Tuesday 30 April 2024

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 30 April 2024 - T for Louisiana, Orange , Oz and a printer.

Hello lovely peeps,

Here we are again on Tuesday and visiting the T-Party hosted by Elizabeth and Bluebeard. All is well here and it's raining today!! (Monday) and it's cold and I have the heating on! Incredible. I have already put all my winter clothes away because we've had nearly a month of summer. Crazy. 

On Friday I went to the post office to collect my mail and there were six postcards among the bills. And also last week I received my new printer/scanner, so I can now scan my cards again, rather than photograph them with my phone.  So here is today's postcard:

It comes from the USA of course and it is a Lou Paper design card, which I like a lot. I like it because it teaches me about a place I don't know in a fun way.

One of the images  (top right) is The Sazerac:

The Sazerac is a local variation of a cognac or whiskey cocktail originally from New Orleans, named for the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy that served as its original main ingredient. Wikipedia
Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz Rye whiskey or Cognac, 1/4 oz Absinthe, One sugar cube, Three dashes Peychaud's Bitters.

Another picture on the postcard is that of a Louisiana beignet. 

What is a beignet? To put it simply, beignets are square shaped pieces of dough that are deep fried and generously sprinkled with confectioners sugar. They’re best served hot and are best paired with a cup of coffee, or café au lait!

Now I'm beginning to get hungry. There is more food though. I can see gumbo!

Gumbo is a stew that is popular in the U.S. state of Louisiana, and is the official state cuisine. Gumbo consists primarily of a strongly flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the Creole "holy trinity" – celery, bell peppers, and onions. Wikipedia

I see okra and chili peppers on the card. And then the 'pièce de la resistance' is the crayfish. I'm not familiar with the crayfish but it looks a lot like a lobster.
Pioneer woman writes:
And what exactly are these creatures that look like miniature lobsters? Also referred to as crawdads, crayfish, or mudbugs, crawfish aren't fish at all—they're crustaceans that live in fresh water, like rivers and marshes. Slightly sweet, they taste like a cross between their cousins, lobster and shrimp.

I think I need to visit Louisiana, as it seems they eat well.

What else can I tell you about this past week. I've been playing with my new printer/scanner. It's a bit pathetic that I can get excited about a new printer. But it prints on both sides so when I print out a recipe for instance, I get the recipe on one piece of paper in stead of two (saving a few trees heehee). 
It has huge ink reservoirs so no more empty cartridges. It prints via wifi from all my devices and scans like a dream (straight to my laptop). I'm a happy bunny.

My friend from England, who came to stay, left me a present in the room so when I went in there to clean the room I found a parcel. It contained this fun tea towel and a thank-you card:
It is Australian with all the typical Aussie things on it (She had recently visited Oz).

On the 27th of April it was the King's Birthday in the Netherlands. An important fun occasion which is televised, so I watched Dutch television and was glued to the screen all morning on Saturday:
Everybody dressed in orange. (I've just noticed that my red coffee mug is just about visible on the little glass table).

I've just taken a picture out of the window: There is snow on the mountain! (Can you see it?)

Brrrr, it's cold and I have the stove lit.

I'm leaving you with an extraordinary beehive. I found it on the Internet:

 🐝This photo was taken by the owner of a hive. The beekeeper forgot to put the frames in which the bees collect honey, and the bees built their own architecture from the honeycomb, which takes into account natural ventilation, so that the air can flow freely and maintain a stable temperature. This is the heart!🐝

Isn't it amazing!

Happy T-Day to all (My T-Party drink is The Sazerac cocktail on the postcard),



Friday 26 April 2024

A Postcard a Day - Friday 26 April 2024 - Friday Smiles

 Hello lovely girls,

Again it's Friday and I want to look back on all the things that made me smile this week. 

I'm having problems with the format of this post. There is a black line going through everything, and I can't seem to get rid of it. I have already written this twice, and I hope you can't see it, but if you do, one black line is acceptable, I suppose.

But first let me show you a postcard that arrived on Tuesday:

I love turtles and tortoises. For me they are a symbol
of longevity and wisdom. If only they could talk! The card comes from the USA, a lady called Sharon who lives in Herndon, Virginia sent it.

On the card are some 'factoids' about the animals. One of them reads: "The Chinese leather turtle pees through its mouth."(!)  And: "Turtle shells are made of different bones, all connected together and they can feel through their shells!". Well, I didn't know that! 

Discover Magazine writes: The Chinese soft-shelled turtle looks like someone glued the snout of a pig onto the face of a fish, with the texture of a scrotum for good measure. But its bizarre appearance pales in comparison to an even more bizarre, and newly discovered, habit: it expels waste through its mouth. When the turtle breaks down proteins in its liver, it ends up with an abundance of nitrogen, which it expels from its body in the form of urea. Humans are the same—we get rid of urea in the form of urine, via our kidneys. But the soft-shelled turtle has an altogether different route. It’s well-adapted to life in the water, and lives in salty swamps and marshes. But Yuen Ip from the National University of Singapore noticed that when the turtle emerges from water, or is stranded on land during dry spells, it will plunge its head into puddles. While submerged, it rhythmically expands and contracts its mouth. Ip found that the turtle gets rid of most of its urea through its mouth rather than its kidneys, via gill-like studs in its mouth. It can breathe and get rid of waste through the same structures.

