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Sammy the Stamp-bookcover

By: Pip Comport

Sammy the Stamp

Pages: 29 Ratings: 5.0
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About 80 years ago, I was a schoolboy!

At home, we had a simple wireless, now called a radio, no TV and a telephone that was rarely used by my parents. Certainly, there were no mobile phones! So letter writing was very important and since there was no such thing as ‘Junk Mail’, one went to the letterbox in the hope of a letter from a friend. Good handwriting was important and people took more interest
in the design of the stamps on the envelope. My father used to buy a
book of 20 stamps and one day, he showed them to me and said, “DO you ever wonder where they will all end up?” That thought has remained with me ever since. Many years later, towards the end of the Second World War, I was in the British Army, camped on the blazing hot plains outside Madras, in
Southern India. There, I used to see the simple village children with their great brown eyes and gentle manners whilst their thin fathers toiled away under that hot sun and their mothers carried great loads of wood or water on their heads with graceful strides. They were so poor that I remember these scenes so vividly to this day. I have no grandchildren, but I hope that this simple tale will give pleasure to others.

A.L. (Pip) Comport was born in London in 1922 but was soon moved to Kent. He studied for a degree in mechanical engineering which was interrupted by war service in R.E.M.E, which took him to the Far East, including time spent camped outside Madras – the setting for this little book.

Back in England, he studied at nights for four years, married an Australian girl that he had first met in Singapore, who produced a daughter.

The family emigrated to South Australia in 1957. Work took them to Tasmania for two years.

Returning to Adelaide, he was asked to set up an office for the London-based Chartered Surveyors Jones Lang Wootton, where he worked until retirement, at the age of 58. A holiday house was soon built on the Queensland coast and he was able to indulge his lifelong interest in art. For almost 40 years, he was able to paint and make prints. He held his last solo exhibition at the age of 93 in Adelaide.

Customer Reviews
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1 reviews
  • Brian Livingstone - Stamp Lover Newsletter NPS

    Sammy the Stamp
    Author, Pip Comport, Published 2018 by Austin Macauley publishers, 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LQ, 29pp with illustrations hand-drawn by the author, available from the publishers £10.99p
    This little book is a short story about a stamp. Although it is intended for children I am not sure if today’s under-tens will have any idea what the author is describing, but their grandparents (i.e. you and I) could read it to them with some feelings of nostalgia. It tells of the days when stamps were actually purchased to pay for postage and when letters were written to pen pals abroad. The setting for all this is about 50yrs ago.
    Sammy is a stamp on the only sheet of some Australian stamps, that survives a fire at the storage depot and the water used to put it out. The sheet ends up in a post office and he is bought to be used as the make-up value on a letter to India. His progress as a rare stamp on cover is the story being told, with disaster and destruction never far away. To save readers from stress, I can reveal that there is a clever and happy ending. The author was shown a book of stamps as a child and asked by his father, “Where do you think these will end up ?” and the persistence of that thought has stimulated the tale.
    The writing style is intended for children. It is not A.A.Milne, but I did not find it too simple. I have not had time to try it out on child so I cannot be sure what the reaction would be. As I say, I am not certain how many young children will empathize with the world being described here. The idea of writing to friends rather than texting will be novel to most. All I can say is that I enjoyed it. The hand drawn illustrations are delightful (the author is a painter and printmaker).
    For 29 pages, £10.99 may sound a bit steep but compared to £2.99 or more for an ephemeral ice cream in Battersea Park yesterday, it is pretty well a standard price. Meanies of course may prefer to buy a stamp or cover for themselves but if you see it in the bookshop, do have a look.

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