Creative Design Goes Postal

September 15, 2016

I went to my local post office yesterday and was, yet again, shocked that it was costing me $1.05 to send a letter to downtown Vancouver.  Today, I found some stamps that are actually worth paying for — if you are in Britain, at least.

Agatha Christie 400% Stamps.indd

This is the centenary anniversary of the Agatha Christie’s first detective story, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.  To celebrate this event the Royal Mail ordered up six stamps representing some of her most famous mysteries.  Jim Sutherland and Neil Webb have come up with beautiful designs that look good, fairly represent the plots of the books, and include clues that can be found through heat or UV light. In addition, each stamp contains a secret letter that, put together with the others in the set spell “AGATHA”.


This is the stamp that shows “The Mysterious Affair At Styles”.  As Creative Review describes this:

“Poirot and Hastings investigate the crime scene – forming the skull, as the murderer used poison. The whole stamp is then reproduced in miniature on the poison bottle.”

It seems to me that Canada Post  is good at putting ever larger numbers (i.e. prices) on their stamps. Perhaps they should release their artistic energies instead.

Image: And The Trees Danced

September 15, 2016

and the trees danced

Poem For Battle of Britain Day

September 15, 2016

We Shall….


If a miracle

or the toss of a coin

could have summoned peace

and coated our wounds with a soothing balm

we would not have been tardy

to accept it

in those forlorn days of 1939 and 1940

but as the umber clouds of autumn

turned first to dusky grey and then to the darkest night

of wartime winter

and then it’s spring again

and our boys again

are battling for the open blue skies again

and we settle in for the long haul

we accept that their sacrifice

shall not be in vain

and we pray not for a miracle

or a coin toss

but for victory



The original Battle of Britain Day was 15 September 1940.

Freedom Day x 20!

September 15, 2016


On this date in 1996 — twenty years ago — I had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. I was also proudly and loudly smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day.

As part of my formal Introduction to Diabetes education by the BC Ministry of Health, I was assigned to a specialist doctor. I liked him immediately and we quickly developed a rapport beyond any I had had with any other doctor before or since.

Around lunchtime on 15th September 1996, this doctor telephoned me to discuss my latest test results. He explained that he did not feel it was possible to treat me to the full extent of his skills if I continued to smoke so heavily. I am sure I still had a pack or more of cigarettes in the apartment, but I never smoked another cigarette from that moment to this. It was perhaps the most important decision I ever made, and one I am so proud to have kept for twenty years.

The wonderful Dr. Vlachos died himself just a year or so later, but I will always thank him for leading me to my own Day of Freedom from cigarettes.