1) My kids quoting back bits of the Royal Institution’s #xmaslectures whilst at the dinner table.
2) My youngest, Ciaran, starting a stamp album.
The latter came about because Horrid Henry took an interest in a rare stamp called the Purple Dragon. Suddenly the questions were flying think and fast.
“Dad, is the Purple Dragon a real stamp?”
“Dad, what’s the most expensive stamp in the world?”
“Dad, what’s the rarest stamp in the world?”
“Dad, did you collect stamps as a kid?”
Thanks to Google I was able to give him some sort of answer to the first few questions and then I admitted that yes I dabbled in philately as a kid but that my stamp albums were probably in the attic at Granny and Grandad’s house.
About a week later on arrival at Granny and Grandad’s house the first question was, “Grandad, can I look at Daddy’s stamp album?”. A bit of routing around by my dad resulted in little Ciaran spending the rest of the day staring at 4 battered old albums (two of which belonged to my dad). When we left a couple of days later we brought them all home with us.
The albums were in a bit of a state. There was a pile of stamps that had fallen out and were loose and a few pages in one album that were showing some signs of damage. The little one and I talked through what we might need to do to sort out the mess. I knew at the very least I’d have to move some stamps in to a new album and/or do a bit of a temporary repair job on some of the battered pages. So, after a bit of discussion Ciaran decided that he wanted to build up an album of his own.
His older brother was most put out on Bank Holiday Monday. He couldn’t play on the Wii because Ciaran wanted to go into town there and then to go shopping? to get … stamp hinges?
As well as the hinges we picked up, a new album and an assorted pack of stamps featuring sports themes to start his collection. I’d already decided that it might be a nice idea if the first few pages of Ciaran’s collection covered the Olympics as my dad had a couple of pages set out like this in one of his albums which needed attention and we had just entered 2012, an Olympic year. We managed to get sheets together for 1972 Munich, 1980 Moscow which looked pretty good and cobbled a few stamps together for a few other games (although there’s a noticeable absence because I think I stopped collecting stamps just before the 1984 Games).
Ciaran came in from school this evening and went straight to his album to look at his stamps. I wonder how long it will last?
Also I wonder what it will be like to collect stamps in the internet age. The last time I collected stamps was more than twenty years ago. Things have moved on as the following tweet reminded me:
Masai warrior on smart phone with access to Google has better access to information than U.S. president did just 15 years ago
— Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) January 1, 2012
P.S. Google Googles seems to work on some stamps, e.g. scanning a Penny Lilac worked and took me straight to the Wikipedia page, but it struggled with a Penny Red thinking it was a Penny Black.