with love from Niagara Falls (1976)

14 from Niagara with love

Dear Hilary, Canada is just terrific and I only wish that you could be here to share it. On Tuesday, 9th, we went to Niagara Falls and went in a boat right up to the base, which was really incredible! I can’t tell you how sorry I am to have stopped writing to you and would be overjoyed to start again. Lots of love Julian x

This post card from the amazing Niagara Falls is post marked ‘Campbellville 16 Aug 1976’

There are two post marks spoiling the picture on the front; one detailing the arrival of the card in the UK ‘Portsmouth & Southsea 21 Aug 1976’ (some five days after leaving Canada) and the other promoting the Portsmouth Navy Days on the Bank Holiday weekend of 28th, 29th & 30th August 1976

The stamp on this card is quite unusual – it is commemorating the Canadian Para Olympics which were held earlier in August 1976 and were the 5th Para Olympics, where amputees and visually impaired athletes competed for the first time.  The only stamp produced by Canada to mark this event was 20 cents and features a mixed-media painting of an archer by Tom Bjarnason.

Julian lived round the corner from the first house I can remember.  Our mums were friends and would often take us to the park. When we moved back to the area the friendship was rekindled. Julian went away to boarding school and we would write to each other regularly. Being fickle teenagers, sometimes we were romantic, other times each of us pursued love interests elsewhere. The wording on this card suggests it was sent to re-ignite romance! I have lost touch with Julian, but our mums are still in touch. I was lucky enough to see Niagara Falls when I was visiting the Canadian boyfriend some years later.

with love from Old Harry Rocks, Dorset (1983)

13 Old Harry

Dear Hilary, Arrived safely after 3 hrs on the train due to Rail diversion.  The cottage is really gordeous situated in the most prettiest countryside I’ve ever seen – went to Swanage on Monday – Corfe Castle and Durdle Door yesterday – Blue Pool and Lulworth Cove tomorrow – off to Dorchester today – thanks for a superb party – I really did enjoy myself – I’m having a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday.  Everything is fine.  See you soon lots of love Anne

Many of the highlights of Dorset are mentioned here, in what sounds like a busy week.  The weather was obviously good, for November, as it isn’t mentioned!  It is interesting to read Anne’s description of the countryside since she came from Cornwall, which is generally reckoned to be one of the most beautiful counties in the UK.

The Old Harry headland pictured and Studland Beach from which it projects are both protected by the National Trust, so will remain unspoilt for generations to come. They are also part of the South West Coast Path which starts at Studland and finishes at Minehead, Somerset.

The postmark date is Bournemouth & Poole, 30 Nov 1983 and the stamp is a second class 12½p for a small postcard.   Despite not including the now obligatory post code, the card was still delivered.

The other postmark says ‘Let’s get the most from our Post  Royal Mail: Bournemouth Area’

The party that she refers to was for my birthday.

I met Anne when I was in Norway, we were both working as children’s nannies/mothers’ help.  We were both away from home for the first time and formed the instant bond that comes when you’re sharing an intense experience.  Our friendship continued once we were back in the UK; Anne was my maid of honour when I married and we visited each other when we could.  Young families are demanding and we both felt the strain; Anne turned to me in a moment of need; I was less sympathetic than I could have been; I disagreed with her choices and was not diplomatic.  As a result we (or more honestly ‘I’) could not maintain the friendship or recover the closeness that we’d had in Norway.  I have lost touch with Anne.


with love from Woodseaves Cutting, Shropshire Union Canal (1980)

With love from Woodseaves Cutting

2/7/80 Dear Hilary, Well here I am cruising down the canals.  It is really good fun.  The weather for the first couple of days was awful but today it has been really sunny and I am writing this while sunbathing on deck.  I have been having a go at driving but I am not very good at it.  Penny finds it easy, it’s annoying, she’s doing very well.  I have taken loads of photos I hope they come out good.  Unfortunately we can’t go into Wales because part of the Llangollen Canal has been closed.  We are going into Shropshire instead.  The scenery is lovely.  We have been investigating lots of small villages and old shops.  The locks are very tiring especially when there are about 15 locks all in a row like yesterday.  The barge is really super and much bigger than I thought it would be.  Must go now, lock coming up Janet – x

A postcard from my teenage years – the postmark date is 3 July 1980.   In the years since leaving my original junior school Janet was a dedicated, detailed card and letter writer.

The other postmark says ‘Be properly addressed Post Code It’.  Some six years after post codes became a requirement on all addresses, the post office is still reminding us; eventually it will be the SatNav that forces the British Public to embrace post codes!

In 1980 a second class stamp for a ‘small’ postcard was 10p, which is equivalent to 44p in 2015

Photo’s of holidays were savoured after the event in those days – there was nothing better than developing a roll of film three or four weeks, or sometimes a couple of months, later and reliving the entire trip in a mere 24 or 36 shots.

Canal holidays became very popular during the 1980’s as many were restored to their former glory by British Waterways and volunteers.  What were once working waterways became part of the growing leisure industry offering the opportunity to experience a slower pace of life – negotiating locks is a time consuming process.  The Llangollen Canal, mentioned, was part of this re-branding and restoration.

Janet and I were at infant school together, and became friends at junior school.  We have stayed in touch via cards, letters, the odd visit and latterly emails.  We met up a few years ago when we were both approaching fifty – apparently we both still look the same.  Janet recently discovered an old photo of her, me, Ida and Ida’s sister all round for tea at her house, some time in the early 1970’s The photo has now been scanned and saved digitally for evermore.

with love from The Marina, Ramsgate (1982)

With love from Ramsgate

Dear Hilary, Hope the journey home wasn’t too slow and that your keeping well.  With mum at the moment.  She is well and pleased to have me for the week.  Looking for a portable T.V. for her at the moment.  Having a lazy time and the weather is still very good.  See you soon love to family Love Gill xxx

A classic view of the Kent harbour town of Ramsgate, which still looks much the same today.

The postmark date is 4 Aug 1982. The other postmark is advising us to ‘Catch the sun in THANET Broadstairs Margate Ramsgate’ – popular seaside destinations, depending on your point of view.

I first met Gill in 1977 at a ‘street party’ organised by the families in my road to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11.  Gill was a young friend of our neighbours’ who regularly came to stay with them, and as we were the same age we struck up a friendship – both staying conscientiously in touch via letter.  This card was sent just after I had seen her in London, where I had visited her on my return from Norway.  Living in her father’s flat in London and having a full time job in London she seemed to me to be the height of sophistication – I was still trying to decide what to do with my life.  Gill has been a loyal correspondent and we are still in touch, via cards, email and the odd phone call,  although it is now many years since we actually met up.