Category Archives: Stamps


Adj sesquipedal or sesquipedalian (of objects or words) a foot and a half long — of words, very long and pedantic.  [L. sesquisemisquesemis, half a unit, que, and] © Chambers Concise Dictionary 1991

Hello 2018!  Woke up with that word floating about my head.  I have always liked its rhythm, and I quickly realised to my utter chagrin that I did not know what it meant, so off to the dictionary room I hied myself, with all possible haste, whilst maintaining the silence of the hour (04:20).

BTW wishes everyone a peaceful, happy, healthy and prosperous new year,  one without fake news and duplicity would be nice, but let’s not be carried away.

Here’s a pre-decimal conundrum —  why did Paul’s dad choose to paint a cottage ever so slightly differently for this stamp illustration?

Ulster thatch 1
Ulster thatch 2












I have looked this one up, since it was one I did not have in my collection.  I think it would have been most unlikely that a stamp valued at 1/6 (one shilling and sixpence), the equivalent of several pounds today, would have come my way, unless used to post a gift.  The decimal equivalent of 7½ pence gives no clue as to its real value.  It was one of a set depicting house claddings* from the four countries of the UK.  I have several copies of the Fife Harling (5d), but neither the Cotswold Limestone (9d) nor the Welsh Stucco (1s).  That must have hurt at the time; one of the chief joys, for me, of stamp collecting is possessing all the members of the set.   One job I had in John Menzies involved logging sets of OCR** documents posted in from all over Britain.  Heavy parcels used lots of stamps; it took me less than a day to amass a full set whenever there was a new issue.  Happy times.

Meanwhile, having had to admit to myself that I have lost my camera, I am researching the purchase of a replacement.  I do not often lose things, and in the upheaval of the festive season that is not a statement made lightly.  Yes, I have a more than adequate camera on my phone but the faff involved in finding and sharing a picture is major.  Hopefully I may then return to posting swathes of credible photo journalism (ha ha, that would be nice).

I have resisted the lure of the teapot for long enough, and there are calendars to change.   Onwards and upwards!

* sounds boring but isn’t.  Stamp collecting makes you look at things differently.  Philately will get you everywhere.

**Optical Character Recognition.  It was very new at the time and in one of those timey wimey twists, the documents were sent to a building which would become the home of RBS Registrars from 1988 – 97, my Sighthill office home for 9 years.

Do be do be do..

be do be doobie..               *

I have ranted before about the exploitation of collectors, be it of stamps, coins, used tea bags, whatever.  The issuing bodies are milking it dry these days.  I was about to launch into this one again tonight, when I came home to another advice note for new stamps here in the UK.   But, I looked over the detail first.

The set features former Dr Who David Tennant as Hamlet, Antony Sher plays Prospero, Chuk Iwuji plays Henry VI, Paul Schofield as Lear, Sara Kestelman plays the fairy queen Titania, Ian McKellen and Francesca Annis play the doomed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.

I’m so glad I have these on order already, since I could not have resisted this celebration of the RSC – and it’s issued on a rather special, poignant day….

*2Brnt2B – do keep up.

Stamp of approval

The next set of special stamps due to be issued by the Royal Mail will celebrate Magical Realms – I never thought I would ever see Nanny Ogg* (a witch in the realm of Discworld, created by Sir Terry Pratchett) on a stamp, let alone Tilda Swinton, albeit in her guise as the Snow Queen of Narnia. I have found that the works of Terry Pratchett evoke a response akin to the Marmite test and that’s fine, after all if you put work into the public forum then you must expect to receive criticism, which in itself is perfectly valid unless it’s from those who haven’t even bothered to read the books, and are just piggy backing on what they think is fashionable at which to sneer.   Anyway, for fans of Pratchett, J.K.Rowling, C.S.Lewis and err, whoever first came up with the legend of Merlin, it’s a gift.

The most recently issued set of stamps celebrated Musicals, how cool to see a Terry Gilliam cartoon in there, but if you really want to be impressed, catch the Thunderbirds are Go issue which has the opening sequence of the SuperMarionation© show in moving pictures via lenticulars on stamps, you do  have to see it to believe it.

Update on Olympics 2012 50 pence coins: – I now have the undernoted




Fencing (thank you Diana)

Goalball (nope, me neither)


and I’m hoping to have badminton, volleyball and canoeing shortly unless I am trounced on Ebay.   Some of the designs are challenging in their interpretation, as if you had taken the concept of a particular sport and put it through some philosophical equivalent of a washing machine, but the Football one is good.

* Nanny Ogg is famous for her knowledge of ribald songs, the titles of which are too rude for this page.