Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Stick a stamp on it!


I was just reading a short article on the BBC website about small “crimes” that we all commit but that many of us don’t even realise are offenses. Who knew that in Britain, vacuuming after 1pm on a Sunday or flying a kite in a park were both considered breaking the law? Well, not me for sure.

However, one of these petty crimes that I’d heard about before was that it is against the law to stick a stamp onto an envelope upside down. This offense lands in the area of, “Is this actually an urban myth?” and it’s difficult to find evidence to support the fact that it’s really in the statute books. The 1848 Treason Felony Act states that it is an offence to “deprive or depose” the Queen of the “imperial crown of the United Kingdom”, and while sticking a stamp on upside down could be considered disrespectful because the Queen would be on her head, there isn’t any real evidence that the law includes stamps. Which is a shame because it sounds like such a quirky, British thing!

But it got me thinking about stamps anyway and the fact that even though I’m not a stamp collector as such, and even though it’s a long time since I lived in the UK, I still love to keep my eye out for those stamps hitting my mailbox with the ever so familiar outline of the Queen’s profile.

The Penny Black is considered to be the world’s first public pre-paid, adhesive postage stamp in use and appeared on 6th May 1840, costing one penny of prepaid postage no matter where it would be delivered up to the weight of ½ ounce. Queen Victoria’s profile was featured and this tradition has continued through the years up to this day with Queen Elizabeth II appearing on almost every single stamp produced in the time of her reign and the traditional “Machin Head Design” being one of the most reproduced images ever.

 The Machin design is used on standard stamps and there is a simpler silhouette design, which is used on special issue stamps. The Royal Mail offers first (next day) or second class delivery, and stamps can be bought in many different locations today, usually in small books of 4, 6 or 12 stamp stickers which makes things very convenient.

I have to say though; I love the special editions and often find myself ordering a complete collection from the online shop that now offers a whole plethora of different options including first day editions, postcards, collection packs or even all the stamps presented in a frame.

Mmm, maybe I’m a stamp collector after all!



What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!