Wednesday, 9 May 2018

My Postcrossing anniversary - my 10th.

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of me joining Postcrossing. I joined because I wasn't getting replies from people I had written to via various penpalling sites. Many profiles there mentioned Postcrossing so I got curious. I sent postcards, always trying to keep my full allowance going. I joined their forums and participated in many Round Robins, as well as starting a couple of my own RRs. I was sending loads of postcards every month. I even joined the big monthly RR. I think what got me was when Royal Mail hiked up postage from 68p to 87p. I felt betrayed, I still do, and postage is now £1.25. When I started, I think postage was 50p to Europe.  I was in the top 10 UK Postcrossers, however, with last actively sending about 4 years ago, I slipped down the rankings. I did send a few postcards out last year, not many.

So, in celebration, I wrote 24 postcards (not my full allowance) yesterday. Some caught yesterday's collection, and some went today.
 I will always be fond of this site, the idea to connect people around the world via the simple postcard, in a time of digital communication. However, I still prefer correspondence via letter than postcards, although I do like postcards. 

Saturday, 28 April 2018

On letterwriting, etiquette

I have so far been using the initial of my first name, M, wax seal to close my envelopes. However, is it proper? Should I be using my surname (my married name)? This question has led me to etiquette, tradition, good form written in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  The answer is that I should use the initial of his surname. The initial of my first name never changes, but the surname might and already has. So, I am content to use M. How many of you when telephoning someone, say, "It's me!" ? 

However, what is good form way back when seems to me to be artificial and inequal. There are rules. Who came up with them? There are ways to address the envelope. It is not etiquette to use Mr for a gentleman, but for tradesmen & mechanics. I rarely use titles, though if I am writing to someone who has a PhD, or is a doctor of medicine, I have used the form Dr to them. I won't address the envelope to a married woman as Mrs [her husbands's initial] [husband's surname]. There are still a few people around who say that the woman is property of the husband. Although I have taken my husband's surname, I still identify with my first name, and its initial. Forum posts sometimes have me signing off with this initial. 

Perhaps these rules constrain the feeling of the word/letter, the individuality and uniqueness of each correspondence, the creativity; emotions weren't to be shown, stiff upper lip. I hope my written letters have character and soul to them. I want them to bring a smile upon the recipient's face, and joy. 

Some of rules of antiquated social letter writing, taken from Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton's book in the Good Form series, "Letter-Writing Its Ethics and Etiquette with Remarks on the Proper Use of Monograms, Crests, and Seals" (1890) I break are:

  • Lined papers must never be used for social correspondence, they are extremely bad form.
  • There was a local fashion, some time ago, to use violet ink, but colored inks are never correct

  • Using papers other than cream or white in colour

  • Using anything other than the initial of my husband's surname (or crest if he had one) as a wax seal. 
  • The use of wax in colours other than red or black.

Thursday, 12 April 2018


 I wanted to say something but lost my train of thought. Distractions at the moment are more frequent than before, so I am behind on replying to letters. Oh well, part of life having to deal with surprises and things you hope will be later rather than sooner.

Anyway, back to the letter writing I must go.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

InCoWriMo-2018 roundup

InCoWriMo-2018 has been a success in my eyes. I managed to write at least one letter a day. I wrote to 30 new victims, receiving 3 replies before the month was out and a further 11 replies in the first half of March. February saw me being chosen as a victim by 13 people. A further 2 surprises arrived in the first half of March. I also continued to correspond with existing penpals, writing 20 replies and receiving 23 letters (excluding postcards). I was able to use wax seals for most of my outgoing mail too. 

It was a successful month although I was unexpectedly away from home for almost all of the month (I was expecting to be away for only a week or so). I did miss receiving post on a daily basis, but my family at home kept me informed of my incoming mail.

Now I play catch up as I will reply to all the InCoWriMo-2018 post I received, as well as replying to my existing penpals. I have almost 40 letters in my to-reply-to pile.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Final week of InCoWriMo

InCoWriMo-2018 is in full swing and the surprise letters are coming in. Some have made me laugh out loud; some give insights into other people's lives.

I have been chosen because I live in Wales (the sender has connections with Wales) or because I mentioned a shared hobby in the comments.

I have chosen a few by keyword search as well as via hobbies and interests mentioned in the comments or Instagram profile.

I have received my first reply from a surprise, but I have also received a surprise from someone I wrote to however the letters crossed each other on their postal journey.

I have visited family this month so I have had the opportunity to feed different postboxes, much to the neglect of my local boxes. However, I have been using some Post Awyr / Post Brenhinol / Par Avion labels on my overseas letters from England!

I bought more letter writing supplies, including paper and wax seals. I need to write more letters then I can allow myself to buy more paper!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

InCoWriMo, Altered Carbon

I watched the first episode of the Netflix series, Altered Carbon. I haven't made up my mind on it yet, but there was one scene of particular interest to me. I put the subtitles on and I will quote below.

There's something about the simplicity of holding the written  word in your hand.
The very heft of it.
True, there is something to be said about the written word. Electronically written words do not have the same aura about them, little mystery.

I am a self-confessed snail mail addict. I seek out connections via the handwritten word. Some are ephemeral, only lasting for InCoWriMo; others last for years.

I have written my first surprise letter to a new person via incowrimo-2018. It has postage stamps and is raring to go. 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The night before InCoWriMo-2018

I have signed up to take part in InCoWriMo-2018, a handwritten letter every day, in February. 

In preparation, I am making sure I have enough return address labels printed. I have my own design now, to print at home. I still have a few other labels printed commercially I had forgotten about / misplaced!

I also bought more letter writing paper in the Paperchase sales. I will not run out of paper (I have for a few years at least).

I bought another fountain pen too in the Paperchase sale.

I will need to rinse and refill some fountain pens.

I have bought postage stamps. Many of my letters will need £1.40 postage, and I can make this up with 2 first class stamps plus 10p. There are so many wonderful designs for first class stamps, including the latest issue - Game of Thrones.