Penpalling & Letters

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Post Vehicles

Some time ago I posted about "Mailboxes" and "Post Offices". The idea was to collect pictures of mailboxes and post offices from countries all over the world and show them in the Penpalling & Letters albums so everybody can check them.

Every national Post service has a symbolic colour shown in mailboxes in the streets, in the post offices and in the vehicles they use to carry the mail. Also, any of them are that similar from one country to another even if the concept is the same.

This time I would like to start collecting pics of post vehicles, so if you would like to show us how vehicles to carry the post in your country look like it is very easy: just send me the pics and I will upload them in the corresponding album. The album is named "Post Vehicles" and you can check it on the right area of the Blog, under "Mail and Pics" section.

If you are interested in participating, send me an e-mail enclosing your name/nickname, city where you took the pic and country you come from to: penpallingandletters[at]gmail[dot]com

Here it is the link to the album where you can check the pics:

"Post Vehicles"

If you still would like to send pics of mailboxes or post offices of your country, they are still welcome. They will be uploaded to the following albums as soon as possible:

"Mailboxes around the world"

"Post Offices around the world"

If you are looking for advice on penpalling check: "Tips on letter writing".

Friday, 19 November 2010

Amarna letters

A few days ago I was reading about archaeology and I got to know about the existence of the "Amarna letters", written in the times of the ancient Egypt. We had already discussed that the art of writing and correspondence dates from those ancient times: Mail Trivia I and Mail & History I. However, I found fascinating to read about these letters and get to know all these information about them. Besides, isn't it wonderful that they made their way through so many centuries and we still have them nowadays so we can see how they are? I thought I would share the article here, in P&L. Below you can see where it was extracted from. Enjoy the reading!

The Amarna letters, "Amarna correspondence" or "Amarna tablets" are an archive of mostly diplomatic correspondence written on clay tablets, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom.
The letters were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna, the modern name for the Egyptian capital of Akhetaten (Akhetaton), founded by pharaoh Akhenaten (Akhnaton) during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt.

The Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, being mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia rather than ancient Egypt. The known tablets currently total 382 in number, 24 further tablets having been recovered since the Norwegian Assyriologist Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon's landmark edition of the Amarna correspondence, "Die El-Amarna-Tafeln" in two volumes (1907 and 1915). The correspondence spans a period of, at most, thirty years.

These letters, consisting of cuneiform tablets mostly written in Akkadian – the regional language of diplomacy for this period – were first discovered by local Egyptians around 1887, who secretly dug most of them from the ruined city (they were originally stored in an ancient building archaeologists have since called the Bureau of Correspondence of Pharaoh) and then sold them on the antiquities market. Once the location where they were found was determined, the ruins were explored for more. The first archaeologist who successfully recovered more tablets was William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 1891–92, who found 21 fragments. Émile Chassinat, then director of the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, acquired two more tablets in 1903. Since Knudtzon's edition, some 24 more tablets or fragments of tablets have been found, either in Egypt, or identified in the collections of various museums.

The tablets originally recovered by local Egyptians have been scattered among museums in Cairo, Europe and the United States: 202 or 203 are at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin; 80 in the British Museum; 49 or 50 at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo; 7 at the Louvre; 3 at the Pushkin Museum; and 1 is currently in the collection of the Oriental Institute in Chicago.

The full archive, which includes correspondence from the preceding reign of Amenhotep III as well, contained over three hundred diplomatic letters; the remainder are a miscellany of literary or educational materials. These tablets shed much light on Egyptian relations with Babylonia, Assyria, the Mitanni, the Hittites, Syria, Canaan, and Alashiya (Cyprus). They are important for establishing both the history and chronology of the period.

Map of the ancient Near East during the Amarna period, showing the great powers of the period: Egypt (green), Hatti (yellow), the Kassite Kingdom of Babylon (purple), Assyria (grey), and Mittani (red). Lighter areas show direct control, darker areas represent spheres of influence. The extent of the Achaean/Mycenaean Civilization is shown in orange.

[Information taken from History of Science]

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to address an envelope

When interested in writing letters, there is the need to learn how to address an envelope. Why is it so important to know how to do it? Remember that the envelope is what your new penpal is going to see first, therefore, the first impression of your new friend on you. Also, take care when writing names and addresses of both sender and addressee. If you want your letter to make its way to your new pal, the address should be correct and also complete. Try to write neatly and clearly, this way not only your penpal will get a good impression, but everything will be in order at the postal service and the delivery of the letter will be satisfactory.

