Month: December 2013

Vintage Postcards – 9: Happy New Year!

Now, the original plan was to post one of the cards every other day (on the odd days) up until New Year’s Eve itself with the final hurrah.

29 December 1921 - To sister, brother and niece from Gabrielle Doublie

29 December 1921 – To sister, brother and niece from Gabrielle Doublie

However, I forgot to queue up some posts and got a bit busy and … then there was Christmas and one thing and another … And here we are on New Year’s Eve Eve with the final instalment – running from 1919 to 1922.

In the spirit of Lousie’s family:

J’offrir mes meilleurs voeux de bonne et heureuse année pour l’an 2014!


Some jolly festive children …


A fine pair of French lovelies …


That is one sassy fur coat at Christmas …


Succulent SOS

I think it might be time to do some work on my Echiveria …

Purchased from IKEA a couple of years ago its never exactly been a stupendous plant, but that’s not really a reason to let something just die. I’m not convinced I water it enough, and I’m damn sure it doesn’t get enough light inside (over the summer I did leave it outside and it seemed to perk up no end) as it seems to be ‘reaching’ or stretching for sun. The leaves also have a habit of going limp and withering.

I also noticed today what looks to be root fibres sprouting from the stem. I don’t think this is a good sign.

Following some research online I think the best option is to cut the crown off, with a stalk, and repot it in some cactus mix …

Poorly Echevaria ...

Poorly Echeveria …

Currently its sitting on a north-facing windowsill (positioned between a basil – seen slightly in the pic above – and a pair of Muscari latifolium – or possibly Muscari macrocarpum), but it has been in a south-facing windowsill and also in a south-facing room but not in direct sunlight. Either way – it never stays happy for long, and I’m pretty sure that the plant is not at fault!

Any tips from any succulent growers would be most gratefully received!

Garden Birds …

I thought I’d do a quick run-down on the birds that I’ve seen in my garden this year. This is not helped by the fact that I have a memory like a goldfish and can’t remember last week, let alone anything I might have seen in the garden over the last 12 months!

My garden is moreorless a rural one. Although we live in a terrace, the gardens are fairly large and not immediately overlooked. The rear of the garden backs onto a small lane, the other side of which is one row of houses and then open farmland, leading to mixed woodland. There is a river nearby, although far enough away that we don’t get any waterfowl in the garden (but there was one rainy night when we were walking the dog and I rescued a duck that had wandered into the road, stopping a lorry and several cars in my mission to herd it back to the river – which I eventually managed to do).

As a child I wasn’t particularly interested in garden birds. That said, in childhood gardens we always fed birds over winter and provided nest boxes of differing sizes, and saw a few species that are considered rarities now, such as the Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) and Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) as well as all kinds of warblers, finches, tits and a whole host of others. It wasn’t really until an adult and I really delved into ‘birds are dinosaurs’ that I began to appreciate birds for what they are to me – beautiful bundles of evolutionary perfection.

Our previous house had a tiny garden and neighbours both sides would feed the local birds. One side was nuts and feeders. The other was … great chunks of bread scattered on the lawn. There was also a roost of starlings nearby. Consequently the only visitors were either pigeons or the starlings.

Despite the prevalence of cats in the area, we’ve not done too badly for feathered visitors since we’ve been here – although none have a whiff of the exotic about them, I do still get a bit of a thrill when I see them on the feeders or bobbing about on the grass – especially when I can recognise them! I dare say that this list is not exhaustive and I’ll keep a better eye out throughout next year and take a bit of a note about the visitors we do get. Maybe buy some kind of spotters guide that I can tick …

Although maybe slightly updated ...

Although maybe slightly updated …

  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus

  • Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
  • Great Tit Parus major
  • Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
  • European Robin Erithacus rubecula
  • Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
  • Common Blackbird Turdus merula
  • Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
  • Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  • Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  • Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
  • Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
  • Rook Corvus frugilegus Clearly not a Rook. Tis a Jackdaw.
  • Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula
  • European Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
  • Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
  • European Herring Gull Larus argentatus (Never fed in the garden, but present overhead due to proximity of rubbish dump just over half a mile away – which sounds worse than it actually is.)

