18 August 2018

Postcard books

I recently discovered an amazing secondhand bookshop in Burntisland. I'd seen the sign a few times for a bookshop, but this was the first time I'd gone for a look. I was actually looking for postcards, but instead I came out with a book of Boring Postcards compiled by the photographer Martin Parr (who I just happened to see on a programme about British photography I watched shortly afterwards). This style of postcards really appeals to me, and my parents found the book fascinating too.
I've had A History of Postcards by Martin Willoughby since it came out in the 1990s. It's interesting to read about the history of how postcards developed, but most of the book concentrates on eras before the time I'm interested in, with only two pages on the 1960s and 1970s. It seems to jump from the 1930s to the 1980s with not much in between.

16 August 2018

Boring postcards are interesting!

Some of my favourite postcards are those that could be described as "boring" but I think they're really interesting because they show an almost utopian view of mundane things like motorways, hotels, and shopping centres, with everything looking new and clean, and all the clothing and cars being lovely bright colours. It's like they are a celebration of the architecture that was modern then but can look dated now.
I suppose I should have realised that this was actually a fake view of the world! I knew there must have been some sort of filter applied to make the colours so intense, but it wasn't until I watched a programme about the history of British photography that I discovered that the colours of individual outfits and cars were painstakingly altered, making some of them more intense but completely changing the colours of others e.g. from white to red.
These days I find that most photographic tourist postcards are just a bit too slick and polished, and I feel they are tacky in their non-tackiness! So I've gone back to my roots and started picking up secondhand postcards from the 70s and 80s with their hyper-saturated colours.

14 August 2018

Recently thrifted - Postcards

I've got back into collecting postcards in a big way over the past month or two, and a lot of the ones I've bought have been secondhand, whether from antique shops, charity shops, flea markets, Ebay, or Etsy.
Collecting postcards was one of my main hobbies when I was a child, and I used to get handfuls of them whenever I visited my grandparents, because they would get their friends to save them for me. I would also buy them wherever I went on holiday or day trips. 

Although I'd still been buying a few everywhere I went over the years, I hadn't been keeping an organised collection like I did when I was young. I remember I used to spend the occasional Sunday afternoon organising my collection, and I'm getting back into doing that.

I think one of the things that got me back into postcards was listening to the Postcards from the Past podcast. I'd been following the Twitter account for ages but when I heard the enthusiasm of the guests on the podcast for their postcards I got interested again.

My favourite postcard of all time is one with a weather-house on it by a Scottish artist called Nora Paterson which I bought in a bookshop in the 1980s. I remember looking at her various designs on the display stand and choosing that one. And now I've been able to pick up some of her other designs online!

12 August 2018

The Secret Bunker

The Secret Bunker in the East of Fife has been open to the public for 24 years, but I hadn't really thought of visiting until I saw some photos on Instagram and realised that it would not just be interesting to military history buffs.
I was a bit nervous about visiting because I sometimes get a bit claustrophobic (I've had to abandon attempts to climb various towers on holiday because of tight stairwells and low headroom) but the bunker didn't cause me any problems of that sort. In fact, it feels very like being inside a school (something I'm used to, having worked in one since the very year the secret bunker opened to the public!), with similar sized corridors and rooms. I didn't even really notice the lack of windows at all.
The first surprise I got when going down the long corridor into the bunker was that I was greeted by two cats! It was a bit disconcerting to see something moving at floor level in my peripheral vision as I was taking a photo, and my first thought was that it was a rat! I was very relieved to see it was two cats, who would presumably deal with any rat or mouse problems there might be!

My main reasons for visiting the bunker, after seeing it on Instagram, were all the old technology and typefaces, dating from the 1950s when it was built until the 1980s when it was decommissioned. I was not disappointed!

It was a really thought-provoking place to visit. It got me thinking about what life would have been like for those in the bunker if it ever had to be used for its intended purpose as a command centre in a nuclear war. 

10 August 2018


It would be hard to decide which is the prettiest of all the Fife villages, but Culross is a strong contender! I had actually only been a couple of times before, when I was young, so it was lovely to go back for another look.

I found a lovely community garden that was a new addition, and it was a lovely place to sit and relax before exploring the rest of the village.
There are so many lovely details in Culross, and there are flowers everywhere! It's a photographer's paradise!


08 August 2018

Dundee Howff cemetery

The Howff is a very old cemetery, right in the middle of Dundee. I'd always planned to visit it, because some of my mum's ancestors are buried there, but I hadn't realised just how easy it was to get to. I had been visiting the McManus Gallery, and it's very close to there.
The cemetery is a real haven of tranquility, right in the middle of the city. There are beautiful old gravestones, with lovely carvings on them, and there are lots of flowers growing around the place, attracting bees and butterflies.
It was a stunningly sunny day when I visited, and it would be interesting to go again on a damp misty day for a totally different atmosphere.
Unfortunately I didn't find the gravestones of any family members, but I'll keep looking next time I visit!

06 August 2018

Beano exhibition

I had fun on a recent visit to the exhibition all about the Beano comic which is taking place in Dundee at the moment. By complete coincidence, I was actually wearing a stripey dress (although this is absolutely the sort of thing I'd have done on purpose if I'd thought of it!). The McManus Gallery in Dundee has been renamed The McMenace for the duration of the exhibition.

There were all sorts of things on display including pages from the comic, and memorabilia. My favourite was the Dennis the Menace and Gnasher badges that my brother used to have - I can still remember the feeling of the fuzzy bits on the Gnasher badge!

I also really enjoyed playing around with the speech bubbles that they had available. It would have probably have been easier if I'd had someone to take my photo as it was difficult to fit them in the frame when taking selfies!

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