Today’s post

Al is enjoying his new job.  It’s very endearing, how enthusiastic he is about new things.  I remember, after his first week as a shopkeeper, he came in and said “I don’t know why people say it’s stressful, running your own business.  I think it’s wonderful!”  Now, he’s appreciating doing a job that you complete every day.  He finds it satisfying, that he starts off with a jumble of mail to sort, he puts it in order, sets out on his round – and he says that you have to concentrate, there are a good many parcels (Amazon and eBay are keeping the Royal Mail going) and he has to remember when to go to fetch a parcel from the back of the van, but at the end of the day he has an empty van and has completed all the work there is to do.

He’s finding it tiring, largely because of the early start.  He sets his alarm for 4.45 every day.  The advantage of that is that he’s home by 3 most afternoons, but he’s ready for bed well before 10 pm, and Al is even more of a natural night bird than I am.  And although the round he’s doing at present is a rural one, so he uses a van, there’s a lot of getting in and out and he feels he’s used a fair bit of energy by the end of his round.  He’s been mostly lucky with the weather, although he’s had a few rainy days – going by van is a disadvantage is some respects in the wet, there isn’t time to wait until the rain stops and his waterproof jacket wets the seat when he gets back in the van.  Today, he had a puncture.  It was not a good day.  He had to change the wheel in the rain, and then had forms to fill in back at the depot.

On Saturdays, he starts even earlier.  The round has to be finished in time to return to the post office by 12.30.  I noticed, as I went through Yagnub last Saturday in the late morning that a postman was running along the road, obviously anxious to get all the work done on time.  They work an 8 hour day but are only paid for 7, on the assumption that they will stop for breaks and lunch, but in fact there is no time for that, Al eats in brief minutes when he’s checking the post at the start of a road to know which houses to call at.  If he eats at all, that is, he’s noticeably lost weight, and he was thin to start with.  When busy, he forgets to eat or doesn’t bother.  That used to worry me at the shop, at busy times of the year he didn’t bother to have a meal during the day, and then was too tired to eat much in the evening.  But he seems robust, he’s rarely off-colour.

11 comments on “Today’s post

  1. allotmentqueen

    Well he’s lucky he’s got a van. Here in the city all the posties now have these awful trollies – apparently brought in by the head of the PO who used to work in Canada where they have wide pavements. Here we have narrow pavements, especially on bin days, and the posties all hate these wide trollies which they have to push around. Apparently they get into trouble if they use a sack (although secretly quite a few do on individual roads) as it’s bad for their backs. Still at least one of them said that he gets more overtime now as it takes so much longer to complete the round.

  2. mig

    John, our postman always used to run up and down our little row of houses but he just walks quickly these days.

    Does Ro have trouble with dogs? John used to be quite frightened of our old dog, apparently they can be uncharacteristically nasty to postmen.

    (Gorgeous photos of the new babe : )

  3. Dandelion

    I delivered newspapers many years ago, and some of the dogs were vicious, flinging themselves at the door, and then you’d hear them tearing the newspaper to kingdom come. I always wondered why those people bothered having a paper delivered.

  4. Dave

    My brother starting his job as a postman at the same time as Al. He is supposed to finish by 2 – because he has another job as a school cleaner starting at 3. He does it all to pay for the new sportscar he’s bought.

    I’ll stick to an older car, thanks.

  5. Rog

    Al gets my vote. I always hankered after a postie job myself as it is healthy, straightforward and useful ( unlike many of my previous jobs)

  6. Blue Witch

    Posties still sort their own mail where you are? Blimey. It’ll change… The machines are coming…

    You do get quicker, as you get to know the round. Does he wear shorts (all year round)? The hardiest ones do, I’m told.

    Our postie uses a couple of large old bath towels on the seat for when it’s raiing, for dealing with wet clothes and hands.

  7. Z

    What a lot of interesting comments, thank you. I’d forgotten to put in at the end the main reason why I’d started on this post (d’oh indeed, darlings) so I’ll come back to it.

    If your bro keeps that up, I admire him, Dave. That’s hard work. School cleaners are really pushed to get all they have to do in the time nowadays.

  8. 63mago

    Our postman comes with a bycicle. They (the village is sectored, I think there are four posties) have a kind of “Schrank” where the boxes are delivered too, roughly presorted, early; the bycicliste fills up the different bags on his bike and delivers. A van is used by the one who brings parcels, he comes normally in the late morning. Letters are delivered until 2. As Rog I tried to land a post job.

  9. Zig

    I recommend “the Missing Postman” by Mark Wallington – I seem to remember it was very good. Our Postie is a lovely lady who never stops smiling and has ‘saved’ moe than one elderly neighbour by peering through the letterbox and judiciously calling 999. She carries biscuits for dogs and polos for horses, but she’s never given me a dark chocolate hobnob which would go down particularly well just now in fact.

  10. Alienne

    I did the Christmas post as a student; it was mostly good fun, especially as I had a cousin on my round so could stop off for a coffee on the way round. There was also an alsatian who used to hurl himself at the front door when I put the letters through. They had a cage over the letter box so he couldn’t get me but I was always afraid he would break the door down. One of my friends took a short cut across a strange garden in the snow – and discovered there was a pond …


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