Vintage Postcards – 8

Fast forward several months (okay, a year) and we reach December 1918, and this card sent to Louis by his wife, Amelie. As mentioned previously, Louis was a soldier and by this time World War One had only been over for little more than a month.

I suppose this is the most overtly romantic of the cards – or at least one that lets us peek into the relationship between these two.

Je souhaite de tout coeur que soit la dernière année que tu passe loing de nous … Nous sommes tous en parfaite sante et je desire que tu soit ainsi. 

(I sincerely hope that is the last year you pass away from us … We are all in perfect health and I desire that you be so also.)

29 Dec 1918

Vintage Postcards – 7

Fast-forward a year and we reach le 28 décembre 1918, and another winter scene.

This was sent from Joséphine Doublié to her godfather and contains the usual best wishes for the oncoming year.


28 Dec 1918

Vintage Postcards – 6

Because a child with a goat just isn’t enough … here’s the old classic Girl With Dwarf Elephant.

Sent by Louise herself to her mother and dated 1 January 1918, it still has the hand-ruled pencil lines on it to mark the bottom of the lines and also the top of the lower case letters!

The card also sends happy new year wishes to Angele Denis and “petite Andree et chez elle“, as well as “la famille Biardeau“.

She signs off with ‘a thousand kisses’:

“Reçois chère maman les mille baisers de ta fille.”


1 Jan 1918


Snakes on a plane!!!! Or just on my kitchen table…

If you haven’t visited Alex’s blog or her Etsy shop then do so. Immediately. (And I’m not just saying that because she’s immortalised our dog in felt for Christmas …)

Fudge & Poppy

I have had a really great raft of sales from my shop over the last few days and popped out super early on Monday to collect a parcel and post a sale from Sunday and had a cup of tea in Costa while I waited for the Post Office to open. Then on the way back home I twisted my bad ankle again, thankfully not a bad twist but still hurts quite a bit!

Yesterday I had a mini flurry of activity making a few more bits and bobs in preparation for my last Christmas Fayre coming up on Saturday. I am planning to make a few more little things that can be bought for pocket money but that will have to wait a day or so as I have come down with some vile bug from my stepson, sore throat and horrid chesty cough that has knocked me for…

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Vintage Postcards – 5

This little card is probably my favourite of the whole bunch, and is much more Christmas-card-like than the French New Year cards, with a wide-eyed ‘Red Riding Hood’ looking at a groupof three toys – perhaps one for her, one for her male companion and one for her puppy …

Uncle Pierre sent this to Charlie on 26 December 1917. At this time Pierre was in Genoa, Italy, and Charles Bory was living in Lausanne. I like to think that Charlie found this card as charming as I do as there are two pin holes at the top and bottom, indicating that it was pinned to a wall or board at some point of its life.

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

Vintage Postcards – 4

The next card was sent by Adrienne Doublié on 31 December 1913 and is addressed “Cher cousin et cousines“.

The subject of the card is quite romantic, with a dashing (albeit slightly … fey) young man and his charming young woman presented with a bouquet of flowers, underneath a heart-shaped woodland scene.

The message written on the back (presumably by the same pen and ink that was spilt on the front!) is exactly as you’d expect:

Je vous envoie cette carte pour souhaiter la bonne année à toute la famille.

(I’m sending you this card to wish a happy new year to all the family.)

… but the last sentence made me smile. All the other cards simply extend good wishes to the recipient … but Adrienne has this to add:

J’espere que vous m’en souhaiter autant.

(I hope you all wish me as much.)


31 Dec 1913

31 Dec 1913



Vintage Postcards – 3

What says “Happy New Year” better than a bunch of floppy roses and a toy caprid? Nothing, as far as I know – and neither did the maker or purchaser of this particular celebratory postcard.

Sent on le 30 decembre 1911, the card is addressed “Cher Frère  et Soeur“, and is from their sibling Marie Baranger.  She starts the card breathlessly …

Je m’empresse de vous écrire deux mots a l’occasion de nouvelle annee …

(I hasten to write two words to you on the occasion of new year … )

… but goes on to wish them both good health and happiness for the New Year. There is also mention of “petite Marcelle” who also passes on her best wishes to her godparents,  “son parrain et sa marraine“.

Perhaps it was little Marcelle who picked the card …

30 Dec 1911