To share with all of you my Faroese's stamps collection.
I don't, but I would like to... ... have one cover or postcard with post mark from each post office from Faroe Islands. They are not so many, but without you will not be possible. I'm waiting your feedback... and of course I will support the cost deliveries or I'll send you back some nice cover with stamps from Portugal.
The plant is widely known as red campion, while its botanical name is Silene dioica. Red campion is a member of the carnation family, of the genus Silene. In addition to the red campion, its relative the moss campion (Silene acaulis) grows on the Faeroe Islands. The Faroese name bjargablóma (mountain flower) is given to the flower because it is a mountain-dwelling wild flower that grows in attractive dense cushions with pink and occasionally white flowers. Only in the Faeroe Islands is the word ‘mountain’ linked to the plant’s name, so the Faroese name is accepted as being original. Red campion grows in steep rocky slopes and in inaccessible lower-mountain areas. Red campion is a rare plant. It is not found on any of the smaller islands or on Sandoy or Eysturoy. It is considered to be an indigenous Faroese plant, i.e. it was brought to the islands by the wind, ocean currents or birds and not by human activity. Red campion is an herbaceous perennial and can grow to just over a metre in height. It flowers in July. The vertical stalks grow from a slender, creeping stock. The plant has two kinds of hairy leaves. The upper leaves are pointed and without stalks while the lower leaves have long, winged stalks and are oval-shaped. The red and occasionally white petals are large and the flower has a central ring of flaps. Red campion is a dioecious species, with separate male and female plants. The male plant has a 10-veined calyx and the female plant has a 20-veined calyx. The fruit is an ovoid capsule that opens up at the apex with ten teeth, which curve back.
Wood Cranesbill, Geranium sylvaticum
The plant is widely known as Wood Cranesbill, its Faroese name “litingarsortugræs” (colour black grass) and its botanical name is Geranium sylvaticum. It is the only species of Cransebill found on the Faeroe Islands. Its Faroese name refers to the fact that the plant is used to make natural black dye. The Icelandic name also refers to the plant’s natural black dye. The name of the plant in other countries derives from the special five-sectioned stalk, which looks like the head and beak of a crane when the petals have fallen off. Hence its common Danish name “Storknæb” (storksbill). Similar plants in the same genus are commonly called cranesbills and heron’s bill. Storksbill grows on the Faroe Islands. It is considered to be an indigenous Faroese plant, i.e. it was brought to the islands by the wind, ocean currents or birds and not by human activity. It is not found on the smallest islands and is rarely found on Suðuroy or Sandoy but is common on Streymoy and Eysturoy. It grows on low-lying land and is never found growing on heights greater than 300 metres. It is a perennial plant that flowers in June and July. It can grow up to 50 cm in height and has a vertical stalk with long hairs at the top and short hairs at the bottom. The leaves are very large and divided into fine leaflets. The flowers are typically blue and sometimes red. Fully-grown, the flowers are 10–18 mm in diameter and grow in pairs. In general, the plant is dioecious. It has five blue or red petals, and the centre of the flower is light, almost white. The flower and seed pod is divided into five single fruits.
Forest Growth on the Faeroe Islands
Forests - not exactly what one associates with the Faeroe Islands - rather the contrary. The North Atlantic archipelago is known for its treeless appearance. Climatic and geographic conditions, human influence and centuries of sheep-breeding have left the islands practically treeless.
Forests of the Past
But it has not always been that way. If we go back to the volcanic period millions of years ago, we note that there have been periods of extensive forest growth. Charred wood residues, and prints from leaves and needles are found in the coal strata in Suðuroy and Mykines. These finds indicate more favourable times on the mini-continent, which the current Faeroe then were part of. Cypress, yew and juniper, giant sequoia and various kinds of deciduous trees - it's hard to imagine today.
After the Ice Age and the Settlement
When the Faroes were colonized, there were some natural woods on the islands. The only indigenous conifer was juniper, which is thought to have been quite common back then. Today this wood only appears in its original form, on the island Svínoy, but we have found roots of juniper in the peat layers on other islands as well.
