Simon Reports…normal Meetings resume

Between March 2020 and mid-September 2021, our society went online with regular Zoom meetings. The packet in lockdowns was suspended but since March has circulated very satisfactorily to all concerned, as rising, indeed record, sales indicate.

With a risk-assessment of the Rose Hill Methodist Church Hall and Covid-safe measures in place, like the draught of open doors and windows, the society reopened for business. It was agreed that the society donate £150 to the church’s extra cleaning costs incurred by Covid. A few additional philatelic additions, like signing a register of attendees and not congregating around a specific frame of stamps, added to our safety and built confidence that we can return to some normality.

The first meeting concentrated on AGM business over the past difficult period, the paying of our subscription and some Bringing and Buying. 24 members attended, close to half our membership, including new members gathered during the online displays of the previous months.  Your reporter was duly elected as President and Paul Dickinson as VP.  With a strong set of officials, the society continues to be in rude health.

After the AGM there was a lot of tea/coffee and biscuits consumed amongst the chat and organised philatelic lucky dip/lucky sort. No matter the country, the period or the theme being collected, the return of the boxes of 5p stamps and 20p covers proved how much many of us have missed a good rummage.  Digging and delving, getting your eye in and spotting, picking and choosing nuggets of paper is a satisfying skill!

At the next meeting, having missed his opportunity to show his own Presidential display during the earlier part of the year’s lockdown, David Potts presented, Austria since 1933: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous? Ranging from the noted charity stamps to contemporary corporate sponsorships, and with a handout to accompany the very model of a measured, interesting talk, we were all grateful for a real three-dimensional display.

The society looks forward to a full, exciting, in person, normal season ahead, with Zoom as our backup if we need to.

Dr Simon Heap

Indoor Meetings to resume on Monday13th September!

David has had the good news from Rosehill Methodist Church that the premises are now available for lettings. All hirers are required to produce a Covid-19 Risk Assessment and following discussions with the church steward  , David produced a draft for discussion at a special OPS Committee meeting  held in the church on 17 August. This was approved by the Committee.  It includes using a hand dispenser on arrival and signing an attendance register to say that you have not had any Covid  symptoms within the last seven days .Thought has been given to distancing between seats and adequate ventilation. Wearing of masks is recommended . Regular cleaning between bookings is  the responsibility of the church who have had to employ a cleaner. 

On 13th September, we are planning to hold a short AGM for 2020-2021 to vote in the President and Committee Officers, to agree the Treasurer’s Report and collect the proposed reduced subscription of £5 for 2021-2022. David will be sending round the AGM reports, the audited accounts and the Membership pack within the next two weeks, together with a letter explaining any new Covid-related procedures. We will be having the customary “Bring and Buy” as well.

The website page “Our Current Programme” has been made current at last. We have not planned any more Zoom sessions between now and September. I am pleased to have been able to host them and delighted that we have been able to welcome five new Members since July 2020.

Looking forward to a real Meeting…cheers, Priscilla.

Summer Zoom Meetings And Future Prospects…

Zoom Meetings are scheduled for Monday evenings (7,30 p.m.) on 5th July, 19th July, 2nd August and 16th August, ID 693 819 5805 (passcode 928886) as usual. You should have this listed in the dropdown box of your “Join Meeting” page by now!

On Monday 5th July at 7.30 p.m., Julian will be showing us a display of WW2: Guernsey Philately under the German Occupation. As this will no doubt give rise to questions and conversation, please arrive promptly…we might have to overrun our 40 minutes! After the Meeting, I will add Julian’s beautifully written-up pages to our website SLIDESHOWS page for the benefit of our non-Zoomers…many thanks again!

David watched an inspiring Zoom display by Simon Martin-Redman, hosted by the Henley Philatelic Society (9th June) on “The aesthetics of Stamp Collecting” and was so impressed that he has put together 9 or so pages on the similar theme, “Stamp Presentation as an Art Form”, which he will show us on 19th July.

Simon is offering a display of ‘Wild Shrimps and Wilder Perforations” on 2nd August…any guesses? (think Nigeria). If you have any scanned material that you would like to display at our Zoom Meetings, or even just add to our web pages for general interest, please contact me.

