Tuesday, 1 December 2020

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 1 December 2020 - T for penguins, babies and cacti

Hello lovely ladies, Happy Tuesday! 
Although this looks like a book, it actually is a postcard which I received recently from France. It was sent to me by George, who is an Englishman who has lived in the Auvergne since 1997. He is a self-confessed book worm who loves Penguin books. He recommends reading the biography of the founder of Penguin books Sir Allen Lane. This biography is called King Penguin written by J.E. Morpugo. 

If that name sounds familiar, it is because he is the father of Michael Morpugo, the author of War Horse. 

Here is Sir Allen Lane at London zoo with a (real) penguin.

Allen Lane Williams was born in Bristol. In 1919 he joined the publishing company Bodley Head as an apprentice to his uncle and founder of the company John Lane. In the process, he and the rest of his family changed their surname to Lane to retain the childless John Lane's company as a family firm. He was knighted in 1952.

He rose quickly at Bodley Head becoming managing editor in 1925 following the death of his uncle.  Lane, together with his brothers Richard and John, founded Penguin Books in 1935 as part of the Bodley Head.

Penguin Books became a separate company the following year. The legend goes that on a train journey back from visiting Agatha Christie in 1934, Lane found himself on an Exeter station platform with nothing available worth reading. He conceived of paperback editions of literature of proven quality which would be cheap enough to be sold from a vending machine; the first was set up outside Henderson's in Charing Cross Road and dubbed the "Penguincubator". Lane was also well aware of the Hamburg publisher Albatross Books and adopted many of its innovations.

Most booksellers and authors were against the idea of paperbacks. They believed that paperbacks would result in individuals spending less money on books. Lane was a person that was very stubborn when it came to his company. He operated mainly on intuition and imagination.  He was quoted as saying, "I have never been able to understand why cheap books should not also be well designed, for good design is no more expensive than bad."

Edward Young designed the horizontal bands and used Gill Sans Bold for the title's lettering. He was also sent to the Zoo in Regents Park to sketch penguins for the cover. Allen Lane wanted a cover design that was consistent and easily recognizable. In 1937 the font was changed to Times New Roman. His Pelican Books were non-fiction books. Penguins were meant to entertain while Pelicans were meant to enlighten. In the 1950s his company had grown so much that it had major outposts in both Australia and the United States. Lane's management style put him and the individuals in charge in his United States office at odds. These individuals eventually left Penguin books and started their own publishing companies: Bantam Books and New American Library.

The paperback venture was extremely successful, and he expanded into other areas such as Pelican Books in 1937, Puffin Books in 1940 and the Penguin Classics series in 1945.

The plaque marking the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Penguin Books by Allen Lane at 8 Vigo Street.

It reads: "Here, fifty years ago, Allen Lane published his first paperbacks, thereby changing reading habits throughout the English-speaking world. 30 July 1985".

I have noticed that in countries such as Italy and Spain, which didn't have pocket books, people don't read so much. I do hope that e-books will get more people to read in those countries. 

By the way, Allen Lane's daughter Clare married the above mentioned author Sir Michael Morpugo.

The stamp is beautiful. It features an old stage coach used for carrying mail. The writing reads: The old postal routes.

As it's Tuesday, let's join the T-Party hosted by Elizabeth and Bleubeard.


What can I contribute to this party? Below you can see our meal I cooked yesterday. It was tenderloin pork (after all it was Sunday) with a glass of stout. Elizabeth might even join me.
Today we had a busy day. The glass had broken in the woodburner, so we had to go to the glazier in town to have another one cut. He did it on the spot:

We also (illegally) popped into the big Lidl supermarket as I am fed up of eating basic village stuff. There we met my friend's daughter who had just had a baby. She was carrying her tiny daughter in a baby carrier, nice and cozy. 

This little girl is 10 days old. Isn't she cute!

Luckily we didn't get stopped by the police (we are not allowed to leave the village). Our neighbour a few houses down was not so lucky. He got fined 300 euros for going to the supermarket in town. He had a good reason to go into town and thought he'd pop into the supermarket as he was there. No, no. Not allowed! The police spotted the shopping in the car and fined him.

The world is becoming so complicated. I had to go to the post office this morning and then pay a particular bill at the bank. I had a half hour wait in the queue to get into the post office (only one person allowed in there at a time), and then another half hour in the queue outside the bank. (the same: only one person at a time inside).

I should not moan really. Lets move onto something nicer: I'd like to show you my succulent, that is flowering again. It lives on the landing on the stairs, and loves it there.

