with love from Cumbria (2015)

With love from Keswick (2015)

Tuesday. Bowness by Bus Dear Hilary, Simon, Tallulah & Gus, Another beautiful day & we’ve come by bus to Bowness. It’s lovely with a busy ‘waterfront’ & we are going back to Ambleside later on a big steamer. Can’t remember when I last went on a steamer – on the Thames I guess. Counting my blessings a lot. Hope all is well with you all. Love A&T xxxx

The picture is of Surprise View, probably the most iconic view of the Lake District and A&T are lucky enough to be enjoying some good weather during their visit to the area.

The card is post marked ‘LANCASHIRE 13 OCT 2015’ and also carries the timely reminder to ‘REMEMBER TO USE THE POSTCODE’ – amazingly this is now four decades after postcodes became mandatory in the UK. Do we really still need reminding?

A&T are my parents, but because the card is to all of us and we all call them different things (mum&dad, A&T, Nan&Grandpa) my Mum has chosen the A&T moniker on this occasion.  As a child I enjoyed many family holidays in Cumbria, and this card brings back happy memories: long summer days, camping, sailing, messing about in streams, climbing mountains… As I mentioned last timeI feel very lucky to have both my own parents still alive and my in-laws, healthy and happily married – in both cases for 58 years! 

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with love from Chateaulin, France (1992)

With love from Chateaulin, France 1992

Dear Hilary & Simon, We have come 25 mls up the river to Aulne from Brest to Chateaulin a lovely town – All is well though rather wet. Our wedding at Plougerneau was a shambles! Lots of motoring. Love to you all Mum and Dad

A status update containing a tantalising hint at a much more interesting back story too long to include on the postcard!  There is, however, room for a brief comment on the weather.

The card carries a 2 franc 50 centime stamp and is postmarked ‘CHATEAULIN 18H 24-8-1992 SUD-FINISTERE’.  There is a further postmark promoting the area as a ‘Carrefour Touristique’ or tourist hub and a ‘green holiday resort’. This postmark also includes a map (which could be anywhere) and a picture of the town with its, no doubt famous, bridge. In addition, the postmark mentions the ‘Circuit de l’Aulne’ cycle race as well as ‘Pèche au Saumon’ salmon fishing.  What a wealth of information contained within a space that is 2 inches by 1 inch!

The front of the card is spoiled by the UK postmark which is dated Chard 27th August 1992, presumably the sorting office for mail from France.  The old favourite ‘Be properly addressed’ and ‘POSTCODE IT’ is also there – nearly two decades after postcodes became mandatory!

This ‘Mum and Dad’ are my in-laws, and the card is written by Dad.  Over the years they have enjoyed many holidays in France and have a great number of friends there who they continue to visit regularly. I feel very lucky to have both my in-laws and my own parents still alive, healthy and happily married – in both cases for 58 years! 

With love from Twickenham (1983)

With love from Twickenham  1983

31.7.83 Dear Hilary, Hope you are well and are everything is working out for you. Everybody is well here and celebrating dads ….. birthday. Jim & I are still buying are house & once its through you must come for an overnight Hope to here from you soon. Love Gill. Love to Family

The copyrighted (1977 Millimetre Limited) design on the front of this card has a Christmas feel to it and this combined with the Christmas stamp suggests that this might have been a December communication.  However, the card is dated 31.7.83 and postmarked ‘TWICKENHAM 2pm 1 AUG 1983’ It also carries the old favourite ‘Be properly addressed POSTCODE IT’ and, indeed, this card still arrived despite not carrying the postcode – nine years after they became a required part of all addresses!

Status updates: The big news about her first house purchase is thoughtfully contained to just the one line. It was probably her Dad’s 50th – an age so great (when you’re in your early twenties) that it couldn’t be spoken aloud!

Gill was, and continues to be, very good at the quick ‘keep in touch’ note, although these days it’s generally by email 🙂 I was back home after a period of travelling and had probably mentioned in a letter that I didn’t know what I would be doing next (or for the rest of my life!) career wise – hence her kind words at the top. 

with love from the Texel, Netherlands (1995)

With love from Texel 1995

Dear Hilary & Simon! We’re spending our holiday on the dutch island Texel this year and had two weeks with a lot of sunshine at the North Sea – very relaxing! Hope everything is allright with you and we’ll hear from each other soon! Yours Paul & Claudia

There is a little sketch of a seagull at the top of this card, which at first glance looks printed on but is in fact drawn by Claudia – look even closer and you’ll see the seagull relieving himself, perhaps this is the only hazard to be found on the peaceful island of Texel?

The postmark reads ‘HAARLEM 31 V 95’ and carries 80 cents of stamps.

Claudia and I exchanged letters and cards between Germany and the UK for many years, losing touch some time in the 1990’s.  Amazingly, in ‘parallel’ lives fashion, she recently found some old letters from me, did a quick internet search and got back in touch via this blog.  Even more amazingly, Claudia had planned a visit to London last weekend, so we met for an afternoon and caught up the last 20 years.  We got along very well, helped by her ability to speak fluent English; and as she pointed out, we already knew lots about each other as we’d always written long and detailed letters. I’m confident that we’ll continue to be good friends into the future 🙂 Happy Endings/Beginnings!