Sunday 28 May 2023


It is one of those things, the lull in enthusiasm for hobbies. I know it is silly, but if feels somewhat like a competition with a primary school football team against a premiership team. My passion for allotment gardening is starting to return, and while there are competitions such as for the biggest pumpkin, longest leek, I'm not interested in showing produce as it seems such a waste - I've been to garden shows and the vegetables exhibited are not stored in optimal conditions (keep cool). For me, the killer of enthusiasm was a combination of weather and various critters/diseases attacking my plants.

But, it is my passion for snail mail that is at risk. One small aspect of this I put squarely on Royal Mail: the incompetence at the helm, the bullying of the posties… If I lived on the Isle of Mull, I'd barely get any post the last couple of months because the vans RM use don't seem to be all that roadworthy and this then puts the lives of the posties who drive them at risk. Postage has gone up, more than quadrupled for international postage since I started Postcrossing. Postage is the main reason I'm a lapsed postcrosser, but I do send postcards occasionally. Postage is the last straw for many UK postcrossers. For the current postage rate, I do prefer quality letters. Comparatively though, it is still quite reasonable. For £2.20, I can send a postcard or letter up to 100g all over the world, and this is far less than a coffee at the chain coffee shops. While the postage rate has diminished the number of postcards I send during the year, it isn't directly affecting the number of letters I send.

How do I explain the main reason? There's an element of one-upmanship on/via social media, e.g. "look how many letters/postcards I'm sending!" or showing off the mail-art or extras enclosed. I do like mail-art, but I have zero talent for it. Art soothes the soul, helps with mental health, but for me, words do a better job. I get the feeling I'm not good enough; I can't do more to promote snail mail correspondence. The more someone shows off, the more someone begs, the more someone drones on about something, the more I'm put off. For reasons I will not go into, I do not want to put my face out there, nor my voice. Even though I do manage a small snail mail discussion board, I can't be an ambassador for the hobby (and I think that realisation is also affecting me). Am I writing enough letters? I see via social media a few others writing gazillion letters each evening and showing off. It somewhat detracts from the specialness I feel about snail mail, quantity diluting quality. There was an element of quantity over quality in some previous Incowrimo/LetterMo years. Then, there's those who see no problem about revealing other people's addresses without permission and would they be the type of person to reveal secrets, break confidences? One such person a couple of years ago got into my head during an Incowrimo and slightly spoiled that year's writing madness for me. I feel a little lost; I have so much invested in letters. I don't want to give up penfriendships; I must not give up; where I live would be a much lonelier place without penfriends. 

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Blackadder stamps..

Today, Royal Mail issued stamps celebrating the TV series Blackadder. So, forth I went to a little post office to buy the stamps and the miniature sheet. There was however a problem - they didn't have any of the Blackadder miniature sheets for me to buy, so I will have to be patient, and wait until next month as the post office will order in the miniature sheet for me to buy when I go for the next issue of stamps. Fine! 

But what about the other stamps?  I bought 8 first class stamps, and 8 £2.20 stamps, although there were also 2nd class stamps, and £2.00 which is the current international surface mail rate for letters/postcards outside Europe, but didn't buy these values. I can't see many people using the £2.00 rate. Before the postage rate change in April, airmail first rate was £1.85 but that covered 20g worldwide, whereas the surface mail/international economy rate was £1.60 for 100g. 100g airmail was £2.55 so quite a difference.

What did surprise me was that they still had 6 miniature sheets of A New Reign issue. My local main post office was only sent 2 miniature sheets and they sold out within the first hour. The little post office had been sent over a dozen. So, I bought 2 sheets. Maybe I'll buy the rest if they have any left next month when Warhammer comes out. 

Wednesday 10 May 2023

My Postcrossing anniversary

Earlier this month, I celebrated my Postcrossing anniversary. I hadn't sent any Postcrossing postcards out this year, so thought I should request a few addresses on my anniversary. I was not disappointed with who the system paired me up with. I went down a rabbit hole of looking up the writres mentioned on a couple of the profiles, out of curiosity leaving me with books to add to my wish-list. At least one of the writers is one I hope to mention in a future blog post. 

The first class "two penny blue" stamp next to a stamp with buses

I had somewhat forgotten how much space (or lack of space) there is on a postcard for the postage. Lucky that the postage rate for international airmail is also 2 x 1st class, so I have a wealth of choice for making up the postage. 

A seahorse postage stamp next to a stamp of the comic character - Storm

Where possible, I try to match the stamps to the interests mentioned on the profile. Sometimes, it takes me longer to choose the postage than it is to write the postcard. 

A comic Batman postage stamp next to a stamp of the Star Wars character, Jannah.

I am still very fond of Postcrossing, but the postage rate to send just a mere postcard overseas does seem to be a bit on the extortionate side. What else can I get for that price? A cup of dishwater one coffee chain purports to be tea costs more, and isn't as nice as the feeling you get when you get the Hurrah email from Postcrossing informing you a postcard has arrived, plus the recipient's message!