Virginia Barton

1 September 2017: Wish you were here! :0)

1 September 2017


Would you rather be Tweeted, Snapchattered, emailed, or Facebooked? Or would you prefer to receive a picture postcard?

Remember them?  The Parthenon at sunset perhaps, or a questionable joke from Blackpool; Van Dyke’s King Charles  on horseback or the other Van’s Sunflowers? Or d’u luv txt w/emojis incl. clapping hands à la Pres. DT?

See how easy it is to fall into the habit (guilty); it doesn’t take a moment, very little thought and is as cheap as chips. You cannot seriously collect emojis and stick them in an album, and you certainly won’t be re-reading tweets when you’re my age.


Postcard sales are declining, in some places you cannot get them at all. What a shame. The average number of words on a postcard is roughly 150; but with care, you can fit a short letter. Take a look at this one from 1927! (described here.)

The amount of information depends on the size of the writing and what you actually want to say. By contrast the title of this Commonplace consists of four words. If top’d and tail’d it would add only another six:

Darling Mugsie
Wish you were here!
xx Munchkin

Munchkin really did wish Mugsie was there; why otherwise go to the bother and expense of choosing the card, writing it, finding a post office to buy a stamp and posting it?

It is of course, much quicker and easier to send a photo with two or three words from the ‘phone that is apparently stitched to your hand. But I doubt all those ‘photos are kept or printed out. Do you even save them, with date and place? Sometimes.


Nearly every book I own has a postcard in it. The cookery books are stuffed with them, spattered with gravy, blotted with butter.

Reaching out to the bookcase beside my computer I have picked out nine pc’s: a portrait of Christ with Arms Folded by Rembrandt, sent from NY (with 2 smashing stamps); two views, one from Spain and one from Germany; three repros of book covers in the Ladybird series and one botanical painting from the Aboca Museum. That makes seven. The last two cards are printed on cartridge paper, flowers by Jane Wedmore, one of whose paintings appears in Beloved Snaila picture I hope you have noticed. (nb plug for book..)

Is it a generational thing, I wonder? Of the 15 grandchildren only one has sent a card from hols. this year, of Highland cattle. Plenty of pics from ‘phones which of course we love and are better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick. But these are awkward to share; BH always thumbs the image to oblivion and I find them too small to really see properly.

Gosh I hope none of the 15 darlings read this!

“No worries Gran, it’s FAR too long…”
:o(  :o(






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