I haven’t been spending much time on my stamps or postcards recently. With the end of the long rainy season, November has been a real scorcher; hot and humid is not good philatelic weather! I have also been very busy teaching — I now have at least one two-hour lesson each and every day of the week. I’m much looking forward to an upcoming English camp at a Phang Nga resort; it’s still “teaching” but a fun change-of-pace from a classroom.
Still, a bit of mail does trickle in from time to time. This week, an “official” Postcrossing card arrived from Canada as well as a duplicate from Lithuania — I’d already registered a card with this number last month. My most recent eBay auction item also showed up — a nice mint stamp from France depicting the Eiffel Tower, picked up for a low winning bid of 0,34 Euros (approximately 13.5 Thai baht). This postal activity inspired me to print sheets of my two upcoming Muang Phuket Local Post stamp issues and prepare the requisite first day covers. More on those very soon…
My 14th card received through Postcrossing comes from Windsor in Ontario, Canada. The historic section of the city is known as Olde Sandwich Towne and is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the province, having been founded in 1797. The community served as a northern terminus in the so-called Underground Railroad, a series of cellars and safe houses used by those escaping the bondages of slavery in the American South during the 1860’s. This piqued my interest as I’ve been reading quite a bit about the American Civil War recently.
Card #CA-379943 was mailed from Canada in October, the tiny $1.85 bear cub stamp receiving one of the ugly ink-jet “spray on” cancelations that most collectors detest. These usually contain little information about actual postal origin (a post code in this case) and usually indicate the marking office as being a huge processing center. They seem to be most common on cards and letters originating in the U.S. and Great Britain (not nearly as often) in addition to Canada. I’d never seen one from anywhere else until an envelope arrived from France yesterday, as we will soon see.
This took 36 days to travel 14,445 kilometers (8,976 miles). Cheryl wrote:
Greetings from Canada! Fall is upon us and I have been busy tucking away my garden for winter. This painting is very famous in my city, especially from a historical point of view. I hope you have a great Autumn and Halloween.
Kindest regards, Cheryl
Two envelopes arrived for me, both bearing similarly-colored stamps. The first was from Vilnius, Lithuania, and the stamp marks Chinese New Year. A colleague commented, “What’s next? Thailand issuing a stamp for Christmas?” I suppose there isn’t a country on Earth anymore that doesn’t have a sizable Chinese population. Even more surprising is that the very nice circular handstamp shows 11 September as the date of mailing, some sixty-five days before receipt. We have a new slowest card!
The date is confirmed as it’s also written on the enclosed postcard. Oddly, I’d already received a card from Kristina with the same Postcrossing ID number. That card had been mailed one week before this one but not under separate cover; it took a comparatively quick 36 days to travel the 8,212-kilometer (5,103 miles) distance and contained a similar message. In my opinion, this second card has a nicer photo of the World Heritage Vilnius University campus. Both include the time and temperature when the card was written, something I plan to incorporate on my next batch of cards. This time, Kristina wrote:
Sept. 11, 2013 8:20 am +13°C
Greetings from the Lithuanian capital. I am always glad sending postcards featuring my campus in the Old Town. It’s a very special place — and not only for me, even after 20 years or so since my graduation. In summer I show my town to German speaking tourists — they are always impressed.
The final envelope received yesterday, containing the eBay-won Eiffel Tower stamp, features another red-orange stamp. This one comes from France and marked the one hundredth death anniversary of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Note that it’s denominated in both French francs (6.70) and Euros (1,02). Also notice the ugly postmark — another of the ugly generic spray-on cancellations that are starting to become oh so common. This one is courtesy of La Poste the French postal servce, and and gives no real clue to the location of mailing. The addressee’s postcode of 92190 (Meudon, Claimart) is a long way from the presumed postcode in the marking, 38276A. At least the date of mailing is clear, 25 October.