Friday, 19 January 2018

We were powerless.....

Yes, during and after what the UK Met Office eventually referred to as 'Storm David', the name assigned by the French Met Office, we lost power from around 0620 on Thursday until 1500 Friday.  But we in our road were just a few of the 58,000 in Norfolk and Suffolk to lose power.  

Unfortunately due to the large number of incidents engineers only came to our incident this morning, but before they arrived a chuck wagon arrived on behalf of UK Power Network, providing hot drinks, soup, porridge, phone/tablet recharging facilities, and even I even saw one of our neighbours with her laptop using their wifi in the van!  So thanks to UKPN, and Haste Ltd.

So, there are a number of domestic issues to address before we're fully back up and running.  Emails will be answered according to their priority, but all within a couple of days.

Any orders received in the last couple of days should be despatched on Tuesday next, and the work-in-progress job of stock-taking Post and Go stamps will continue with some more stock being added where it was missed out before.  We should have all our Game of Thrones stock online by the date of issue.

This incident has been a reminder to always keep candles and matches close at hand, together with camping gas burners and lights, and keep mobile phones etc as fully charged as you can.  And if you are like us, using 'walkabout' landline phones - which rely on electricity - remember to have an ordinary plug-in phone available.  If, like others, you sent them all to charity shops or recycling when you got your posh 'answer it anywhere' phones, head back to the charity shop, and get another one.  That's the only way you can ring for help, and communicate with your power provider when your mobile devices have died, and are essential if you need the emergency services. 

Oh, and batteries for the radio are a good idea; stops all those dreadful silences when you can't think of anything else to talk about and you've done all the newspaper 'crosswords-by-candlelight'!


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Game of Thrones Update

In case readers miss its addition to the original post, this is just for the record with no comments possible here.



UPDATE 9 January: we have seen the stamps and can confirm that the Machin definitives are coded M17L MPIL. The iridescent printing is difficult to see especially on the £1.17 but this will be the only instance of this value on ordinary gum. 
The Northern Ireland 2nd class is a very good match to the last sheet printing we have although the phosphor is less evident to the naked eye.  

Collector Sheet - 10 x 1st class stamps with "labels that highlight key quotes from the series".  
UPDATE 9 January: this sheet is self-adhesive, the only way the stamps appear on this paper.  


Monday, 8 January 2018

Royal Mail Slogan Postmarks January 2018.

Thanks to everybody who sent in examples of slogans received during 2017.  I expect to see several related to new stamp issues this year including the RAF Centenary and Women's Suffrage.  Doubtless there will also be various saint's days, Mother's Day, Booker Prize winner, Prince of Wales birthday, Royal Wedding (and baby), and Christmas.  Time will tell.

Nothing new to report yet, so I'm starting with one just received from Cornwall Mail Centre showing the default 'mental health awareness slogan, in the transposed position.



Actually this is new but I included it in the end of the December reports with the other examples of Universal slogan usage.   Lancashire & South Lakes unit 1 Remember to use the Post Code slogan on 2 Jan 2018 with 7 PM time. Times are unusual on Universals now, and cancellation of 2nd class mail didn't usual include the time, but funny things happen.



UPDATE 15 January:  So we are half-way through January with only one new slogan postmark so far - and no news from Royal Mail as to why they have marked this one now.

My thanks to JG for sending this example about the award of the Dickin Medal to Mali of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, ‘For tireless bravery and devotion to duty during an operation in Afghanistan with the British Military in 2012’.  However the medal was awarded on 17 November 2017, the exact anniversary of the founding of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) in 1917.

It can't be, as previously asserted, that Royal Mail have no special slogans in use during their Christmas 'campaign' because they broke that policy with the Nobel Prize slogan!

The slightly garbled text of this example from Peterborough MC on 11 January is

Congratulations to
Military Working Dog Mali
Centenary PDSA
Dickin Medal recipient.

UPDATE 16 January.  Thanks to MB we have a good copy of the alternative layout from the other machines, this one from North West Midlands Mail Centre on 15 January.


T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize.  MB also sent two copies of the slogan which has replaced the PDSA one.  Neither of these is a good example and both are from Edinburgh MC on 16 January.  
Ocean Vuong has won the 2017 TS Eliot Prize, for his debut collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds.  The Vietnamese-born poet, who now lives in Massachusetts, has won a host of awards for the collection, including Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

The postmark text reads


Congratulations
Ocean Vuong -
Winner of the 2017
T.S.Eliot Prize for
Best New Poetry Collection


And thanks to DW for the other version of this one from Southampton Portsmouth & IOW Mail Centre.


