It was a cold and drizzling afternoon back in April along Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. My wife and I were in town overnight for a film festival as we darted in an out of the local shops. My wife can never pass up a bookstore and rightfully so. We came upon the Northshire bookstore and immediately went in, spending about an hour browsing. I’ve never been a really big book reader but the older I get I find myself enjoying it more. I’m very selective in what I read but that is part of the enjoyment. Anyway I came across this book “The VW Camper Van” a biography by Mike Harding. It was $7.98 so I figured what the heck. As a car guy I had always been fascinated by the camper van. As a matter of fact I stopped to look at one for sale along route 4 in Woodstock, VT last summer. In all honestly I think it would be neat to have one a trek across the States with it. In 2022 Volkswagen will be releasing a brand new all electric van. Hopefully my 2007 Ford will hold on until then??????
What I loved most about this book was the history and how the Volkswagen Bus all started in the bombed and burned out ruins of postwar Europe. How the camper van culture evolved and is still evolving. I did not realize how popular they still are across the pond. One downside to this book was that I felt the middle portion of this book dragged on a bit and the author was just trying to fill pages. I had to set it down for a bit and read another book in the interim. However the fun soon enough returned and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Some of the English words made me chuckle as well. You don’t hear the words Bloke or Lorry often here in the United States. It was a fun read and I recommend it if you happen to see it or can get it at your local library.
This weeks “Photo of the Week” comes from Katie Vaz a local artist from Candor, NY. Katie traveled to the northern Norway island of Kvaløya near the city of Tromsø to relax at Yggdrasiltunet a farmstead bed and breakfast. Please take a moment to visit Katie’s website either by clicking on her name or by following this link. http://www.katievaz.com
This weeks “Postcard of the Week” is a view of old cars. It was mailed to me by Ola who lives in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on February 25th 2013. This postcard traveled 4,473.
This weeks “Postcard of the Week” is a vintage linen Santa Fe Railway “Map” postcard which was mailed on September 8th 1944 in Gallup, New Mexico. It appears that “Bob” is in the United States Navy and there was no charge for postage. Here are some Wikipedia facts from September 1944.
- 1: Canadian troops capture Dieppe, France.
- 2: Allied troops enter Belgium.
- 3: Brussels is liberated by the British Second Army.
: Lyon is liberated by French and American troops.
- 4: A cease fire takes effect between Finland and the USSR.
: Operation Outward ends.
- 5: Antwerp is liberated by British 11th Armoured Division and local resistance.
: The uprising in Warsaw continues; Red Army forces are available for relief and reinforcement, but are apparently unable to move without Stalin’s order.
: United States III Corps arrives in European Theater.
: The Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourgish governments in exile sign the London Customs Convention, laying the foundations for the Benelux economic union.
- 6: The “blackout” is diminished to a “dim-out” as threat of invasion and further bombing seems an unlikely possibility.
: Ghent and Liège are liberated by British troops.
- 8: Ostend is liberated by Canadian troops.
: Soviet troops enter Bulgaria.
: The Belgian government in exile returns to Belgium from London where it has spent the war.
- 9: The first V-2 rocket lands on London.
: Charles de Gaulle forms the Provisional Government of the French Republic in France
: The Fatherland Front of Bulgaria overthrows the national government and declares war on Germany.
- 10: Luxembourg is liberated by U.S. First Army.
: Two Allied forces meet at Dijon, cutting France in half.
: First Allied troops enter Germany, entering Aachen, a city on the border.
: Dutch railway workers go on strike. The German response results in the Dutch famine of 1944.
- 11: United States XXI Corps arrives in European Theater.
- 12: The Second Quebec Conference (codenamed “Octagon”) begins: Roosevelt and Churchill discuss military cooperation in the Pacific and the future of Germany.
- 13: American troops reach the Siegfried Line, the west wall of Germany’s defence system.
- 14: Soviet Baltic Offensive commences.
- 15: American Marines land on Peleliu in the Palau Islands; a bloody battle of attrition continues for two and a half months.
- 16: The Red Army enters Sofia, Bulgaria.
- 17: Operation Market Garden, the attempted liberation of Arnhem and turning of the German flank begins.
: British and commonwealth forces enter neutral San Marino and engage German forces in a small-scale conflictwhich ends Sept. 20.
- 18: Brest, France, an important Channel port, falls to the Allies.
: Jüri Uluots proclaims the Government of Estonia headed by Deputy Prime Minister Otto Tief.
- 19: The Moscow Armistice is signed between the Soviet Union and Finland, bringing the Continuation War to a close.
: Nancy liberated by U.S. First Army
- 20: The Government of Estonia seizes the government buildings of Toompea from the German forces and appeals to the Soviet Union for the independence of Estonia.
: United States XVI Corps arrives in European Theater.
- 21: British forces take Rimini, Italy.
: The Second Dumbarton Oaks Conference begins: it will set guidelines for the United Nations.
: In Belgium, Charles of Flanders is sworn in as Prince-Regent while a decision is delayed about whether King Leopold III can ever return to his functions after being accused of collaboration.
: San Marino declares war on the Axis
: The Government of Estonia prints a few hundred copies of the Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) and is forced to flee under Soviet pressure.
- 22: The Red Army takes Tallinn, the first Baltic harbour outside the minefields of the Gulf of Finland.
: The Germans surrender at Boulogne.
- 23: Americans take Ulithi atoll in the Caroline Islands; it is a massive atoll that will later become an important naval base.
- 24: The Red Army is well into Poland at this time.
- 25: British troops pull out of Arnhem with the failure of Operation Market Garden. Over 6,000 paratroopers are captured. Hopes of an early end to the war are abandoned.
: United States IX Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.
- 26: There are signs of civil war in Greece as the Communist-controlled National Liberation Front and the British-backed government seem irreconcilable.
- 30: The German garrison in Calais surrenders to Canadian troops. At one time, Hitler thought it would be the focus of the cross-Channel invasion.
I purchased this postcard many years ago while visiting Bronner’s “Christmas Wonderland” in Frankenmuth, Michigan, it has to be my favorite of all time.
As a matter of fact I bought about 30 or 40 of these postcards and have sent them out over the years to family and friends. Sadly Bronner’s does not have this postcard anymore. This scan is from my personal collection.
Last holiday season I discovered “Christmas Blend” at our local coffee shop here in Binghamton, NY http://www.laveggiocoffee.com and I had to give it a try. If it says Christmas it has to be good, right! I purchased one pound and had them grind it for me as well, quickly becoming my favorite seasonal roast.
At the end of November this year I noticed on their website they would offer the ‘Christmas Blend” once again for the holidays along with two others, Holiday Blend and Yuletide. I promptly made my order! Having recently purchased a coffee grinder I opted for the whole bean.
The early morning light gleaming through our home office window, the ambient glow of four Christmas trees and a pipping hot cup of “Holiday Blend” and I’m in coffee heaven.
Lastly in the coming days the “Yuletide” roast will be released completing my holiday coffee addiction.
Do you have a favorite Holiday roast or coffee? I’d love to hear about it.
Christmas Blend: Chocolate, buttery mouth feel, candied fruit, spicy finish.
Holiday Blend: Orange & fudge.