Brian is our postman; he works for the Royal Mail and wears a snappy uniform. We see him driving his little red van all over the valley and he always waves when he passes one of us out for a walk. He probably waves to everybody he sees, it might be part of the job. This time of year he arrives later than usual, perhaps two hours later. There’s obviously more post to deliver around Christmas and New Year. He has been our postman for as long as I can remember, he is almost part of the family now. I noticed that there was a greetings card marked ‘Brian’ set out with the mail; I guess somebody will post it to him in person.
This is the way of things in rural England. The postman (or woman) is a life-line especially for people living in out of the way places like our valley. For many people the postman is the only person they will see in a day. I knew a woman in South Wales who baked every morning for the postman and entertained him daily with tea and jam tarts, amazing! So this is not just a person who delivers a fist full of letters and the odd parcel and leaves, oh no. Postage stamps can be ordered, paid for and delivered next day, medical prescriptions can be delivered and frequently are. On some rural routes there is a Post Bus which delivers mail and ferries people to the local town. What a service! For years we even had two delivers each day, mid-day and evening.
Hand written letters and cards with personal greetings are a treat to receive. So I’d better get stuck into writing some more before it’s time to turn in. Reaching out doesn’t take a lot however it can carry meaning far beyond what one might imagine, for example the card from America from my dear niece. I walked down the yard casually reading the return address on the back of the envelope. Karen? Who’s this from? I don’t know a Karen in America do I? Oh Yes, this time of year reminds me that I do still have relatives and however distant they may be; they still have a place in my life.
The Royal Mail has been around for ever. At the bottom of our lane we have a mail box set into a stone wall. The opening is just too small to accept a CD case, so no joy there. However the last pick up is 5.15 pm which is really handy as that mail could be delivered in London next morning. It’s an antique judging from the inscription. Modern boxes have ER (for Elizabeth Regina) molded into the cast iron, this one has GR. George I’d guess, George Rex. Too bad we didn’t have a King called Brian!