Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Wretched Strangers

“Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage."

This particular child refugee, depicted on a Cyprus stamp commemorates the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. It shows a small, wide-eyed, hunched figure, sitting on a suitcase in front of barbed-wire. To me it looks like a child, but it could be any under-nourished and spiritually diminished victim of war or unrest. Sadly it’s an all too familiar sight today in our daily news, and I fear always will be so.

The Refugee Fund stamps appear on mail alongside other stamps as a way of ensuring that they are commemorated. This one, printed in 1993, sits alongside a stamp of an oak (one of a set of four printed in 1994), and although the date stamp cannot be read, the handwritten message includes the date it was written, so I’m pretty sure it was indeed 1994. It was posted to my parents, by my mother’s cousin, who was on holiday in Cyprus, and featured St Lazarus Church, Larnaca.

I had actually visited Cyprus for the first time two years earlier, as part of a group of headteachers and army welfare and families officers. We were were meeting the children and families of the Royal Green Jackets whose next posting was in Wiltshire, where my school was situated.

On our half-day sightseeing, I peered through the wall from the Cypriot side of the wall to the Turkish side. I also took pictures of the ‘Liberty Monument’ in Nicosia. which I found very moving. More details and pictures here.

Linking to Sunday Stamps II. 101 where today’s theme is ‘Children’ and to Sepia Saturday’s theme of ‘War and Peace'


  1. I remember walking through one of the villages that had been deserted on the Greek side, quite strange, only a few people still there.

  2. When we were in Scotland we saw a statue of a family forced to flee their homeland when the clan system was destroyed after the Jacobite uprising of 1745 with the Duke of Cumberland carrying out what today would be considered ethnic cleansing. It seems such things don't change and that is disheartening. On the bright side of things - I'm glad to see we're going back to weekly Sepia prompts although I did enjoy the monthly prompts as well...just a little disappointed in the response to our posts? Seems folks got a little lazy there for a while.

    1. Nothing to do with laziness Gail, just lack of inspiration. Alan and I had a ‘full and frank’ discussion at our ‘summit’. Rejoice that we have decided to keep it going a little while longer at least. Watch the Sepia Saturday page for a call for volunteers in the not too distant future. Some of us have been doing this for a long while!!

  3. Fascinating and so true and sad stamp... Sad that the world, we all, people, never seem to learn enough from history, thus history repeats and repeats..
    Thank you for sharing this stamp!

  4. It's heartbreaking to see such image on the stamp but thanks for sharing as issues like this definitely needs everyone's attention and action, even through small deeds to help ease the plight of the refugees.

  5. My memory of the Turkish invasion is when I was based at RAF Waddington, (and engaged to Little Nell) and the Vulcan bomber squadrons were withdrawn from Cyprus to RAF Waddington and RAF Scampton, which made for some pretty interesting times.

  6. A poignant stamp from Cyprus yhat reflects many of today' war torn countries.

  7. Interesting (although sad) stamp and post.

  8. Cyprus is but one example of many small places (and a few large ones too) torn apart by senseless violence. The idea of a divided island still baffles me.


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