in the mail yesterday.
One came from my good friend Jen Campbell and was the "purr-fect" card for me. It was one of the Puffin Books postcards showing the cover of Allan Ahlberg's "The Improbable Cat". (Penguin put out a set of one hundred postcards, each depicting a different Puffin book. I was given a set and it is a wonderful selection of book covers.)
On the back Jen had written a little piece of poetry from her new collection, "The Hungry Ghost Festival" (Rialto). It was just the right piece for me as it has. along with the sentiment, the words "woollen scarves" in it - and that is typically thoughtful of Jen. I was "purring" loudly as I stood at the letter box and read it. Yes, it was on top! I wonder if the postman had read it too.
Do postman read postcards sometimes? I am sure they must. Postcards are like that. The words are there for everyone to see.
I sorted the rest of our mail as I went back into the house and there was the second postcard. This one was from my two nephews who are currently in Europe. It had been posted in Barcelona.
Sigh....I was just a little bit jealous. They have been away for several weeks now and are due home on Saturday. They have also had an "amazing" time and packed in more than even I believed they could pack in. No doubt they will want to sleep the clock around when they do come home. They said they have a great deal to share.
One of the things to share has been a visit Cyprus, the former home of their paternal grandfather. They went to the village "pappou" (as they call him) was born and brought up in and met other relatives. I know they had hesitated about going. Their Greek is very limited. They understand a little more than they can speak but it is not enough to communicate. It made no difference. They are the grandchildren of Yiannis? They were welcome. They were invited into his childhood home. They will have photographs for pappou and yia yia.
Next time, and they say there will be a next time if they can possibly manage it, they want to go to north of Scotland. That is where their great-great maternal grandfather came from and they are determined to see that in real life as well. They have seen pictures but they know that the picture you retain in your mind from the actual thing is so much more powerful.
Once letters and postcards were the chief means of correspondence from abroad. They would take weeks to arrive. They would be pages long, sometimes scrawled, sometimes elegantly constructed. Postcards were there for shorter communications and the invention of photography made them more interesting. People collected them, still do. Now there are many means of communicating from the most distant corners of the world.
But there is still something special about a postcard.