Tuesday, 23 February 2021

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 23 February 2021 - T for reading ladies, almond blossom and a partridge

 Hello lovely ladies, Here we are again on Tuesday to visit the T-Party. I hope our hostess Elizabeth is feeling better. (and warmer). It's wonderful to have some cats to cuddle up to when it is cold.

I have two postcards for your this morning. They are both from Germany and have the same stamp on them, and they have the same subject matter: they are both paintings of a lady that is reading.

This first colourful one is (you might have guessed it) by Vincent van Gogh. It is entitled 'The Novel Reader', 1888.

I found this little bit of interesting info about this painting and women reading books:
"Particularly noteworthy here is the book in the woman's hands. To a viewer of our time it seems innocuous, but a viewer of Vincent's day would instantly identify the book as a "modern" novel, typically published as yellow-covered paperbacks. Books are a recurring motif in van Gogh's work; often he depicts the novels that he enjoyed so much, by authors like Zola or the Goncourts. But such novels were acceptable reading for a man -- not for a woman. Vincent differed from most men of his time in believing women *should* read modern novels, so they themselves could be modern in thinking and worldview. As art historian Judy Sund* says it, for "this imagined female...[to be] reading a yellow book (i.e. a modern novel) with wide-eyed attention reflects the artist's conviction that everyone should read, and suggests anew that his conception of the ideal woman included a devotion to the modern fiction that was modelled on his own" ("Favoured Fictions," p. 260). Vincent's surviving letters to his sister Wil include many reading recommendations. In the letter mentioning "La Liseuse de Romans," he says, "It is a very good thing that you have at last started to read Au Bonheur des Dames" [a novel by Emile Zola about a girl working in a Parisian department store]. We can contrast Vincent's attitude with his brother Theo, who says in a letter to a female acquaintance (T1a), "...so many fine things are written that one can hardly discuss, at least with ladies. Zola, Guy de Maupassant and others will go on belonging to the forbidden fruits for a long time to come." One wonders what he thought of Vincent's encouraging Wil to read exactly those books!"

(Sherami Bundrick)

The second postcard is a painting by a Scottish painter Alexander Mann (1853-1908), called 'Portrait of Helen Gow'. 

I've not been able to find out much about this painter, just a few lines in Wikipedia:

His travels also covered Europe and the Americas. A visit to Venice in 1884 was Alexander's first artistic venture beyond Britain and the immediate environs of Paris; this was followed by a voyage to the Caribbean and the Southern States of America, perhaps inspired by American artist friend in Paris. From 1890 to 1892 he lived with his family in Tangiers. Later he travelled to Madrid through Southern Spain in 1892 accompanied by John Lavery, another alumnus of the Académie Julian.

He recorded his visits and ideas for studio compositions in sketchbooks, using photography as well to assist his memory of a subject. In 1895 Mann's work was exhibited in London at the Barbican and in Dublin at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. But he preferred to "live away from the haunts of other artists" because the relative prosperity which he owed to his family made it unnecessary to pay much attention to exhibition institutions, patrons and dealers.

He seemed well to do. Anyway, I like this painting a lot although I don't know how he can call it a portrait if her face is hardly visible....

Then there's the stamp:

It features the Rat Catcher of Hameln. I grew up with this story but for those of you who live outside Europe, here is the plot (from Wikipedia):
In 1284, while the town of Hamelin was suffering from a rat infestation, a piper dressed in multicolored ("pied") clothing appeared, claiming to be a rat-catcher. He promised the mayor a solution to their problem with the rats. The mayor, in turn, promised to pay him for the removal of the rats (according to some versions of the story, the promised sum was 1,000 guilders). The piper accepted and played his pipe to lure the rats into the Weser River, where they all drowned.[4]

Despite the piper's success, the mayor reneged on his promise and refused to pay him the full sum (reputedly reduced to a sum of 50 guilders) even going so far as to blame the piper for bringing the rats himself in an extortion attempt. Enraged, the piper stormed out of the town, vowing to return later to take revenge. On Saint John and Paul's day, while the adults were in church, the piper returned dressed in green like a hunter and playing his pipe. In so doing, he attracted the town's children. One hundred and thirty children followed him out of town and into a cave and were never seen again. Depending on the version, at most three children remained behind: one was lame and could not follow quickly enough, the second was deaf and therefore could not hear the music, and the last was blind and therefore unable to see where he was going. These three informed the villagers of what had happened when they came out from church.[4]

The earliest known record of this story is from the town of Hamelin itself, depicted in a stained glass window created for the church of Hamelin, which dates to around 1300. Although the church was destroyed in 1660, several written accounts of the tale have survived.

