with love from Ireland (1986)

With love from Ireland

Firstly, Belated congrats. Hope you’re both enjoying plenty of bliss! Well we’re now at the end of the Irish Tour 86. We’ve seen lots of Ireland like Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and back to Dun Laoghaire. Just about every place featured overleaf I’d say. As you’d expect we’ve dabbled a bit with the Guinness and checked out lots of cousins and generally speaking had a great time. Might see you if we come down for Sunderlands’ game at Portsmouth. Lots of love Gerard and the lads on hols!

An enthusiastic status update from the Emerald Isle where ‘Gerard and the lads’ obviously enjoyed themselves ūüôā

Postmarked ‘DUN LAOGHAIRE 1.30pm 2 AUG 1986’ the card carries another, barely legible, postmark asking ‘are you on the VOTERS LIST…’

The 24p stamp features Cormac Chapel and is part of the Irish Architecture series issued between 1982 and 1990

Amazingly, this card was sent some ten years after we met on holiday as young teenagers! The card is addressed to both me and Simon and acknowledges our recent wedding; however, we did not meet up for Sunderland v Portsmouth. The good news is that I have now re-connected with¬†Gerard¬†and we have exchanged several emails. He (and his wife) still live 300 miles away, but we are thinking about planning a get together in conjunction with next season’s football fixtures ūüôā¬†

with love from Southborough, Kent (1981)

with love from Kent

Hello there its me here working far too hard in boring Kent. Just thought I’d send a post card. The journey back was o.k. The test on Monday was alright, nothing to worry about! Going home tomorrow thank God! I will be in touch in the near future. ¬†Love Gerard. xx P.S. Does this count as a letter

Similar to the other card from Southborough this one is dated earlier the same year, carrying the postmark ‘TUNBRIDGE WELLS 6.45pm 15 JAN 1981 KENT’ together with the detailed Pantiles postmark.

This card again features¬†David Salomon‘s house, which in the 1980’s was a regional conference and training centre.

Since I’ve got several cards featuring this building I’m assuming that Gerard was based there for some reason. The text suggests that he’d been to visit me and this must have been the final time that we met, although correspondence continued for several more years. To date I have not managed to reconnect with Gerard…

with love from Ibiza (1984)

with love from Ibiza

Dear Hilary, Despite missing our flight and all the sun tan peeling I’m having a great time out here with the lads. The temperature never gets below the 90’s so I’m having to drink a lot to avoid complete dehydration. The pubs sell draught Guinness and there’s millions of Irish out here so it’s like home from home and the d****s remind me of the locals in Bradford. Love Gerard x

Ever the party island this card emphasises ‘The Sun of Ibiza’ with an eye catching topless sun worshipper supported by a rather incongruous donkey. ¬†On closer inspection this is obviously a photo montage (pre Photoshop) as the various bits of sand, sea and sky do not match up!

Although there is no date or visible postmark, the 16 peseta stamp is, in 1984, commemorating 25 years of CEPT Europa (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administration).  The bridge design, common to stamps for all CEPT countries, was created by the French engraver Jacky Larrivière.

Another from the summer romancer – Gerard is still enjoying trips ‘with the lads’ and still sending me postcards some eight years after we met as teenagers on holiday! My own discomfort has forced me to asterisk a less than complimentary description of the locals on the island and the people of Bradford. These once commonplace terms are now unacceptable. Despite various social media searches I am still unable to reconnect with Gerard.

with love from Southborough, Kent (1981)

Southborough Kent

As promised a post card from sunny Kent I don’t know if you’ll even get the card I sent from France as I posted it in Tonbridge with a French stamp on, not to worry though! We had a superb time in France it was really hot and the wine was very tastey too…someone said! The work hasn’t been to bad, infact its been pretty boring…I’ll be in touch, love Gerardxxxxxxxx

Following on from the previous card this one is postmarked Tunbridge Wells (UK) 17 June 1981

The reference to Tonbridge is a classic mistake often made by those not familiar with the area; the two towns are distinct and approximately 7 miles apart.

In 1851 David Salomon was the first Jew to speak in the British Parliament. ¬†His country home dates back to the 1830’s

Royal Tunbridge Wells vs Tonbridge

Gerard was obviously keen to ensure that I received at least one post card from his trip south and across The Channel. This was just before I went to Norway for a year; sadly I cannot remember if we met up before I left; we did not meet up after my return. Despite several attempts at re-connecting with him, I have, as yet, been unable to do so…

with love from Calais (1981)

Calais 1981

Well, after a complete change of plan I made it to France. The wine and weather has been superb. The French are very strange, they don’t seem to understand somehow. Anyway, all the best for the rest of the exams see you in July love Gerard

Although this card was purchased in France and carries a French stamp, it is postmarked Tunbridge Wells (UK) 15 June 1981 from where it was presumably posted.  Amazingly it still arrived. These days it would not have been delivered; a red note from the post man comes instead, advising collection from the sorting office upon payment of the correct postage.

The other postmark is advertising The Pantiles ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Gerard and I met on holiday when I was camping with my family and he was on his first ‘lads’ camping trip. ¬†We had a ‘holiday romance’; we lived 300 miles apart, so continued our romance by letter; enthusiastically at first and later, intermittently; we managed to meet up from time to time. This card was written five years after we first met – it is a testament to our younger selves that we maintained this commitment to communicate for so long. Sadly we have now lost touch.