A lot of grassroots history is like the trace of the ancient plough. It might seem gone for good with the men who ploughed the field many centuries ago. But every aerial photographer knows that, in a certain light, and seen at a certain angle, the shadows of long-forgotten ridge and furrow can still be seen.
Eric Hobsbawm, "History from below"Hobsbawm's notion of grassroots history fits well with old postcard messages.
I hope by picking out cards for their messages, we're doing our bit to discover long-forgotten ridges and furrows of ordinary life.
I bought this card last week at the Bloomsbury postcard fair in London. It shows how even the simplest message can transport you into a strangely unfamiliar world.
While the basics of humour don't change, targets do. Would it be acceptable now to poke fun at teetotallers, however gently? And I'd never heard of teetotallers referred to as totes before? Had you?