Pandemic diary 95: Postcards from the edge… of Essex

My top five of 35.

For a bit of light relief after recent posts I thought I'd write about a lovely thing that has been happening once a week every week since last October.

Every Thursday/Friday a postcard pops through my door.

The picture on the front might be of a bronze sculpture, a Renaissance painting, an architectural icon, art by a well-known artist (O'Keefe, Van Gogh, Picasso), a cigar box label, a safe sex ad campaign, an 'F', religious iconography, cowgirls, Kabuki, vintage luggage label… Anything goes. I never know – and that is the beauty of it.

The postal postcards so far – although a baby's Octobering invite has also crept in there (black and gold)

The postcards are from one of the most interesting ladies you could ever hope to meet. Let's call her A. I stayed with her and Pete's uncle while visiting coastal Essex for GILF Island last September. We hit it off – I am in awe of her full life and stories to rival even John Mostyn's (another friend who's led a life worthy of an autobiography).

While there I discovered we had many things in common and one in particular: a postcard collection. Mine are all travel-themed but hers reflect a lifetime of eclectic mementos, going back 50 years. It's a life in postcards.

Rather than keep them unadmired in a box, she's sending them out to (I think) three friends weekly over the year until they run out. When I expressed an interest, I got added to the list.

Each week has a different theme, eg, animals, nude ladies, the American Southwest, family/friends, textiles, portraits, statues, Mexican California, calligraphy, church interiors, winged creatures.

I've received 35 so far – and my favourite one is a Mexican Day of the Dead skeleton couple by celebrated folk artist Javier Ramos Lucano, followed by Albrecht Durer's beautiful Field Hare (pictured top).

It's a little bit of loveliness in the post when these days it's all junkmail and bank statements on the mat.

Maybe I'll do the same one day. Maybe this collection will inspire someone else to start their own collection of random items. Maybe postcards will make a comeback. Maybe I'll send out some more diary snippets into the world one day after this 'pandiary' ends. Maybe maybe maybe.

I'm sure collecting and diary writing go hand in hand – it's all about the collecting of memories, after all. But how lovely to set them free and gift them to others.


Today I am thankful for The Artefact Quiz. Fun times once again. What other quiz makes you post photos of your fridge and scores you on out-of-date items, mustard, fake milk, medicine and more?

Also, we won. Team 'Living La Vida Lockdown' (or Living La Visa Lockdown as my autocorrect said) came first with 96 points, probs because we had all the mustards in our fridges. There's no prize but no one cares.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]