Centenary of Women's Suffrage - Votes for Women

Royal Mail have released the designs for the Women's Suffrage Centenary issue in the January Philatelic Bulletin.

Although the pictures are monochrome, the stamp captions are highlighted in purple and green, colours used by the Women's Suffrage Movement.  These will be issued on 15 February at Spring Stampex and nationwide at 7,500 Post Office branches.


More details later on our website.


Postal Heritage Mail by Sea Post and Go stamps issued at Stampex

As shown in the 2018 schedule, Royal Mail will issue the fourth in their Postal Heritage series of Post and Go stamps on 14 February, during Spring Stampex, but we have been told that there will be no Post and Go machines AT Stampex.

The nearest Post and Go machines, as far as I know, will be at Mount Pleasant Enquiry Office, at the Islington Post Office branch at 160-161 Upper Street, and at the Postal Museum where the stamps will have the Museum inscription.

The stamps depict a series of ships which have carried the mails for a period of 230 years from HM Packet Antelope in 1780, the SS Great Western, the SS Britannia, the RMS Olympic (sister ship to the Titanic), to the first of the Queen's, the RMS Queen Mary, closing with the RMS St Helena which is due to end its service soon.

Bureau pack
FDC Insert (click on image to see larger, readable, version)



Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Snow Joke - it's Game of Thrones Boxed Set 1 for Royal Mail

The Stark truth is that many did not Cersei this coming.  However, there's no point in putting the Bolton the stable after the dragon has flown.....

Royal Mail have now announced in their Philatelic Bulletin details of the badly-embargoed stamp issue for 23 January 2018.   This will 'celebrate' the HBO cable-television series, Game of Thrones (GoT).

Those who are interested in this series probably know all there is to know, and I know very little.  Those who don't know anything about it may already have cancelled their standing order with Royal Mail because they regard this as one step too far, and 2017 is as good a cut-off point as any to stop buying new Great Britain stamps, or at least some of them.

So for the record, these are the philatelic collectables on offer.  Anybody who wants to see the products designed specifically for GoT fans will find them on Royal Mail's website soon.  Click on any of these images to see larger versions.

A set of 10 stamps depicting characters from the series (10 x 65p, £6.50 - product code AS3257)



A miniature sheet depicting some non-human characters from the series and the Iron Throne (5 x 65p, £3.25 - product code MZ129)


A retail booklet of 6 x 1st class Iron Throne stamps (£3.90, product code UB412)



Collector Sheet - 10 x 1st class stamps with "labels that highlight key quotes from the series".   (Price £7.50, product code AT102).
UPDATE 9 January: this sheet is self-adhesive, the only way the stamps appear on this paper.  With a premium of £1 it is possible that this sheet will be included in SG Concise catalogue.


Prestige Stamp Book (Price £13.95 - product code YB074).  Contains all the 10 'Human' stamps in the set, and a page of definitives - thankfully all Machin definitives rather than all Iron Throne stamps, so at least something for Machin collectors to be interested in.


 The definitive pane contains two 1st class Iron Throne stamps (gummed rather than self-adhesive), two Northern Ireland 2nd class country definitives, and Machin definitives of 20p, £1.17 and 2 x 5p which will presumably be coded M17L MPIL, although they may have M18L codes.

UPDATE 9 January: we have seen the stamps and can confirm that the Machin definitives are coded M17L MPIL. The iridescent printing is difficult to see especially on the £1.17 but this will be the only instance of this value on ordinary gum. The 5p, as often before, reacts under ultra-violet light and shows quite orange.

The Northern Ireland 2nd class is a very good match to the last sheet printing we have although the phosphor is less evident to the naked eye. 



For the first time Royal Mail have combined a normal stamp issue with Post and Go stamps.  This is something that I suggested almost two years ago.  Now that many Post Office branch customers are directed to Self-Service Kiosks they rarely get the chance to see any of Royal Mail's special issues.  This may encourage them to ask questions and see the point of sale material in branches.  The basic pack has one 1st class and one 2nd class stamp, price £1.21 - product code ZS050.




There is a single first day cover for all the products, and a presentation pack containing both set and miniature sheet.  There are also Medal covers for the set and the miniature sheet, and framed products.

We shall be stocking the Machin definitives, and Post and Go, including a limited number of first day covers.  More details later.

UPDATE 5 January
Thanks to an alert reader who spotted these in his Post Office I can confirm that PO Branches do indeed have instructions about when (not) to use the Post and Go stamps. The 2nd class is coded 2nd CL18S and the 1st class is R18YAL .


UPDATE 8 January
A number of special postmarks have been announced for this issue, a few are shown below.  Those not sponsored by Royal Mail for FDCs and medal covers can be seen here.  More may be added.