Cast adrift?

As the ship of state that is our sovereign nation sails upon uncharted seas we of the Emporium peer into our crystal balls and other oracles of divination searching for signs and portents.

We see golden opportunities that lie in the future like those magical lands of yore. We know not where they are, but we feel there must be some about because in all the best old tales and sagas they positively litter the place.

There may be dragons and other strange beasts or there might not!

We know there could be reefs as sharp as a fishwife‘s tongue, as well as other dire fates that await the unwary with the implacable inevitability of a tax demand.

Who sodding well knows?

We do know that after twelve glorious years the appetite for our little sticky bits is still growing and thankfully we have enough verve and vigour to keep creating new ones.

You may forgive, my dear reader, if I continue my ‘nautical analogy‘ in this article. Fact is the ‘cosmic granny‘ took me to the seaside a few weeks ago and it awoke in the old breast that stirring of the heart that gets a chap as he stands on the prow looking to far horizons.

Now all right we stood on a pier, a small pier it might have been, but we were above dark and mysterious waters. I must also confess that the horizon I peered at from the pier was somewhat near and entirely taken up with Wales. Not great denizens of the deep you understand but that land of dear Reb‘s birth and seaweed sandwiches, Wales the country or principality; delete where applicable.

But the analogy holds good, as did my sailor hat and stick of rock.

If the Emporium were a ship it wouldn‘t be that tramp steamer of yore, nor the ‘Dirty British coaster with a salt–caked smoke stack‘, no I see it as some sleek four–masted clipper a bit like the ‘Cutty Sark‘ but afloat, not nailed to the dock side.

I see our brave captain, his beard crusted with the salt spray holding the helm with the help of the glorious Reb as they steer the ship, the wind behind her, billowing the sails like the well–filled blouse of Doris the barmaid in Uncle Tom‘s.

There are those in the rigging doing things with knots and singing in a ‘yo–ho–ho‘ sort of way. Our good friend ‘Steve James‘ comes to mind and others of you who might be arsed to read this as well. I‘ll not name names as I know this could cause embarrassment to some who might prefer that their ‘interest‘ in ropes, bollards and the horn–pipe is between me and them.

Below decks is the ‘cosmic granny‘, Isobel. She with her ledgers and quills; calculating and scribing whilst sipping medicinal brandy, bless her and our sweet Sarah, who stows the cargo and other essential tasks so efficiently.

And I dear reader? I am in the sodding crow‘s nest. Why crow‘s nest, you ask? Because it‘s full of shit and twigs, but there am I. Crouched down hiding from the elements smoking my pipe and sipping gin, safe in the knowledge that the stamps we are producing now are probably the best we have ever produced.

The designs, the care that goes into producing them and the dedication that goes into collecting them will see us right for another twelve years or twenty even.

Our ship sails on, you lot, you splendid dirty sea dogs, might feel you have been shanghaied but even so I hope you‘re enjoying the voyage as much as I am.

So ‘hey ho‘ and a ‘rumpety tum‘ something or the other, well done the lot of you.

Yours as ever



Welcome to the Shed

Fron here Bernard will pontificate on all sorts of things; some stampy and others unhinged subjects.

You can read Bernard and Isobel: The Early Years on the Cunning Artificer's blog.