Sunday 7 April 2024


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 collecting 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 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'd have one.

Close to 30 odd years later, when I eventually got around to sending for it (quite a few years ago now), it could well have been from the very same stamp dealer as my long-ago classmate had acquired his - D. J. Hanson Ltd., Eastrington, Goole, East Yorks, England, DN14 7QG - who advertised extensively in British comics of the time (and was still going strong until he passed away in 2015).

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


  1. I found my old stamp albums and realise how much we had all been sucked by the stamp dealers. I thought I'd get my own back by answering Hanson's quiz, but I was just a bit too late. I did get a nice letter from his granddaughter though. See:

    1. Just after I (re)published my post (an old one from my other blog), I Googled his name and your post came up. When I looked at it, I realised I'd read it before, as well as the letter from his granddaughter. I didn't re-read all the comments, but it's possible I left one myself at the time. How many childhoods did he enhance by starting them off on a new hobby I wonder?

    2. Yes , I now see you did indeed leave a comment.
      NB I've removed my custom domain and reverted to the original

    3. Everything sorted, TD. Original now restored to my blog list.


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