Wednesday, 27 July 2016


It was back in the late '60s, in Room 7 of my primary school one
day, that I espied the magnifying glass.  It was in the hands of one of my
classmates who was using it for the purpose for which it was designed.  (No
surprise there, really - what else is a magnifying glass for?)  I was fascinated -
it was such a small magnifying glass, and I immediately wanted one for myself.
"Where did you get it?" I enquired of him.  "I got it as part of a free stamp col-
lecting kit I sent away for" was his response.  That was the magic word for me -
"free".  I had seen the ad for such stamp kits in the comics I bought, but I had
never paid them too much attention before.  I decided there and then that I
would send away for such a kit the first chance I got.  Nothing would deter
me, my mind was made up.  I wanted a mini-magnifying glass of my
very own and, by thunder, I would have one.


Close to 30
odd years later,
when I eventually
got around to send-
ing for it (quite a
few years ago now),
it could well have
been from the very
same stamp dealer as
my long-ago class-
mate had acquired
his - D. J. Hanson
Ltd., Eastrington,
Goole, East Yorks,
England, DN14
7QG, who advertised
extensively in British
comics of the time
(and is still going
strong today).

 The much-coveted magnifying glass wasn't exactly the same as the
one I remembered, but it was good enough for me.  I felt the satisfaction
that comes from finally fulfilling some long-held purpose or ambition that
should have been accomplished years before.  In fact, I wish I could sit in
that classroom now, at my old desk, and employ my magnifying glass in the
way I would've done back when I was a kid.  No, not to read tiny print in
one of my school books, but to capture an errant sunbeam and direct it
towards a patch of skin on someone's bare thigh (short trousers in
my day, remember) and wait to see them jump.

Sadistic little bleeder, eh?

I do sort of collect stamps actually, but on an extremely limited scale:
Christmas stamps, TV, movie, and comic characters, etc.  I couldn't fill a
whole album, but I've got enough to keep me occupied for an hour or so, on
cold, rainy nights when the wind is howling outside my window, bearing
aloft familiar childhood voices and visions from so very long ago.
Typical stamp ad from the 1960s


Arfon Jones said...

excellent stuff! :)

Kid said...

Glad you liked it, AJ. You got a stamp set?

John Pitt said...

I used to send off for many of those stamp starter sets from the comics. I had quite a collection, but I got more interested in comics and handed them down to my brother. He's still got them!

Kid said...

Does he still have the mini-magnifying glass, JP?

John Pitt said...

I doubt that he's still got all the little bits and bobs, but he's got my second loose leaf stamp album, which contains some original, unperforated penny reds and, courtesy of a school teacher who married a German lady, some very rare German wartime stamps, including some of Hitler! Nothing to be proud of, I know, but as a kid growing up in post war Britain, they were valued prizes, - almost like capturing the man himself!

Kid said...

So that's two lickings that Hitler received, eh? I've also got a Penny Red somewhere, I'm sure.

John Pitt said...

You know, you got me on thinking, "What other things did I collect as a kid that I haven't told you about yet?" Well, there were toy soldiers, bus tickets, marbles, tea cards, sweet cigarettes cards, paratroopers....

Kid said...

I've got marbles, paratroopers and old coins. Might show 'em one day.

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