Saturday, 14 December 2019

How to buy a valid Swiss passport.

Just search on eBay
This passport is still valid. It expires in 2028. 
Now what kind of person would pay £480 to acquire a valid Swiss 
passport do you think?

eBay say that all official documents for sale on their site must be at 
least twenty years expired but when I brought this to their attention with 
three days' notice they failed to remove it. 

But then, had they done so, they would not have earned £48 would they?

Friday, 22 November 2019

A very big Penny Black


No, I am not talking about a large lady called Penelope Black. Those of you who collected postage stamps in your youth will all know what a Penny Black is. It was the invention of Rowland Hill. 

He revised the complicated, inefficient and expensive postal system in Britain and introduced a standard letter charge of one penny throughout the land. The black one penny postage stamp was stuck on your letter to prove that you had paid the fee. It was the world's first adhesive postage stamp and was introduced in 1840.

The system was clever and innovative but the stamp itself had one very serious flaw. It was black. When the Post Office endorsed an inked stamp on it to cancel it after use, the cancellation was difficult to see and this tempted naughty people to try to use the stamps more than once. Thus, the following year the stamp's colour was changed to red and it became known as... the Penny Red.
















I have just given a talk in Kidderminster Town Hall and standing outside the  venue is this statue to Rowland Hill, who was born in the town. What is interesting is that the subscriptions came from all over the world to recognise the revolutionary postal system that he had put in place. Even today, I marvel at the tremendous value of a postage stamp. I can write a letter, stick a stamp on it, and the Royal Mail will carry it hundreds of miles and deliver it to the address I have given them. To do that myself would cost me hundreds of pounds and I acquire this service for a fee measured in pennies.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

How can I stop my tomatoes from growing?




We are in November. 

Don't they realise? 

They are not in a greenhouse and they insist on climbing inexorably towards the roof of my house, flowering still and fruiting. 

Perhaps I can hope for a really good frost to kill them off.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Google Review Jaybod, Neilson lied to you.

Jaybod, you wanted to stay at the Hotel Derby in Sauze d'Oulx, Italy but were unable to and so you posted an adverse review (score 1) on Google.

'Never got to stay with them as Neilson called us to say Hotel Derby have cancelled their contract with Neilson and are not honouring existing bookings.'

 Leaving aside the morality of commenting on a hotel in which you have not stayed, it is such a pity that you allowed yourself to be misled by the tour operator, Neilson.
Neilson lied to you.
After the collapse of Thomas Cook, Neilson found themselves short of airline seats and cancelled the contracts with about half their ski hotels. 

The Hotel Derby, which is utterly innocent in this affair, is still very much in business and if you wish to stay with them you can book now by clicking the link above which will take you to Bookings.com

Sunday, 20 October 2019

You can polish your furniture in any country.

You can polish your furniture in any country, can't you?
Why do the people of King's Lynn insist on doing it in the UK?

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no.40

Christmas with Mum and Dad
Continuing the series of passport portraits in my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
Ethel Erichsen is a 38 yr, old Danish lady living in Haderslev, Denmark. The Christian name, Ethel, does not sound very Scandinavian and this is because Ethel was born in England. 

It is now November 1945. The German occupation of Denmark is over and life is very slowly getting back to normal. Ethel obtains a Danish passport and a visa allowing her to leave Denmark for one month. She gets a British visa from the consulate in Copenhagen which is issued to her for a single visit on the basis of her 'British Parentage'. She leaves the port of Esbjerg on 15th December 1945 and her ship docks at Harwich on the 17th. 
Travelling on a Danish passport, despite her British parentage, makes her an alien and, upon arrival, she is obliged to register her presence at the local police station. She spends the first Christmas with her family since the outbreak of the war and does not leave the UK until 20th February 1946, having changed £6, 5/- into Danish currency at the National Westminster Bank before embarkation. She arrives at Esbjerg two days later, meaning that she has overreached her Danish exit permission by one month but no official sanctions appear to have been levied. I think that was understandable in the circumstances.