To address correctly an envelope, there are different possibilities depending on the country. In the English-speaking world these are the steps to follow:

- Return address: it is written on the upper left corner of the envelope as it can be seen in the pic.

- Delivery address: it is located in the centre of the envelope as presented in the image.

In both the return address and the delivery address you have to write the sender's name or the recipient's name in the first line. In the second line of the address the name of the street, street number and house/flat/apartment number. If the address is a post office box number (P.O. Box) replace the name of the street, street number and house/flat/apartment number for it in the second line of the address. In the third line you have to write the postal code (a series of numbers or numbers and letters depending on the country) and the name of the city. Finally, in the last line of the address you have to write the country where the letter is addressed to.

- Postage: the correct postage has to be attached in the upper right corner of the envelope as shown in the pic.

In Spain, the return address is located in the other area of the envelope as it can be seen in the images. Both the delivery address and the postage are situated in the same place on the envelope as described before.


- The envelope is always going to be the first impression your pal will get of you.
- To write the complete address correctly, so the letter can be delivered withouth any problem.
- To write neatly and clearly, so the address can be understood.
- To write the return and delivery addresses before putting the contents inside the envelope. This way, if you bear down on the pen, you avoid to leave a trace of it over the letter-papers.
- It is recommendable to use water proof ink as mail can be damaged or get wet during the process of sending/delivery.
- To attach the correct postage on the envelope to make sure the letter arrives.

Would you like to write a letter and learn how to structure it? Check the following tip: "How to write a letter"

If you are looking for advice on penpalling check: "Tips on letter writing"

Friday, 12 November 2010

Sandbook Penpalling Magazine is here!

Finally, the Sandbook Magazine was published on the 11th of November, coinciding with the second anniversary of Sandbook.Net Penpal and Swappers Site. The magazine is not on paper, but on digital format. If you are interested in reading it from the beginning to the end, you only have to check this link: Sandbook Magazine and download it from there to your PC. Get a nice cup of tea or coffee and enjoy reading the stories that Sandbook Magazine is offering us!

Do you like what you are reading? Are you interested in taking part in future magazines? Then check: "What to do to participate in Sandbook Magazine" and maybe your contribution will be published in the next issues.

Below you can see the topics of this first issue. Are you eager to read more? Go directly to Sandbook Magazine and get it now! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Who was sending her a small bunch of violets every 9th of November?

She was happy in her marriage,
even if her husband was the very same devil
The man had a bit of a bad temper
and she was complaining he never was very affectionate

For longer than three years now
she receives letters from a stranger
Letters full of poetry
which have brought her happiness back

Who was writing verses to her? Tell me who was he...
Who was sending flowers to her in spring?
Who was sending her, every 9th of November,
as always, withouth a card, a small bunch of violets?

Sometimes she dreams and imagines
how this person who steems her so much will be
Would he be a man with grey hair
open smile and showing tenderness in his hands?

She doesn't know who is he, she suffers in silence
Who could be her secret love?
And she's living like this day after day,
with the illusion of being loved

Who was writing verses to her? Tell me who was he...
Who was sending flowers to her in spring?
Who was sending her, every 9th of November,
as always, withouth a card, a small bunch of violets?

And every evening, when his husband was back
tired of working, he looks at her out of the corner of his eye
He does not say anything because he does know everything
He knows she is happy this way

Because he is the one who writes verses to her
he is her lover, her secret love
And she, that does not know anything,
looks at her husband and remains in silence

Who was writing verses to her? Tell me who was he...
Who was sending flowers to her in spring?
Who was sending her, every 9th of November,
as always, withouth a card, a small bunch of violets?

Hope you enjoyed listening to this song "Un ramito de violetas" (A small bunch of violets). The lyrics are in Spanish but tried to do a translation to English so you could get an idea what it is about. Cecilia is the author of this touching song. She was a Spanish singer and songwriter whose real name was Evangelina Sobredo Galanes. She actually took her stage name from the song "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel.

Cecilia was born in Madrid, but being the daughter of diplomats, spent her childhood in several countries. She got a Bachelor degree in Law before deciding to dedicate herself to music and composition. Her ironic and lyrical songs contributed to the existentialist and feminist movements of Spanish "canción protesta" ("protest songs") of the 1960s and 1970s.

She represented Spain in the OTI Festival in 1975 with the song "Amor de Medianoche" ("Love of Midnight"). Sadly, she died in a road accident when she was only 27. After her death there have been posthumous compilations and a re-edition of her songs sung by famous artists.