I've started to read another book. This one is called The Gimmel Flask and is a classic murder mystery about the antique dealer/auctioneer world. 

Here are my cacti. I only water/spray them once a week on a Sunday. They are also doing well. These are kept in the living room.

The above supermarket sell this collection of dark chocolates. I have treated myself to a box (or two) and they are super delicious!

That's it from me this Tuesday. 

Wishing you all a very happy T-Day (do have a chocolate!)

Hugs,
Lisca





 


Friday, 27 November 2020

A Postcard A Day - Friday 27 November 2020 - Friday Smiles

Hello lovely ladies! It's Friday again! Time for a postcard and some smiles.

Here is my postcard. I received it yesterday from the Netherlands:

It's from Desiree, who writes that they had organized a meeting of Postcrossers in the town of Winterswijk in September, but that Corona prevented this. But they still had all the cards that they had printed especially. 
The cards are great. It features what they call the Mondrian cow. The artist Piet Mondrian spent 20 years of his life in the little town of Winterswijk, in the east of the Netherlands.
I'm sure you all know (and recognize) his work. Here is an example:

Here is a little bit about Mondrian:
The great innovator of modern art, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was born in Amersfoort in 1872. He later adopted a simpler spelling, becoming known as Piet Mondrian.

At the age of eight, his family moved to the rural town of Winterswijk , where he learned the basics of drawing and painting from his uncle and his father, who was the principal of the local school. The family encouraged creativity and the young artist never stopped experimenting with his own artistic style. After earning a teaching degree, he pursued his passion at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. He spent 20 years working as an artist in the city.

In 1912 Mondrian moved to Paris, where he was inspired by cubist artists such as Picasso and Braque. He returned to the Netherlands during World War I and continued to develop his own artistic style. Mondrian liked to write about the theory behind his works and found the perfect platform to do this in De Stijl, an arts magazine founded in 1917 by Theo van Doesburg that also included contributions by Bart van der Leck and Vilmos Huszár.

In 1912 Mondrian moved to Paris, where he was inspired by cubist artists such as Picasso and Braque. He returned to the Netherlands during World War I and continued to develop his own artistic style.



Mondrian stayed in London for a short time, fleeing the threat of World War II, eventually settling in New York, where art collectors such as Peggy Guggenheim were receptive to him. His last work, 'Victory Boogie Woogie', remained unfinished when he died of pneumonia in 1944. Still, it is one of his most famous works and can be seen today in the Kunstmuseum in The Hague.



The former Mondrian home in Winterswijk has also been turned into a fascinating museum called Villa Mondrian . It is worth taking the opportunity to follow in his footsteps, see where he learned to paint, understand his early influences, and admire the landscapes that inspired his early works.

So that is why Winterswijk is associated with Piet Mondrian. Now you know.

My week has been good, in spite of the fact that all the restrictions and confinements have been extended until the 10th of December. 

My sister and her hubby have flown back to the UK and of course they have to go into quarantine for two weeks. They are usually very active and play golf a lot, so they have bought a cross trainer. Friends bring them groceries and sometimes meals.  

On Saturday I went for my usual walk with my friend. We did a very long walk and I clocked 16.500 steps. 

In the afternoon, we had the prize giving of the photo club, which had to be held outside. Only a few people attended (gatherings not allowed). 

On Sunday we celebrated our wedding anniversary and we opened a bottle of bubbly.
Monday was a day for errands and I baked another yummy cake.
On Tuesday I walked through the market, but only went to the butcher's. I cooked a lovely meal in my Instant Pot: Cajun Pork and Beans . It was delicious! Here is the link if you want to have a look: Slimming Eats.
On Wednesday I cooked another nice meal: Butternut squash mac & cheese. I had some butternut squashes in the pantry and I wanted to start using them. The recipe called for kale, which is non-existent here, so I used broccoli. Again, here is the link: Sally's Baking Addiction.
The weather forecast is not good, and sure enough, yesterday it started to rain and it was  a pretty dreary day. I had quite a bit of shopping to do as our friends are coming round tonight (Friday). Normally I walk to the shops, but this time hubby offered to help.
I found a little sticker on the apple I was eating: Todo saldra bien (All will be well).

And that is my message really. There will come an end to this, and it will be OK in the end.

So lets look at life from the bright side. There are some funnies at the end as usual. I apologise if there are some that you have seen before. I often forget to delete them when I have shown you them.

Have a lovely weekend,
Hugs,
Lisca


















Tuesday, 24 November 2020

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 24 November 2020 - T or Cava, lions and queens

Good morning lovely ladies.

