Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Capturing Animals

The title above does not refer to a an expedition to collect specimens for the local zoo. It’s about capturing them in art; on mosaics and stamps, and in photographs. There’s an African thread which runs through the post too.

The decorative stamps above were issued in February 1976, as part of a series of Tunisian mosaics. They actually appeared on a postcard sent by my parents when they holidayed in Tunisia in 1978. Obviously the hotel had over ordered!

 I’m not a stamp collector as such, but I do keep memorabilia which are important to me, and this card has allowed me to join in with Sunday Stamps, which this week has the theme of Africa. I have been admiring some of my fellow-bloggers' posts on there for a while, and itching for a chance  to play along.

In the card my mother writes that the hotel enjoys a peaceful location; this was obviously long before the recent unrest of the Arab Spring. My parents were booked for an excursion to the camel market and my mother wondered if she would be able to pluck up courage to have a ride on one! She was looking forward to visiting Tunis, Sidi Bou Said and Carthage.

It would be another four years before I visited Tunisia myself, and the ruins of Carthage were high on my list of sights to see. The museum there is one of the richest in the world and a good place to see some outstanding mosaics.

Carthage is steeped in history and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Centre; their website describes it as:

“ An exceptional place of mixing, diffusion and blossoming of several cultures that succeeded one another’”

These included Greek, Roman, Vandal and Arab. It was the place which sheltered the mythical love of Dido and Aeneas.The navigator-explorer Hannon and the Roman general Hannibal (whose own history is also inextricably linked with riding enormous wild animals) are also part of its past. It was founded in the 9th century BC by Phoenician traders from Tyre, who dominated the seas for centuries trading in gold, silver, fruit, nuts, jewellery and wild animals. The animals would play a huge part in the amphitheatres during the Roman occupation too. This is probably why the splendid prowling wild cat was chosen as one of the stamps designs.














I’ve never been back to that part of Africa, but I do live on Lanzarote, which is about 70 miles from the African coast. We have camels here too, and they were the favoured beasts of burden in the past. These days they are mostly ridden by tourists, and also have a starring role in our Three Kings Festival on 6th January, for obvious reasons. They are well cared for and contented animals and recently a new baby arrived at our local Riding Centre. My three year-old twin grandchildren, who were visiting us, were delighted, and my grandson borrowed his Mum’s iPhone to take a souvenir picture. He also captured a shot of a Hoopoe who had flown down to investigate; however, I’m told by my son that this is not the picture taken by my grandson as I first thought, but was captured by his Daddy using a more sophisticated camera than an iPhone! My grandson will happily pick up his father’s camera and shoot away too - I’m NOT sharing the one he took of me...oh no!

Contented Camels, taking a well-earned rest.



16 comments:

  1. Do you know, it had never occurred to me quite how close Lanzarote is to Africa even though I know perfectly well where to find it on a map. I love your mosaic stamps from Tunisia - beautiful. Best of all is the three year old using an iPhone with more skill than I do.

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  2. Lovely stamps and happy memories. Wonderful that you now live in Lanzarote. I recall a rather traumatic experience involving a camel in Gran Canaria!

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  3. Interesting post, and interesting lifestyle, as I read in About me.
    I'll read more about your paradise. :)

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  4. I really enjoyed your interesting post. I hadn't even heard of Lanzarote until I started reading your blog.

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  5. Thank you for joining us! I think I'll have to look up Lanzarote on the map or in google earth.

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  6. Beautiful stamps! Sounds like fun with your grandkids!

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  7. Hi Nell, good to see you here. We spent a couple of holidays in Tunisia but didn't get any stamps at the time. I don't know where mine came from.
    I always favour animal stamps and your's is another I've never seen till now.

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  8. I enjoyed this post. You know, young children seem to have an 'eye' for taking photographs. The Hoopoe is a marvellous example.

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  9. Very interesting stamps - amazing detail! Love the bird pic - so unusual.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  10. The more I get to know about your life, the more I want to come and experience a piece of it for myself.

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  11. Beautiful mosaic stamps, that type art fits well with stamps. I loved seeing the Roman mosaics in Italy. Interesting post, how nice to have camels on tap for the Christmas play.

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  12. Beautiful stamps!
    Your grandson is cute - reminds me of my five-year old niece who loves to take over my digicam and take photos of everyone at home. She is turning out to have an eye for photos. Hope to see you more at Sunday Stamps!

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  13. Great stamps and wonderful postcard.

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  14. These are beautiful stamps. Camels however scare me, the baby is super cute though. Great post. Scarlett x

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  15. Love, love, LOVE the stamps. The camels, too. What an interesting post. Thanks so much for your visit to my blog the other day.

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  16. Oh I remember the camels of Lanzarote well. I have to say that I have become fonder of stamps since the invention of the scanner - all that peering through a magnifying glass was too much bother for me, but being able to see some of the wonderful images enlarged by a scanner is a different thing altogether.

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