is an amazing feat for me!
Slideshow from RSS for Wordpress - Some pretty stuff for blogs

I also have a ShipWatcher blog that has some interesting articles about ships. I add all my ship articles here. But if you're interested:
SS Orford - A short life. Don Bradman travelled on this ship.
RMS Orion / SS Orion - The first "Ten Pound Pom" ship, launched by remote control from Brisbane.
New Instant Slideshows! - A cool new feature I've added to ShipWatcher
Crystal Serenity / Crystal Symphony - some new ships I've added to ShipWatcher

Bald Eagles

A postcrossing post card from Teresa in Tennessee, USA.

Teresa lives in a rural farming community, not far from Reelfoot Lake, where these magnificent birds can be observed in the winter months, perching in cyprus trees, and soaring over the lake.

Thanks for the postcard, Teresa!