David reports that he has spoken with the senior steward at Rose Hill Methodist Church,  Jeremy Dawe, who confirmed that there is no change to the current situation, i.e. the buildings continue  to be only used for church services and the Wednesday food bank.  If after 19 July the Government  removes  all or most restrictions, the Rosehill  Church will then have to follow the  hiring instructions issued by the Methodist  Church  to all its congregations. Jeremy confirmed that the roof repairs had been completed — but recent heavy rain has produced some problems. We all hope that the Rooms will be available to us on 13th September, when we would hold a brief AGM and all enjoy some stamp “bring and buy” and conversation!

See you on Monday 5th July….Priscilla.


June 21st…”Freedom day”? No…wait until July 19th.

Our Zoom Meeting on 21st June will be a pre-AGM Committee Meeting at 7.30 p.m. It looks more likely that the AGM will have to be a Zoom Meeting as well, but we can always hope!

At our 7th June Zoom, Simon H. showed us an esoteric collection of specimen stamps of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands 1910-1946. I gather that the world postal authorities sell these off every so often to provide some income, but generally they are hard to come by, therefore of some collecting value…Simon showed great enthusiasm for his collection! We have had Zoom meetings on May 17th and May 3rd as well, where various members have demonstrated new interests and shown their recent acquisitions. We are pleased to have been invited to join the Henley Society at Zoom talks given by visiting speakers…contact Anne Stammers at their website for more information (see “links” on the left of your screen). Meanwhile, the ABPS has published its Summer Newsletter, in which we have an OPS write-up, and David Potts can email it to you if he hasn’t done so already (it won’t be published on the ABPS website for a couple of months).

Tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh

As a holder of the Gold Award of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, I would fully agree that participation at age 16-18 was very formative and I have reaped the benefits of knowledge of our world, social skills and interests acquired at that time. It is only a small thing that I can do but, trawling through my “hobbyist” commonwealth stamps, I have come up with a couple of pages where I feel that Prince Philip appears to be the subject of the stamp either equally or more than the Queen:

The ones of Prince Philip with a beard are my favourite, but perhaps that is because they also have wild scenery!

This is only a small selection of the “Award” stamps to celebrate the 25th Anniversary in 1981, because of my rather slow style of collecting. However, it is enough to illustrate the different sections of the Award. The media tend to concentrate on the physical activities, but one could opt out of these by getting involved with doing a “worthwhile project” for a week or taking some instructive “design for living” course. The Service section was very important and lasted a full year…the residential qualification was a week of social interaction away from one’s parents!

It is a gorgeous sunny day outside and the Committee has decided that today will be the last of our 4.15 p.m. Zoom Meetings. If anyone would like to bring some more stamps to show…or just to exchange news, the please turn up on the usual ID and Passcode. Meetings in Future will be held at 7.30 p.m. on Monday evenings, starting from 3rd May, which is also a Bank Holiday.

Cheers, Priscilla

P.S. Only six of us turned up, but we were rewarded with some interesting Gilbert and Ellis Islands covers from Simon H. (see “Slideshows”) and David P. showed some recently acquired Russian stamps, which have filled in gaps in his Lenin commemorative collection. I also did my D. of E. tribute, because no-one had looked at the website!

Remember that our next meeting is on 3rd May at 7.30 p.m.

Committee Meeting on 12th April, 4.15 p.m.

The Committee will meet to consider the draft 2021-2022 season’s Programme, assuming that we can return to having indoor Meetings by September. We will also review the activities of OPS during this last year and consider lessons learned and changes that we could make. Much depends on news from Rose Hill Methodist Church! Your Treasurer will propose one year only of a much reduced subscription, to reflect our much reduced spending during this financial year.

I propose that our next two general Zoom Meetings should be on April 19th and two weeks later on May 3rd. Perhaps the Committee will think of rustling up a surprise display for May?!

Cheers, Priscilla

Stamp Packet circulation to resume on 29th March

We enjoyed a fine display of the George Vth “Seahorses” stamps on 15th March. I had no idea that there could be so much interest and history associated with a single design stamp: from speculation as to the inspiration for the design, to the different printers involved in its production, the overprints for the Levant, Morocco, Bechuanaland and Nauru and the associated Colonial history…thank you Julian! You can now view the display on our SLIDESHOWS page.