This window is generally considered to have been created in memory of a tragic historical event for the town. Also, Hamelin town records apparently start with this event. The earliest written record is from the town chronicles in an entry from 1384 which reportedly states: "It is 100 years since our children left."

Well, that was Hamelin. What has been happening here with me? I'm still home alone, as hubby is still in hospital. I miss him terribly, although I can manage fine on my own. I just miss him to be around. We chat several times a day on FaceTime, but he ran out of data over the weekend, so we were talking over the phone, old fashionedly. Since yesterday he has been able to buy another 35 Gb.

He told me he had gone (By ambulance) to Granada for a scan. 
Looking at the machine, it looks like an MRI scan. Hubby calls it a space portal (He's into science fiction).
We have now got a date for surgery: Friday 26th at 9 am. In the meantime he is not given much to eat. (As they will be taking away part of his colon). Some clear broth and Ensures (meal replacing drinks):

His room mate took pity on him and gave him his bread roll. (Not really allowed).

The next photo gives me much pleasure. My amaryllis has now finished flowering and is growing a second shoot! How wonderful is that!

I'm still knitting. I am on my second pair of socks for hubby. I ordered some bamboo circular needles as I saw ladies in many instruction videos use these bamboo needles:
But they were not a success. I was using the smaller/thinner ones as I am knitting socks. (2.5mm), but the plastic cord wouldn't move back inside the stitches as that cord was just as thick as the needle and it just didn't work. I am a bit disappointed. They are probably OK with thicker yarns. Has anyone have any experience with these type of needles?

I have done a lot of walking this week. A few times I have gone out with my friend. We walk and then sit down somewhere and pray.

What a privilege to have a praying friend!
The almond trees are in blossom and that is always spectacular. 

Did you spot the partridge in the above picture? 

Some trees have pink blossom and some white. These seem to be all white.

The older trees flower first I have been told.

The reservoir is very low. We have had a drought for many years now.

We saw this sign for a 'trail', and have made a mental note to do this one one day.

Close up of the blossom in all their glory.

As today is T for Tuesday, I want to add a qualifier. I do cook for myself and the other day I had some cooked chicken breast with a very spicy spice rub. I decided to make tortillas. I had some home made tortilla dough in the freezer, but it came out all crumbly when defrosted. I then had to go the the corner shop and buy some ready made. They are wheat tortillas, not corn, but they were nice nevertheless.

That was a bit about my week. I wish everyone a great T-Day! (There will be all sorts of drinks and drink references, so I'll have to be careful not to drink too much)
Stay safe,


  1. Beautiful postcards this week. I oved reading about these artists, especially about the yellow covered novels in the Van Gogh write up. And the Rat Catcher story I have always heard of as the Pied Piper and that he was leading away the rats that carried the plague. It's fun to see the differences in the stories. I love bamboo needs like that. The trick is to keep your stitches loose. I've never used them for socks though as the stitches are so tiny, but they do work great with heavier yarns. Beautiful photos from your walks. And wishing your hubby good luck with his surgery and that he can get home to you as soon as possible. It sure does sounds like you are surviving OK, but I bet you'll be glad when he is home and recovered. Happy T day. Hugs-Erika

  2. GOod to hear that you are holding up while your husband is in such a bad place. I hope his surgery is a success and that he can come home quickly.

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  3. Beautiful postcards.
    Too bad about those knitting needles- I 've seen them but know nothing else as I don't knit.
    So sorry about your dear hubby. Sounds like he's getting very good care and hopefully will be home soon and feeling much, much better. Glad you are able to get out and walk with a friend. Sending prayers for your hubby. Happy T day!

  4. I really enjoyed both postcards, but I love anything by Van Gogh. I loved the lace on the other one. So well painted. And the pied piper stamp was lovely, too. I knew that story sounded so familiar.

    I saw the needles on Friday and wondered if they would hold up. I hope they will work better with thicker wool.

    I certainly hope Graham gets better after his operation. He's already been through so very much.

    Beautiful almond trees. Their blossoms are so fragile and lovely. Looks like there will be a great crop this year, at least.

    Your meal sounds great and I much prefer flour tortillas to corn any day. Thanks for sharing your postcards, updates on your husband's health, your walks with your friend, and your tortillas and wine/water with us for T this Tuesday. I love that glass, too.