Today I am a bit late at the T-Party. I normally prepare the day before but that hadn't happened, so here I am: better late than never!

Let me start by showing you my postcard for today:

This postcard is a real photo, like they used to do back in the day. It comes from the Netherlands and is an image of the late Queen Juliana and her family going for a tour in 1948. With her in the carriage are her husband, prins Bernhard and their two eldest daughters Beatrix and Irene.
Juliana was Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 to 1980, when she abdicated in favour of her daughter, Queen Beatrix. Hers was a reign marked by dramatic upheavals, national and personal.
Queen Juliana was the only daughter of Queen Wilhelmina - on the throne since 1898 - and her consort, Prince Hendrik of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. As their only child she was the last of the direct line of the House of Orange-Nassau, hereditary but often controversial rulers of the Netherlands since William the Silent liberated the country from Spain in the 16th century. Her first name was his mother's.

As headstrong as her mother, Juliana took the question of the Orange succession into her own hands. Always a keen skier, she went to the winter Olympics in Bavaria early in 1936 and fell for Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld, a dashing prince of a minor royal house. German consorts were the norm in a royal family which itself derived from Germany; but it was not normal for a princess and heir-apparent to find one for herself, without consulting her mother or the government.

They announced their engagement in September 1936 and married in January 1937. Beatrix was born in 1938 and Juliana could not end the run of female heirs to the throne - and vast private wealth - of Orange. Irene came in 1939, Margriet in 1943 and Maria-Christina in 1947. Then, in 1948, the mother of four became mother of the nation when Wilhelmina followed the Orange custom of abdicating. Her reign had lasted 50 years.

The inauguration of Juliana (the Dutch, as republicans manqués, do not have coronations) came at a difficult time for a nation still reeling from the worst disaster in its history. The German invasion of the neutral Netherlands in May 1940 was an unsurpassed national trauma. Most of the country was liberated only on the very last day of hostilities, May 8 1945.

She carried out all her constitutional tasks, such as presiding over the agonisingly slow formation of coalition governments, with discretion, fairness and aplomb. Despite all vicissitudes she retained the affection of most people in the only republic in the world headed by a constitutional monarch.


The stamp is one from 2014 and shows something typical Dutch: a bicycle.



 I'm joining the T-Party hosted by Elizabeth and Bleubeard and of course i need to bring a drink of sorts.

It is a bottle of Cava (can't call it champagne as it was produced in Spain). It was our 28th wedding anniversary on the 22nd of november.

We couldn't go anywhere, so I cooked something special (a chicken curry) and we celebrated in private.

Cheers! To the next 28 years!
These have been the happiest 28 years of my life and I couldn't have wished for a better husband.

An image of mature wedded bliss (chuckle chuckle).

Now the other day I was walking through the village and i saw something that reminded me of Iris:


It looked very much like Henry on that van!

Then later that evening I got a photo of one of our grandchildren:

It must have been taken at a garden center in or near Windsor, England. because that is where they live.

That is it from me today.
Wishing everyone a happy T-Day,
Take care and stay healthy.
Hugs,
Lisca





Friday, 20 November 2020

A Postcard A Day - Friday 20 November 2020 - Friday Smiles

 Hello lovely ladies, here we are again, sharing our happy moments and reasons for thanksgiving. We might be living through really strange times but there is always something to be grateful for. My week has been full of smiles. Here is one of them:

It is none other than a postcard of the Queen Mother! I don't know how old she was in this photo but you must admit she was an attractive woman. She was well loved by the people even though she became a bit eccentric in her old age.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, the present British sovereign, and the widow of King George VI.

She was born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon on 4 August 1900 (fourth daughter of Lord Glamis, later 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and second child). She spent her early childhood at St Paul's Waldenbury in Hertfordshire, north of the capital. This was the country home of her parents. When her father inherited his Earldom in 1904, she became Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

The Bowes-Lyon family is descended from the Royal House of Scotland. One of The Queen Mother's 14th-century ancestors, Sir John Lyon, became Thane of Glamis, home of Macbeth 300 years before, and Glamis Castle is the family seat.


