Posted by: travelrat | October 18, 2015

Travel Theme: Letters


This week’s ‘travel theme’ is letters. I could, I suppose, lament the passing of the letter in favour of the email, but that wouldn’t really be a ‘travel theme’. Besides, I rather prefer email; I really don’t regret the passing of ‘Dear Mr. Kellett’ in favour of ‘Hi, Keith!’ … and absolutely rejoice that ‘We beg to refer to your esteemed communication of the 18th inst.’ went out with collarstuds and those celluloid cones clerks wore on their wrists, to avoid smudging their carefully-inked missives with their cuffs. ‘Regarding your recent letter…’ is much more concise and to the point.

Gone, too, are the ‘rules’ that you should never type a personal letter; they should always be handwritten, and, according to one of our teachers, always with a ‘proper’ pen, never a ballpoint. Letters beginning ‘Dear Sir’ should always end ‘Yours Faithfully’ , while ‘Yours Sincerely’ could be used on most other occasions.

But, what I do mourn is the passing of the stamp; if ‘snail mail’ is used, it’s usually franked with an anonymous, faceless printed label. According to my grandchildren, philately, or stamp collecting is considered rather a nerdy thing to do these days.

Whereas, when I was at school, we were all at it. I think it’s fair to say I learnt more geography for my stamp collection than I learnt from ‘Old Algy’ … and that’s saying something; he was damn’ good!

I knew a stamp with ‘Helvetia’ came from Switzerland; I knew Caracas was the capital of Venezuela, and I could point out Bechuanaland on a map. (Don’t try it yourself, though; it’s called Botswana now!)

You see, there’s a lot to be learnt about anywhere by studying its stamps … its flora, its fauna, its scenery, its famous people …. and I couldn’t wait to grow up, and see some of those places.

I don’t collect stamps any more, but I did use to get mail from all over the world. And, it seemed such a shame to throw the stamps out. But, I didn’t know anyone who collected them!

More about ‘Letters’ at

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