Postcards and pictures

The constantly cloudy and rainy weather which has blighted most of this month has ensured that since my last post I haven’t really been anywhere to walk the dogs or take any photos. Yesterday’s plan was a visit to Manchester as I have a theme in mind for a couple of blog posts but to get the best shots I need at least some  blue sky and sunshine and that just wasn’t happening, it rained on and off all day.
Being forced by the weather to stay close to home I’ve spent some of my spare time over the last few days concentrating on my Postcrossing hobby and via the internet I’ve bought several bundles of unused postcards. On Friday I received a bundle of 100 cards featuring pictures of commemorative stamps issued by the Post Office over the years, they are all mint condition/new/unused and include several sets with a common theme. They are all really lovely cards so in the absence of a Monday walk I’ve scanned a few of my favourites to put on here.
The first set of five wildlife cards were reproduced from stamps issued by the Post Office in October 1977, while the second set of five rose cards are from stamps issued by the Royal Mail in July 1991.
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The set of four Food and Farming cards were individually titled ‘Fruit and Vegetables’ ‘Meat’ ‘Dairy Produce’ and ‘Cereals’ and were reproduced from stamps issued by the Royal Mail in March 1989, while the individual card was reproduced from a stamp issued in October 1983 which commemorated the early trade and produce fair British Fairs.
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The next card is my favourite from a set of four, reproduced from the Studio Pottery series of stamps issued in October 1987, while the zebra is a particularly striking card from a bundle of 100 random mint condition/new modern contemporary cards.
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And finally, a painted picture rather than a postcard. A while ago I was en route to somewhere a few miles away when I passed a large warehouse selling both new and refurbished furniture, appliances, household items, bric-a-brac and just about anything else you can think of. It’s one of those places that’s good for a mooch round even if you don’t want anything, and as I’ve been looking for a new treadmill I popped in on the off-chance they might have something. Unfortunately I didn’t find a treadmill but I did find a lovely little painting so bright and colourful I just had to have it, especially as there are some cute little cats in it.
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Obviously I don’t know where the painting originally came from or if the artist is local, and I doubt the guy in the store would know, but it’s exceptionally well done and it looked to be new so I was glad I found it. I haven’t put it up on a wall yet as I haven’t found quite the right place for it but I’ll find a home for it eventually; meanwhile it’s propped up on the unit near my pc so at least I can see it while I’m typing.

Not very happy with the Post Office

After getting into a new hobby with Postcrossing in October last year I’ve been sending out postcards regularly almost every week except the weeks when I’ve been away, but early on in the hobby I found that the young man in my local post office would insist on printing out parcel labels and sticking them on the cards instead of using normal stamps. As I only use postcards of regular size these larger labels have often covered up some of the writing or the unique identification number, something I’ve not been happy with, although if the older guy in there served me he would use, or give me, the proper stamps. So to avoid getting printed labels I’ve used other post offices in the town and never had a problem, I’ve always been given the stamps.
Just before Christmas I went to my local post office as it was more convenient at the time, the older guy served me and I got the normal stamps for my cards, however just this morning I went in again with two more cards and even though I specifically asked for the stamps the younger guy insisted on printing out the parcel labels – it very much seemed as if he was just too lazy to get the book and take the required stamps out of it so I refused the labels and brought the cards back home. As it’s only this post office I have a problem with I was so annoyed that I emailed Customer Services with a complaint –
I wish to complain about a particular service at the ***** post office at *****Road, Bolton, BL***
I am a member of Postcrossing and send out 2 to 4 postcards every week to various people in other countries at a cost of £1.25 each but when I use this post office, which is the nearest to my home, the young man who serves in there insists on printing out a parcel label for each one instead of sticking on or giving me the normal stamps. Unfortunately the labels very often cover the cards’ unique identification numbers or other writing, or they are doubled over and left sticking up at the top, all of which I’m not happy with.
The older man in this post office has always given me the stamps on previous occasions so I know they are available, but only today I went in and *though I specifically asked for the stamps the younger one wanted to print out the labels* – this seems to me like he is just too lazy to get the required stamps out of the book. I have used other post offices in the town and never ever had this problem, I always get the proper stamps, so surely printing out labels is not the norm?
As this is the nearest post office to me I use it regularly but if this is the sort of service which is given then I will be taking my custom elsewhere in the future.
I didn’t expect a reply for a few days but I got a return email only an hour or so later –
Thank you for your email about your experience at the *****Post Office branch. I’m sorry to hear that you’re unhappy with an aspect of the service you receive in the above branch as here at the Post Office we take great pride in providing excellent care and service to all our customers.
I can confirm that if a branch doesn’t have specific values of stamps available to cover the postage cost of an item they would be expected to produce a postage label instead. *As an alternative, customers can purchase specific value stamps and apply them to their items themselves*. It may be worth mentioning this next time you visit the *****branch, as if they don’t have the stamps required in stock they can order them at any time to replenish their supply.
Thank you again for taking the time to bring this to our attention and please accept our sincere apologies for any frustration or concern you may have been caused.
Kind regards,
**** ******
Now although this reply does explain why postage labels are sometimes used instead of stamps, and I can understand that if it really is the case, I feel it rather ignores the main issue, in that even when I ask  for the stamps I still get printed labels from the one particular person in that one branch – I’ve put the significant part of my complaint and of the reply in asterisks as I feel that the matter has been completely glossed over. I would have at least expected to read something along the lines of  “this matter will be brought to the attention of that branch’s staff” but this seems to be more of a stock reply rather than an assurance that my complaint will be dealt with appropriately.
Maybe I’m expecting too much but to be honest this situation has occurred so many times in the past that today was the last straw, and no matter how close to home that particular post office is I’ll be going elsewhere every time from now on.

