Born in 1873 in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye (Yonne), Sidonie Gabrielle Colette lived there until her marriage in 1893 to Henri Gauthier-Villars, dit Willy. It was he who encouraged her to write the series of four Claudine (1900-1904). Divorced in 1906, she became a mime while continuing to write — novels or memories: Les Vrilles de la vigne, La Vagabonde, Dialogues de Bétes, La Retraite sentimentale or L ‘Envers du music-hall. She contributed articles to Le Matin, where she married the editor-in-chief, Henri de Jouvenel, in 1912. Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium (1936) and of the Goncourt Academy (1 944), she died in Paris in 1954. her style and the scope of her work, she ranks among the best writers of the 20th century. Colette frequented the Cöte d’Azur a lot and in particular Monaco, which she said in 1950 that it was the “only country whose borders are flowers”.

Åland – Garden Berries

Åland Post issues a new series of self-adhesive franking labels on 4 January 2023. The theme is garden berries, and Finnish artist Mari Oksanen illustrates her first postal labels showing delicate berries that are grown in Åland gardens. 

 The four berry varieties shown on the franking labels are black currants (Ribes nigrum), raspberries (Rubus idaeus), gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) and strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa). 

The issue marks Mari’s debut as a stamp artist, and she immediately fell for the illustration assignment: 

“Creating something for the small space was a challenge; to make the motifs appear rich in detail yet simple enough to strike the viewer’s eye. I really enjoy working with flora and fauna related objects and design organic forms, so the garden berries were well within my comfort zone. The idea of giving the berries different moods and personalities came to me almost immediately, and I appreciated being encouraged to create playful and colourful labels rather than realistic images. The black currants look a bit mischievous and secretive, the raspberries are wild rascals, while the gooseberries are the gentle sweethearts among thorns. The strawberry is the juicy one, basking in sunlight,” Mari explains. 

With the self-adhesive franking labels, the customer chooses the denomination, and you can purchase the labels by mail order from Stamps or at the post offices in Mariehamn or Sviby. 

Malta – Christmas 2022 – Santa’s Workshop

For Christmas 2022, MaltaPost has issued two stamps together with a miniature sheet which also bears two stamps within it. Set as “Santa’s Workshop”, the miniature sheet was designed by Fabio Agius, a long-time staff member of the company. The busy workshop is set inside a wintry landscape as Santa busies himself reading a letter in front of a roaring fire. Elves are painting toys and packing sacks ready for their Christmas Eve delivery, while garlands, wreaths, candy sticks and bells animate the cosy scene. The two stamps depict Santa in his chair with one of the elves opening a shiny red letterbox.