  5. And again... what did I learn at school?" Nothing? I never knew van Gogh was that modern-thinking!
    Thank you for doing a much better job than the teachers I had!
    Cool stamp - how come my postie seems to not have anything but that flower?!
    Oh, so sorry about your Hubby. Food is the only thing to look forward to in hospitals...
    Fingers crossed the op turns out well!!!
    Yay for the amaryllis - a good sign.
    Awww, blossoms already, how beautiful!
    Your dish looks very yummy, happy T-day and hugs!

  6. Lisca, lovely photos of your walk, looks beautiful, pleased that you are coping alone, hope your Hubby gets home soon after his op.
    We used to live inGermany and would always take our visitors to Hameln where they performed every Sunday morning the Pied Piper taking the children to the river, everyone loved it as we’d all read the story as children.
    Happy T Day, Jan x

  7. So glad to hear that your hubby has his surgery planned and that you are in touch with him often 😁. It sounds like you are doing ok, I think I'd find it hard being by myself. Your walk looks wonderful, I loved seeing all the scenery. Wishing both you and your hubby well! Take care and Happy T Day wishes! Hugs, Jo x

  8. Sorry your husband is in hospital, hope the OP goes well! Glad you are managing on your own and have good friends. Take care, happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

  9. I'm also a science fiction fan, so I got a kick out of "space portal" :) I hope his surgery goes well and that he has an uncomplicated and speedy recovery. Your blossoms are a prelude of Spring for me, lovely to see. My plan for supper is a chicken tortilla, so your photo is making me hungry for supper already lol Happy T Tuesday!

  10. I loved the art on your postcards and that the theme was woman reading. I enjoyed the information that went along with the paintings. And a fun stamp. Yes, I have heard of the Piped piper.
    Sorry to hear that your hubby is still in the hospital but such great news that he will have surgery and be returning soon. I will be praying. That meal does not look appetizing at all. I bet he is ready to be done with it all.
    Your landscapes are beautiful and look like the perfect place to pray. I think that nature is one of those things that God uses to awe us with his greatness and majesty. How wonderful that you and your friend have a spot to go and pray together.
    Also, you asked about bagels vs. donuts. Our donuts are more cake-like in texture, sweet, deep fried, usually have a frosting/glaze topping and can have some kind of filling (cream or jelly). Bagels on the other hand are

  11. Sorry, I must have pushed publish before finishing my comment. Bagels are denser, more bread-like and not sweet. We top them with butter, jelly, cream cheese or peanut butter. They are delicious in place of sandwich bread for sandwiches.
    Happy Tea Day,

  12. I love the reading ladies! I used to be able to recite hugs chunks of 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' - probably still could if I reminded myself.
    I hope that hubby is soon home with you - pleased you are getting out for walks -the blossom looks amazing! Happy T Day, Chrisx

  13. The postcards are beautiful especially the beaded lace on the dress the 2nd lady is wearing. Yup, pay the piper is the lesson learned from the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I hope your husband is feeling and doing better and will be home soon. Thank you for sharing the lovely almond blossoms. I wish the snow outside my window looked as beautiful as the white blossoms. I wouldn't whine (winge) so much. Take care and Happy T Day

  14. You have such interesting post cards. I have a small collection from over the years. Most are places, mailed by people on vacation etc. I will have to look at the stamps. LOL yours are really fun to hear about. I have been missing for a month , so didn’t know your hubby was in the hospital. I don’t know the history, but just as encouragement will say over 15 years ago they took a third of my hubby’s colon. He is doing great. He had cancer, but they got it all; he didn’t even have to have chemo afterwards. I will hope and pray everything goes as well for your hubby. Glad you have a friend to walk and pray with. Hugs.

  15. Hi Lisca, the bread recipe is online at the end of this post here, hope you like it :-)

  16. I am glad to know that your husband is being well cared for. Sending healing energy. Beautiful post cards with nice information. The photos are excellent too. Hang in there, all will be fine.

  17. Good morning Lisca, I always enjoy your postcards and stamps and I appreciate the history-thank you for that.
    I am sorry your husband is still in the hospital but sounds like he is in very good care. The photos are beautiful I didn't spot the partridge on first look but am going back to look for him.
    Have a good rest of your week-prayers for your husband hugs Kathy (ps right now I am not participating in T for awhile-needed a break as it was becoming stressful for me-but I still love my found friends from T)

    1. I found him-right in front-I was looking for him in the grasses haha