My first postcard

Less than two weeks after joining Postcrossing and sending out my first four postcards I’ve just received my first one back. It’s from a semi-retired man in Germany who wrote me a nice message in which he says he likes travelling and walking or cycling by the sea or along rivers.
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Last Saturday I spent well over an hour looking round the town centre for postcards of my local area but couldn’t find a single one – every place which would logically have had them doesn’t seem to sell them now and even the one shop where I would have been guaranteed to get some didn’t have any in stock. So I turned to the internet and was lucky enough to find some unused English postcards for a very good price so I sent for 100. They arrived on Thursday and yesterday I sent out cards to France, Japan, Italy and Finland – I was really pleased when I got the Italy address as it’s a lovely town on the Ligurian coast which I visited several years ago.
While I’ve been typing this I’ve just had an email from Postcrossing to say that someone (not the recipient) has ‘favourited’ one of the Southport cards I sent out and which has been uploaded to the gallery – it’s nice to know that someone likes it as I do think it’s quite an attractive card. I think this Postcrossing thing is getting more interesting by the day and I can’t wait to see where my next card will come from.


Something new and interesting

Thanks to reading Sharon’s blog over breakfast last Sunday morning I’ve recently discovered Postcrossing. I’d never heard of it before and it sounded so intriguing I checked out the website, and what I found interested me so much that I joined immediately. Basically it’s a way of sending and receiving postcards to and from different people all over the world – you create an account and profile, request to send a postcard and get a random name and address of someone somewhere else in the world. You send them a postcard, they register it on the website once they’ve got it and you then become eligible to receive a postcard from a random member somewhere else – and the more cards you send out the more you get back.
After reading through the website a couple of times I couldn’t wait to get started so while I was in Southport later that day I picked up half a dozen cards from a newsagent’s near the promenade, then when I got home I logged onto the website and requested to send four cards. You are only allowed to have a certain number ‘travelling’ in the system at any one time so I thought four was enough to start off with and I wrote them that night – to Galway in Ireland, New York, Germany and Moscow – then posted them on Monday morning.
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Tonight, just about an hour ago, I got an email from the Postcrossing website to say that my card to Ireland had been received and registered today, having travelled 273 miles, and the lady in question had even sent me a nice little message. It will obviously take a while longer for the other three people to get theirs but now I know the first one has been received I’m really looking forward to eventually getting some back – and not knowing who or where they’ll come from means I’ll have some nice surprises dropping through my letterbox before long.