Lady Elizabeth was educated at home By the age of 10, she was fluent in French. When the First World War started - coincidentally on her 14th birthday - Glamis Castle became a hospital. Although Lady Elizabeth was too young to work as a nurse, she did assist with welfare work with the patients. One of her brothers, Fergus, was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.
From childhood days Lady Elizabeth and her older sisters had been friendly with the children of King George V and Queen Mary.Occasionally, members of the Royal Family stayed at Glamis Castle. In 1922 Lady Elizabeth acted as one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of their daughter, Princess Mary. 
In January 1923 came the announcement of her engagement to HRH The Duke of York (Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George), The King and Queen's second son. They were married on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey. They had two children, Princess Elizabeth, born on 21 April 1926 at the Strathmores' London home, 17 Bruton Street, and Princess Margaret, born on 21 August 1930 at Glamis Castle. Princess Margaret predeceased her mother, dying on 9 February 2002.
King George V died in January 1936. When King Edward VIII abdicated on 11 December the same year, his brother, Albert, Duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI, and his Duchess became Queen Elizabeth, the first British-born Queen consort since Tudor times.



With the outbreak of war in 1939, there was some suggestion that the Queen and her daughters should evacuate to North America or Canada. To this the Queen made her famous reply: 'The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave.' Thus throughout the Second World War the Queen and her children shared the dangers and difficulties of the rest of the nation. She was in Buckingham Palace when it was bombed in September 1940. She and the King visited badly damaged areas throughout the country after the air-raids, and toured Britain visiting hospitals, factories and troops.

As this is Friday Smiles, I add some anecdotes  about the Queen Mother that will make you smile:

Elizabeth was well known for her dry witticisms. On hearing that Edwina Mountbatten was buried at sea, she said: "Dear Edwina, she always liked to make a splash."  Accompanied by the gay writer Sir Noël Coward at a gala, she mounted a staircase lined with Guards. Noticing Coward's eyes flicker momentarily across the soldiers, she murmured to him: "I wouldn't if I were you, Noël; they count them before they put them out."

After being advised by a Conservative Minister in the 1970s not to employ homosexuals, Elizabeth observed that without them, "we'd have to go self-service". On the fate of a gift of a nebuchadnezzar of champagne (20 bottles' worth) even if her family did not come for the holidays, she said, "I'll polish it off myself." Emine Saner of The Guardian suggests that with a gin and Dubonnet at noon, red wine with lunch, a port and martini at 6 pm and two glasses of champagne at dinner, "a conservative estimate puts the number of alcohol units she drank at 70 a week". 


Her lifestyle amused journalists, particularly when it was revealed she had a multi-million pound overdraft with Coutts Bank.

On 30 March 2002, at 15:15 (GMT), Elizabeth died in her sleep at the Royal LodgeWindsor Great Park, with her surviving daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, at her bedside. She had been suffering from a cold for the previous four months. At 101 years and 238 days old she was the longest-lived member of the royal family in British history.

(Info from Wikipedia and www.royal.uk)

The stamp is gorgeous:

It features the Queen's ballroom at Windsor Castle.

Now to my less extravagant lifestyle. This is what I have been up to. (Not much as we are not allowed to go beyond the village borders):

Friday the 13th was a day like any other. In Spain it is Tuesday the 13th that is supposed to be unlucky.
Saturday me and my friend went for a walk in the mountains. I wrote about this in my previous post (Tuesday).
The chutney was a success. Phew, that was good. I cannot taste it as I don't like the smell, let alone the taste of the stuff. So I sort of guestimated everything.

Hubby spent the morning hard pruning our olive trees with a guy who knows what he's doing, and as such missed the church services. He listened to one in the evening but promptly fell asleep. Ahh, bless him!
On Tuesday I went to the much diminished market. Only a few food stalls widely separated from each other.
Hubby checked the solar panel. It needs topping up from time to time. I photographed the shadow of him doing that.
One farmer had changed crops and was selling off his green house frames. A friend, who has a flat loader helped us get them.
We love watching the Bible Project. They are 5 minute cartoons in which the narrator explains what a certain Bible book is all about. They are fun. Watch this one about the book of Jonah for instance
Yesterday I had a very frustrating day with two visits to a bank (different ones) and two problems that have not been resolved yet. But I managed to make a very nice cottage pie.

That about wraps it up. 
I will leave you with a few funnies as usual, but for now, I am going to link up with Annie at A Stitch In Time and with Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday.

Stay safe, take care, and keep smiling!
Hugs,
Lisca

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married. She was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all. 
One afternoon the vicar came to call on her  and she showed him into her quaint sitting room. She invited him to have a seat while she prepared the tea.
As he sat, facing her old pump organ, the young minister noticed a cut-glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water. In the water floated, of all things, a condom!
When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat. The vicar stifled his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist. "Miss Beatrice", he said, "I wonder if you would tell me about this?" pointing to the bowl. "Oh yes," she replied, "isn't it wonderful? I was walking through the park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease. Do you know, I haven't had the flu all winter!"
The vicar fainted.