Of deciduous trees were Dwarf Willow, Woolly Willow and Arctic Willow quite widespread, but Woolly Willow and the Arctic Willow are almost extinct because of the extensive sheep farming.
Birch has also grown wildly in the Faroe Islands since the last ice age, but rather dispersed - and disappeared after the colonization.
We also know that hazel has grown in the Faeroe Islands around year 1000, but whether it was a native Faroese tree or it was planted by the early settlers, is uncertain. The hazel tree disappeared again around the 13th century when the climate became colder.
There has, through time, probably always been a few trees at farms and in gardens on the Faroes, but not in any large scale. In 1885 there was an attempt to replant trees on a large scale outside Tórshavn, but this failed. In 1903 they tried again and this time it worked. This plantation became what we today call “Viðarlundin” in Tórshavn - a recreational area in a valley, which today is centrally located near Tórshavn City. In 1969 the plantation was expanded and again in 1979, and is now the biggest "forest" in the Faroes. Besides the plantation is also a grove surrounding the former TB sanatorium in Hoydalar, now high school, and on the field called Debesartrøð, where the Provincial Library and the Faroese University is located.
In December 1988 a violent hurricane-ravaged the islands. Wind speeds were up over 60 meters per second and the hurricane caused extensive damage on houses and trees. A very large proportion of the trees in the Plantation in Tórshavn were destroyed in the hurricane winds. The subject of the 10 DKK stamp depicts a cluster of these trees which are still lying on an incline. Extensive work has since been done to restore the plantation, and today it appears as a very beautiful area with young and old trees.
Besides in Tórshavn more plantations were planted in the early 20th century on the surrounding islands. In 1913, for example, the almost equally famous plantation in the small settlement Selatræ was planted, and the following year the plantation in the village Kunoy, which is depicted on the 12 DKK stamp. The plantation in Kunoy was originally larger than it is today, 17,000 square metres were planted - but today only approx. 7,800 square metres are covered by trees, and the grove is thus the smallest plantation in the islands. One oddity of the plantation in Kunoy is that it is planted around a giant rock, which in ancient times probably has fallen from the mountain Urðarfjall above the plantation. The rock, called Eggjarsteinur, can also be seen on the stamp.
There have since been planted several groves around the Faroes. In Vágur and Tvøroyri on Suðuroy - in the villages Miðvágur and Sandavágur on Vágoy - in Mikladalur on Kalsoy - and also the beautiful park, "Uti í Grøv", by the city Klaksvík on Borðoy.
Annika of Dímun killed her husband and took one of the farmhands as her lover. She was condemned to death because of her crime but managed to get three men on the island of Dímun to guard and protect her and prevent the authorities from capturing her. The island was defended for three years until one of the men betrayed her and Annika was captured and drowned in Tórshavn harbour.
There is some uncertainty as to the identity of the real Annika of Dímun. The legend says she was the daughter of the Sheriff and niece to the priest on Sandur. She may well have been, but even though her family were fine, they weren't necessarily good people because the legend explains that Annika's father lost her in a game of cards to a peasant on Dímun. Even though she was already engaged to another man she was forced to live on Dímun. If this is correct we can understand her desire to take revenge on her unwanted husband. But whether she actually did kill him is another question.
A woman named Anna Isaksdatter, was drowned in Tórshavn harbour in 1664. She had been condemned for incest, in her case because it was said she had borne children from two men who were brothers.
Jakob Jakobsen believes this was the very same Annika of Dímun. But the legend says nothing about incest and the court case says nothing about a murdered husband. But Jakob Jakobsen may well be correct, because legend is rarely reliable or without error. The death penalty was still imposed in the Faroe Islands in the 17th century. So that part could be correct.
The legend does not place the father in a favourable light and sympathies lie with Annika even though she killed her husband. Not only had the father lost her in a game of cards, he also mocked her. "What dress shall I wear?" she asked her father as she was taken to Tórshavn. "It doesn't matter," he is supposed to have said. "It's not a wedding you're invited to."