I have always enjoyed listening to this song as well as to "Dama, dama" ("Lady, lady") and "Mi querida España" ("My dear Spain"). I thought that today it is the perfect date to present this song; a song which also speaks about letters...

Friday, 5 November 2010

The City of Sudbury in Ontario, Canada

Finally we are changing continents today! Until now, all the adventures belonging to Travelling around the World sharing Cultural Heritage, Folklore and Background section took place in Europe, but today we are leaving the "Old World" to visit America. We are exactly located in east-central Canada, in the province of Ontario as Lyndsi is going to tell us about her homecity, Sudbury. Lyndsi has always liked postcards and collects them since she was little. She has been a Postcrossing member for nearly two years, too. Some interests of hers are music, writing, photography and travelling.

Hello Lyndsi! Welcome to Penpalling & Letters! Could you tell us where exactly Sudbury is?

Sudbury is located in northern Ontario, Canada. It is located within the boreal forest, so we've got a ton of trees, forests and lakes. Actually, there is a huge, beautiful lake right in the middle of the city.

What is the climate in the area?

We get fairly hot summers (20-28ºC) and extremely cold winters! The coldest winter that I have ever experienced was -60ºC. However, on average, winters usually will get as cold as -30ºC.

How many people do live in Sudbury nowadays?

In the city of Sudbury itself there are about 92,000 people. But a few years ago, the municipal government decided to take all the small towns surrounding Sudbury and make it one big city called Greater Sudbury which has a population of approximately 160,000.

Do you know when it was founded? Can you tell us some facts about its foundation?

Sudbury was founded in 1883 and wasn't called Sudbury at the time. It was actually called Sainte-Anne-des-Pins (Saint Anne of the Pines). It was originally a lumber and railroad town. When the workers were blasting some of the land to make room for more railroads, they found a large amount of nickel-ore. In 1893 Sudbury became known as Sudbury and it has been a mining city ever since!

Do you know why is it called "Sudbury"?

I sure do! Sudbury is called Sudbury after the hometown of the wife of one of the men who were working for the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR), who came from Sudbury in Suffolk, England.

What do people do for a living?

Sudbury is still primarily a large mining town, so a big majority of the jobs are surround the mine. Of course, we've got a University, two Colleges, and some government buildings.

Which are the remarkable features of the city?

I would have to say Lake Ramsey. We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful lake within our city. It is one of the main places that people go to when they come to Sudbury. It is especially beautiful in fall.

Do you have interesting monuments, museums, worship places, ancient buildings, parks... worth to be mentioned?

Well, I'm not sure if you would consider this to be a monument, but at one of the main mines, there is a giant "smoke stack" which is called "The Superstack". You can see it from everywhere in the city, and even quite a way outside of the city. Also, a couple of years ago, construction was working on rebuilding a bridge, which is now known as the "The Bridge of Nations". It has a flag on it from every country that people who live in Sudbury have come from. It's actually really nice. We've also got "The Big Nickel". It is a huge monument of a nickel which is to represent Sudbury's history as a mining community.

What are the attractions for tourists in Sudbury?

The lake, of course, is a major one. We've also got a science museum called "Science North". It is shaped like a snowflake, and it shows a lot of different interesting things that have been found in Sudbury, like animals, space stations, and all sorts of things. We've also got another called "Dynamic Earth". You can actually go underground here and see what it would be like to work in the mine.

How are the landscapes around the city?

Sudbury is a very rocky city. Billions of years ago, Sudbury was hit by a meteorite, so we live in what is known as “"Sudbury Basin". That is the reason why it is so rocky, and why there are so many minerals that are found in Sudbury. Nickel by far is the most common, and Sudbury is the Nickel capital of the world.

Which sports are practiced? Do you have some important teams?

Sudbury is a huge hockey town. We've got a city team called "The Sudbury Wolves" which travel all across Ontario and through some states playing.

Lyndsi, thank you very much for this interesting presentation of your city! Hope everybody enjoyed reading it! See you in our next trip around the world!

Note: If someone is interested in participating in this section, contact me and we will work on it!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Mail Trivia VII

Did you know that...

in Australia, Canada and the United States, mail is commonly used both for the postal system and for letters, postcards and parcels? In New Zealand, post is more common for the postal system and mail for the material delivered. In the United Kingdom, post prevails in both senses.

Curiously, the British postal service is called Royal Mail, while the American, Australian, and Canadian national postal services are called, respectively, United States Postal Service, Australia Post, and Canada Post.

Also, such fixed phrases as post office or junk mail are found throughout the English-speaking world.