Saturday 29 January 2022

February Letters - 2022 edition

Want to take part in Incowrimo but can't manage a whole letter-a-day to send? Maybe you could compromise and do this challenge instead. It doesn't matter if you can't do it every day. The main thing is to enjoy writing letters/postcards.

28 challenges for this month, one for each day. When writing a letter, please answer the question or use the writing prompt or do the task for that day, or just pick one you fancy doing (or at random).

  • 1st: Write a sentence with your non-dominant hand
  • 2nd: What flower(s) have you noticed blooming outside recently?
  • 3rd: Writing prompt: books
  • 4th: What is the weather like?
  • 5th: Will you be watching/following the Winter Olympics?
  • 6th: Have you learned/tried to learn any musical instruments?
  • 7th: When did you send your first ever email?
  • 8th: What are the best 3 things about where you live?
  • 9th: What are your three favourite films/tv series?
  • 10th: If you could write a book about anyone, who would you write about and what would its title be?
  • 11th: Write a sentence backwards
  • 12th: Doodle some eyes
  • 13th: What was the last book you started to read but decided not to finish?
  • 14th: Have you written Valentine's cards to pets (or even received one from a pet)?
  • 15th: What was the last board game you played?
  • 16th: What is a favourite quote from fiction?
  • 17th: What has made you smile recently?
  • 18th: What outdoor activities do you like doing?
  • 19th: What is your favourite season
  • 20th: Would you join clubs/societies for your hobbies?
  • 21st: Have you ever written letters to your future self?
  • 22nd: Do you volunteer or raise money for good causes?
  • 23rd: What can you hear/see around you while you write today's letter/postcard?
  • 24th: What museums/attractions in your area would you want to visit?
  • 25th: What was the strangest/oddest thing you did in 2021?
  • 26th: Do you like doing crosswords/sudoku or other puzzles?
  • 27th: Writing prompt: music
  • 28th: Do you keep a diary or journal or scrapbook?

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Another February is almost upon us.

As another February looms, it heralds in a couple of letter writing projects I've talked about before: A Month of Letters, and International Correspondence Writing Month. These projects draw in people new to letter writing, as well as seasoned correspondents. So, how should someone new go about writing the first letters for either of these projects?

One size does not fit all, and you must find your own way. Finding what works for you can take trial and error. What do you want from these projects? If you aren't looking for long term correspondents and you don't want to take up a position of their penpal, perhaps do not write a CV-style letter all about yourself/your family/your pets: you don't speak all this when you have an ephemeral conversation at a bus stop, on a train, or in the queue at a supermarket checkout. 

Handcraft (or type) your letters uniquely. OK, you will need perhaps to tell the person you are writing to your name, and if you want a response, your postal (or email) address. Anything else is fluid. A letter is a gift of time and energy, but if you send the same letter to everyone it may not reveal enthusiasm, sincerity and passion a good letter has.

I find this sort of letter below is just so boring:

Hello! My name is Jennifer. I live in Newport. I have a partner called Rhys and four children - their names are Cai (10), Eirian (7), Bethan (5) and Owain (2). We have three cats, one is a tabby called Simon,  the ginger tom is called Goofy,  and the black cat is Jetson. I like ice-skating, hill walking, darts and quilting. We go on holiday every year to Weston-Super-Mare and visit my grandmother, Jean. I am a 43 and my partner is 45. We met on New Year's Eve 12 years ago in the pub. He likes doing DIY, wood turning and supports Cardiff City. I go to bingo with my neighbour once a month. Write back soon xxx.

I'm afraid that sort of missive doesn't inspire me to reply. It doesn't engage with the recipient. I've received a few of that type of letter, and well, finding it almost impossible to write a reply on occasion (but I have managed to thank them electronically when I haven't been able to respond via letter).

Sometimes I do look up the town/city on a map - to see its rough location. I am hopeless at US geography, so even knowing if some town is near the sea, inland, north/south/east/west may help me write a letter. 

Now, what if Jennifer in Newport was writing to someone in Toledo, OR/USA who has mentioned hiking in their request for correspondence:

Hi there Kathy,

My name is Jennifer and I live in Newport, not the Newport in Oregon not too far from you but one in Wales, UK. My partner is a Welshman called Rhys, but I come from Bath in England originally. We have four children and have given them Welsh names - Cai (10), Eirian (7), Bethan (5) and Owain. The home is ruled by three felines. One of my hobbies is hill walking and I like to go walking in the Brecon Beacons at least once a month. I see from an online map that you've got some interesting scenery nearby. Where do you like to go walking/hiking? Another hobby is quilting. Rhys likes DIY and furniture making. He surprised me last birthday with a handmade sewing table. He is a big football (soccer) fan but likes most sports too. He even stayed up to watch the Super Bowl. I don't want to overwhelm you in first letter, so I will end here. I hope this finds you well. Write back when you can. xxx

A few more words (add better layout on paper with paragraphs/spacing) but not revealing as many hobbies/information, maybe not much more time/effort but there is something to draw you in. A question. A friendliness. Which letter would Kathy prefer? 

Penpal letters should be ongoing conversations. Questions should be asked but not too many - you do not want it to be an interrogation or inquisition.

You could enclose extras, such as a postcard of your area, a map/leaflet for your area, even a photograph (not necessarily of yourself/family), a bookmark... 

Postal services at the moment aren't all running a full speed operation. Post can be slow. Patience is needed for this hobby. Check your postal authority's service news page for updates. 

Sunday 23 January 2022

Sunday Stamps - Flags

 For Sunday Stamps, the theme set by See it on a Postcard is maps, flags. 

So, I bring you the one and only Y Ddraig Goch, the Welsh flag; the best there is! Cymru am byth!

Sunday 16 January 2022

Sunday Stamps - Writers/Composers

Sunday Stamps is set by the blog See it on a Postcard and today's theme is Writers, Composers, so I bring you a mix.
I have not read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works, but have heard/seen adaptations of Sherlock Holmes. This stamp was one of 10 commemorating 10 Eminent Britons back in 2009.
Next up is Benjamin Britten, a composer and pianist. This stamp was one of 10 commemorating 10 Great Britons in 2013.
These stamps, Hollywood Composers, I found in an antiques store, a whole sheet for less than face value at the then exchange rate. I bought it, and started enclosing a few stamps to a couple of US penpals for them to use (to me or to anyone else, or even to scrapbook/journal). 

Sunday 9 January 2022

Sunday Stamps - Blue

The theme for Sunday Stamps is set by See it on a Postcard, and this time, the theme is blue.

A Postcrossing friend wanted to thank me for some information and had this postcard sent to me with a special postmark cancellation.
Also via Postcrossing, I received many postcards from Thailand, and on this one, was a stamp made with Thai Silk. Other nations have issued fabric stamps. 

Sunday 2 January 2022

Sunday Stamps - New / Recent

 See it on a Postcard sets the themes for Sunday Stamps. Today's is new / recent stamps, so first I'm bringing you one of my favourite issues of 2021 from Royal Mail.

I think this is a well designed miniature sheet, issued in August 2021. I haven't used any from the miniature sheet, I don't think. Maybe an electric bill payment could be sent in with the 2nd class stamp!
The DC Comics stamps are another recent issue, from September 2021 and I have been using some of these stamps on outgoing mail.
I don't show much received post these days so I thought I'd show an envelope from the US received last month. All three stamps had been issued last year, the Raven Story, a Japanese American soldier in WWII, and a Heritage Breeds stamp with a Milking Devon Cow.