The legend's pity for her is evident in the way it describes how she cared for her son. When the men dragged her away she shouted that they must not forget to give her son his usual cup of morning milk.
It is notable that the woman is the only one among the men in the legend: her father the Sheriff, her peasant husband on Dímun, her lover who failed to defend the island well enough and not least the foreman of the men who came to take her away. A legend says that the foreman was her brother, who would have his own death penalty dropped if he could capture his sister.
Drowning Annika wasn't easy. Her beautiful flowing hair kept her afloat and so her plaits had to be cut before she drowned. The legend describes her as astonishingly beautiful, full of love for her son - a woman who was betrayed by those she trusted.
A sad fate indeed.
There are two places where it is possible to climb onto Dímun - at the east side of the island and on the west side. Two men guarded these locations.
Annika could defend the island for three years and no unwelcome visitor managed to get onto the island, be they the authorities or otherwise. But in the end, her guards failed her.
"The cat lies by the door dead, and can eat neither butter nor bread." So begins an old Faroese rhyme about a poor cat that is so in love that it has completely lost its appetite. Nobody knows when cats reached the Faroe Islands, or how many cats there are, as they aren't registered. Cats don't crop up much in Faroese historical records, though Clerk E.A. Bjørk writes in Færøsk bygderet (The Faroese Village) that a number of cats died in 1778 and 1779 as a result of cat plague.
Cats have lived around people for many thousands of years, and are the world's most popular pets. They're also the most popular pets on the Faroes. One reason that cats are so popular is that they fit in readily with a modern lifestyle. Cats don't need much care, can be left on their own, and pretty much look after themselves. A cat sat on the widow sill watching something or other with its large almond-shaped eyes for hours at a time is a familiar image. Cat owners have often speculated as to what the cat finds so interesting and what it is that only it can see outside. Puss in Boots is surely also a tale that's familiar to many. By using his cunning, Puss in Boots does no less for his poor owner than help him to the kingdom and the princess' hand.
The Faroese domestic cat is a small animal that is little different to wild cats. It's happiest when eating, sleeping and playing. It can stand high temperatures, loves the sun and the night and is clean and agile, which it is why it is said that it always lands on its feet. The domestic cat is a mixed race. Its hair is short and often features several patterns and colours - normally including white. The most common colouration is black and white, although tabby cats and brown cats are also common. Plus, they can be any thing from one colour to many or be striped. The majority of pure-bred cats on the Faroes are long-haired, such as the Norwegian Forest Cat, Birman, Maine Coon and Persian.
Cats are apt to arouse people's feelings. Some people are terrified of cats, and can sense them before they enter a house, other people will refuse to enter a house with a cat in it. In the Middle Ages the cat was associated with mysticism and evil, and black cats were associated with witches and killed as a result. In Ancient Egypt, however, cats were considered holy and were worshipped as gods. In Nordic mythology the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, Freyja, travels on a carriage pulled by two cats. Some think these were the predecessors of the Norwegian Forest Cat.
Cats arouse different feelings in different people because they have a charismatic personality all of their own. Cats are affectionate, mild, loyal and humble but can also be devious, mischievous and arrogant. As the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud once said, time spent with cats is never wasted. Cats can follow you around for an entire day, only to turn their back on you the day after. A cat can drive you mad, staring at you every evening with its searching eyes only to disappear from view for days at a time. Plus, having a live, furry, heat mat draped over you when it takes its time, relaxes completely and massages your soul with its peaceful purring song is real therapy.
There can't be many who are immune to the charms of the two begging eyes of a little round fluffy kitten, or the the dangerous begging eyes of Puss in Boots in the animated film Shrek. When these eyes look deep into you, you get the feeling that whatever they tell you is true. If at that point, a cat has decided to love you there's not much you can do. You don't own the cat but become part of its life; the cat could be said to own you! The cat has been a fixture in the lives of many families and has brought pleasure to child and adults alike, precisely because it is as it is. As renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci put it, "the smallest feline is a masterpiece."