Friday, September 24, 2010

Another seven hour power cut. Why does it always happen on a Blog day?
A short time back Chris bought from Harmers, the stamp auction house, an envelope on which there was a depiction of George Leybourne, Champagne Charlie. It is added to the Jones/Beeching collection of course which, thanks to Chris and no credit to me, has become quite impressive. Now Harmers send me the catalogue for every auction they hold. It is a beautifully produced fully illustrated, publication I suppose you would call it, that gives a wealth of information about stamps. I can’t afford to buy any of them of course (the Ch.Ch. one fortunately didn’t cost an arm and a leg) but maybe one day I might try and sell a few. I do have some quite interesting stamps in my collection. I wouldn’t know though whether they are worth anything. The latest catalogue is titled ‘All World Stamps and Postal History’ from 115 vendors and is truly intriguing consisting not only of stamps but addressed envelopes and postcards to muse over. I always thought that Victorian Penny stamps, black, red or blue were extremely rare but that would not seem to be the case because, apart from twenty or more on correspondence, there are two whole pages mainly of blacks but also some reds and blues.
Some envelopes are really fascinating, maybe only to a philatelist, but how about this? A letter posted in Paris from John Monroe and Company to James H. Davidson, Lemington, Rockridge County, Virginia. It’s difficult to make out the date but the interesting part is the printed ‘Par Steamer Pr les √Čtats-Unis and at the top in ink is written ‘Liverpool Cunard Steamer.’ One of the most expensive stamps at £5000 is one from Eritrea but on the back cover is a trio consisting of Penny blue, a black and a Penny red, a snip at £7000. But that is beaten by an envelope addressed to Mr Hill, Nicol Tweedies Esq., 41 West George Street, Glasgow stamped with a penny black and priced at £8500.
Nicol Tweedies sounds really fascinating. Every envelope tells a story.

The queen and the Pope said nice things to each other when they met and gave each other presents. Did he bow to her? Did she kiss his ring? What would the protocol be in this situation? We haven’t been told. At least I don’t think so. I was mistaken when I said the cost of his visit would be one and a half million. That is the estimated cost for police security. The true cost was ten to twelve million. That’s thirty million a day. Cheap at the price is wot I says. What a brouhaha and gigantic circus the whole thing was.
Fifty prominent figures sent a letter to The Guardian objecting to the Pope’s visit saying he should not be given the honour of a state welcome. Others have objected as well. This is due mainly to the Pope’s stance on homosexuality, abortion, and contraception (remember the 13000000?) etcetera. There are naturally also those who objected on religious grounds, first and foremost of course being the Presbyterians: the Moderator of the church in Scotland but again first and foremost that ranting monster raving so-called Christian bigot to end all bigots, the Rev Ian Paisley who has been made a lord would you believe? Elevated to the peerage! Why? On what grounds? Shows you what a farce the honours system is.
The manufacturers of tat though had a field day with souvenirs of the visit from quite expensive to fairly cheap - £20 down to £3 – baseball caps with Cardinal Newman’s words ‘Heart will speak unto heart’, T-shirts likewise, mugs, rosaries, bracelets, plates, hideous electric candles and so forth and so on and looking at the pictures when I say tat, I do mean tat and there are about eighty different souvenirs in all.
Six Algerians employed in London as street cleaners were arrested as possible terrorists threatening the Pope and then released.
And speaking of tat, non-Catholics are not going to go down without a fight. Europe, well Mallorca anyway, is to receive its first Christian theme park. So, in opposition to the Vatican, Lourdes and Fatima we have Tara Tara! Holy Land. The park will offer visitors everything from the last supper to "live resurrections" in a rolling programme of shows repeated through the day with a promise to recreate scenarios from the old and new testaments. The plan for the Mallorca park is to emulate the success of Christian attractions in the US, (where else?) which include the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, and the Creation Museum near Cincinnati.
Exact details are scant, but the Buenos Aires park offers its re-enactments of the creation of mankind, the birth of Christ, the resurrection and the last supper eight times a day.
With a cast of extras in the costumes of Romans and early Palestinians, the park advertises itself as "a place where everyone can learn about the origins of spirituality".
And how to make a fast buck?

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