The stamp is the American Forever stamp with the flowers:
In this case it's an orange gerbera daisy. I love the orange ones as orange is the Dutch national colour. (And I'm Dutch)

This past weekend I spent in Úbeda and Baeza, two historical towns an hour and a half drive north from here. I went with a group of people from the local photo club.

I love old doors and there were doors galore!

Beautiful churches and palaces too. The photo below is in a church where one of the floats from Easter is still on display:
Look at all the splendour and opulence:
In one sense it's beautiful, and on the other hand if I was a poor man going to this church, it would put me off religion for life.

Ironwork is one of the  things these towns are famous for. 
And this is 'just' a lamp post...

One of the things I loved best was the ancient synagogue. 
It was discovered when a hairdresser wanted to modernize the salon and they discovered the synagogue in 2007. The synagogue dates from before the 14th century.
One part would have been the rabbi's living quarters,
and in another, larger room would have been the synagogue:
The women were allowed to follow the rituals from a screened gallery:

In the basement there was a bathing place for ritual cleansing (Mikveh):
It is a hole with steps dug out from the rock where the water springs naturally and continually. (The building is called Synagogue of Water)

I really enjoyed visiting this synagogue and learning about the Jewish community in times before the Christian Spanish kings conquered Andalucia. (Granada was the last to surrender in 1492).

All in all we had a great time, ate lovely meals and took many photos.

That is all from me today. Of course there will be a few funnies at the end for you to have a giggle.

Have a lovely weekend,
Keep smiling,

De-luxe broom: Not suitable for flying!

Today's wifi password can be unlocked by texting a photo of a clean kitchen to mom. Said photograph MUST contain one box of crackers on the counter by the stove (to prevent re-using any previous photos).
Thank you for playing.
May the odds be ever in your favor,
love, Mom.

  • NEWI

Tuesday 23 April 2024

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 23 April 2024 - T for Chinese wisdom and Spanish architecture

 Hello lovely peeps,

How are you all?  It's Monday and I'm recovering from a busy sightseeing weekend in Úbeda and Baeza. More about that later. Let me show you my postcard, which comes to me from Hongkong:

It is mural number 103 in the Mogao grotto in Dunhuang.

The Epoch Times writes:
Dunhuang (敦煌)was the gateway to the Silk Road and located in the deserts of Gansu Province in China, far away from the bustling cities of the coast. It made a prefecture in 117 BC by Emperor Hanwu (漢武帝), and was a major point of interchange between China and the outside world during the Han and Tang dynasties.

The caves that Dunhuang are famous for are filled with one of the most extensive and exquisite collection of Buddhist paintings and sculptures in the world. They hold more than two thousand painted statues. The most famous cave in Dunhuang is called Mogao Grottoes. It contains priceless paintings, sculptures, some 50,000 Buddhist scriptures, historical documents, textiles, and other relics that first stunned the world in the early 1900s. The walls of the Mogao Caves include murals that together cover more than 45,000 square meters.

This particular one depicts Vimalakirti.

Vimalakirti was an enlightened lay disciple of the Buddha who, according to an early Mahayanist sutra named after him, once engaged in an equal debate with Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Here he is shown holding a fan, and leaning forward confidently in the debate.

The line drawing in this painting is painstaking, showing even the individual hairs of his beard, yet vigorous and full of character.

My postcard was posted way back in 2021 and must have fallen out the the ordered pile. It doesn't matter. 

The stamps are cute:

The stamp on the right represents 200 years YWCA.

From ywca.org.hk website: 2020 Marks the centenary of HKYWCA. Hongkong Post will issue the“Centenary of Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association” Commemorative Stamps, a set of 4 stamps, tomorrow (10 March), on the founding day of the Association to mark the momentous occasion.

The set of four stamps uses image of females at different ages to represent four main services of the Association, including women and family services, youth and community services, education and employment services, and elderly services. HKYWCA focused on serving women in need in its early days, and has now developed into a diversified social service organisation. Other than women-centred projects, the Association also offers a wide range of services for people at different ages and of different genders.

The left-hand stamp:

Info from the Paleophilatelie.eu website: Hong Kong is an international metropolis of skyscrapers. On the outskirts of this bustling city, however, there lies a great expanse of countryside with opulent bio-diversity and a charming natural environment. Apart from providing habitats for our myriad wildlife, this verdant countryside is also rich in rare rock formations and world-class geological landscapes. Having exceptional geological environments and a wide variety of rocks, Hong Kong enjoys spectacular terrain with high conservation and appreciation value.
To deepen public understanding of the landscape features of Hong Kong and the importance of geo-conservation, Hongkong Post issues the Hong Kong Definitive Stamps 2014, a new set of definitive stamps showcasing the distinctive landforms and landscape of Hong Kong Global Geopark of China. There are altogether 16 denominations, namely:

My stamp features Lan Kwo Shui, which is located in the Tung Ping Chau Geo-Area, and is composed mainly of sedimentary rocks dating back some 55 million years. After continuous erosion by destructive waves, the base of the vertical sea cliff gradually receded, leaving behind a narrow flat area, gently sloping and extending into the sea, called a “wave-cut platform”, which is covered in water at high tide but exposed at low tide, allowing it to be reached by foot. Lan Kwo Shui is so named because it is difficult to reach much of the time.