We decided that our next Zoom Meeting will be on Monday 29th March at 4.15 p.m., with our usual meeting ID 693 819 5805 Passcode 928886 (to save you rolling back a few posts). “Recent Aquisitions” is the topic. Monday 29th March is also the day when some of the Lockdown restrictions in England are being lifted. As we will be allowed to travel again, we have decided that the Packet Circulation can resume using the ground-rules that we had in place last summer. In particular, you should check in advance that the next person on the list is willing and able to receive it on their doorstep. Social distancing must be maintained and no signature will be needed. Each box will contain a printed sheet outlining the necessary procedures.

Alan reminded us all that Stampex will be “virtual” again this year and will take place between 25th and 27th March inclusive. The web site at: gives details and how to register etc. The programme of talks is at : The non-competitive virtual exhibition is open until 30 April. I believe that Alan has put in an entry…probably some aspect of Japan, knowing him!

Cheers, Priscilla.

Seahorses on March 15th…

Thank you all for your good wishes after my op…I am well on the road to recovery, being able to walk out for an hour a day without tiring. I’m particularly pleased that the Meeting hosted by Julian went well and that there was enough time available to enable Tony to answer questions. I will be hosting the Zoom meeting on Monday on the usual ID/Passcode. Julian has offered to show us his seahorses and I’d be pleased to see anyone’s recent acquisitions and hear your news if time permits. Meanwhile, here is a glimpse of what I have been doing over the last month:

These are these are the stamps that Mike P. gave me at Christmas, sorted by country. There are about 163 different postal authorities represented and I have been busily filing all these in my stock books, noting about 500 new stamps. What a brilliant way restfully to pass the hours and at the same time to review my entire collection, which has little value except to myself! Cheers, Priscilla.

1st March 2021…Tony Stanford Presents:-

Julian has kindly offered to host our next Zoom Meeting, when Tony will be presenting a display on “The  Morocco Agencies overprints of GB stamps”. Zoom invitations have been sent out with the new Meeting ID and Passcode. If you haven’t had one and want to join us, please contact Alan Cowie for the details. This is our first venture into having a visiting speaker (from Maidenhead and District PS)…we welcome Tony and thank him for this opportunity!

Alan reports on OPS Zoom Meeting, afternoon of 1st Feb 2021

Another pleasant and interesting meeting with 11 members partaking:  David P, Priscilla M, Simon H, Godfrey T, Julian B, Neil H, Michael A, Colin D, Dave C, and Mike K.

On the theme of the letter P:

Julian led off with some pre-paid GB QV postal stationery with the penny and the penny farthing values.  We saw several interesting items from the Channel Islands and the Levant (look on our website “Slideshows” page).

Then David P entertained/educated us with a display of 3 sheets of stamps from current, unfamiliar, or dead stamp issuing territories – all letter ‘P‘ and ranging from Pahang to Puerto Rico —  a total of 22 different places.

Neil then showed stamps from Paraguay, Palau, and Poland, which had subjects of his topical interests, namely bridges and warships.

With time running out, Priscilla then showed a fine Portuguese miniature sheet from 1998 celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India (see “Recent Acquisitions” page on this website).

A short follow-on session was chaired by Julian in which Alan C showed some of his Japanese National Parks collection with attention to Planes and other Postmarks on the stamps & covers.

Next meetings: The meeting closed by agreeing that we take up  Maidenhead PS / Tony Stanford’s offer of a ZOOM presentation on “The  Morocco Agencies overprints of GB stamps” on 1st March; meanwhile Alan would prepare a display of Japanese Airmail material for 15 February.

Since writing our report (above), Alan has received by email the latest copy of the ABPS Newsletter, dated Spring 2001. It contains the articles on the future of organised philately and on using Power Point:

” A Personal View ” (By Dave Cleaver, Torquay and Teignbridge Stamp Club, on the future of philatelic societies) pages 17-21

” Simple Rules for Effective digital Presentation ” by Richard Smith, Leeds Philatelic Society, pages 23-27

” Power Point Experience ” by Alan Spencer p 27/29

 It should shortly be available for downloading from the ABPS Website, which you can access quickly by selecting and clicking on the appropriate link on this website page (usually left hand column).