Enough of that! 

This weekend I joined some members of the photo club (we were 14) for an outing to Úbeda and Baeza, two historic towns a couple of hours drive north from here.
On Saturday afternoon (after a copious lunch) we visited Baeza with a hired a private guide. 
It rained!
Here are a few photos:

This sign told us that there was a protected cat community. A group of authorised volunteers feed them. They get captured, neutered and returned to the colony. In red letters is the warning (you get fined) not to feed them without authorisation, and not mistreat the animals or abandon cats into the colony. 

Most of us climbed this tower:
The views would have been lovely but for the rain.
This is Isabel, our guide. She was very nice and very knowledgable. (I am a sucker for old doors).

We had lodgings right in the centre. This was my room:

My travel companion (I drove) had the room next to me which has a connecting door.  He surprised me as I was consulting the map. 
No, no hanky panky. We're just friends and the door got locked after that.

I nearly forgot a drink for the T-Party:
Here I am with my friends having supper after a rainy day in Baeza. 

More photos on Friday. I will leave it at that for today. I have to do some shopping now as my fridge is empty.
 Happy T-Day all,


Friday 19 April 2024

A Postcard A Day - Friday 19 April 2024 - Friday Smiles


Hello lovely ladies, how are you all?  Because this blog is about the smiles of this week,  Annie didn't feel she wanted to post a blog last week. She had had some sad news. I hope you are alright Annie.

I have had a dear friend from England stay with me for a week and we have had a lovely time. More about that later. First off my postcard, which arrived today:

It comes from Russia and it shows soviet president Khrushchev visiting Hollywood in 1959, talking to Shirley Maclain. (I can spot a young Frank Sinatra on the far right.)

I found some info on Wikipedia:

Earlier in 1959, Vice President Richard Nixon visited the Soviet Union, attending a tour of the American National Exhibition in Moscow. He and Khrushchev took part in what later became known as the Kitchen Debate, in which both Nixon and Khrushchev defended their country's respective economic systems. 

In early August of that year, it was announced by President Dwight Eisenhower that Khrushchev was invited to visit the United States, and did so that September, spending thirteen days in the country.

Nina Khrushchev, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the White House

The Soviet premier constantly touted Soviet superiority to L.A. during his tour of the city. And on the fifth day, the cantankerous communist visited Hollywood. There, things only got weirder.

Twentieth Century Fox had invited Khrushchev to watch the filming of Can-Can, a risqué Broadway musical set among the dance hall girls of fin de siècle Paris, and he had accepted. It was an astounding feat: a Hollywood studio had persuaded the communist dictator of the world's largest nation to appear in a shameless publicity stunt for a second-rate musical.

Notable American actors such as Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe met Khrushchev. Although Khrushchev was supposed to visit Disneyland on 19 September, the visit was canceled for security reasons, which added to his anger.

While visiting a new research campus for the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in San Jose, Khrushchev seemed to express little interest in the computer technology, but rather the self-service cafeteria, which he introduced in the USSR upon return to Moscow.

The stamps are large and beautiful:

I used Google Translate to figure out what the large stamp represents. As you can see, it translates as Academic song and dance ensemble of the national guards of the Russian Federation 50 years.

The Rosgvardia Academic Song and Dance Ensemble, formerly known as the MVD Ensemble, is an official academic ensemble of the National Guard of Russia (Rosgvardia) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (Russian MVD). Established in 1939, the ensemble carries on the tradition of choirs and ballets of the Soviet Red Army, with singers, musicians and dancers.

Since the 1980s, The Ensemble MVD has performed on all continents after modernizing their repertoire. Ensemble MVD has realized more than seven thousand performances in several languages, and more than 20 million viewers worldwide. In this way, Ensemble MVD met Pope John Paul II in Rome, or opening the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

The smaller stamp features a tram:
It's a stamp from 2022.

Let me show you a few photos from when my friend was here.
I went to the fish monger to buy some fish.
So much fresh fish!
I usually stick to large fish like cod or swordfish or salmon.
I don't really know how to cook those little ones. Besides, I'm always afraid of bones.

We went to a restaurant to have lunch and in the display cabinet of gifts, there were these black dolls. 

My friend has close ties with Uganda having been involved in an orphanage and school there for 27 years, so she wanted to buy some dolls. No, she didn't buy them all. In the end she took home two of them. Aren't they gorgeous.
Here we are posing in the 'campo', with my village (and my house) visible in the background. 

That is it from me today. Of course I will put some funnies at the end for you to have some extra smiles.

Have a lovely weekend,