Thursday, 1 October 2009

Royal Mail

Doesn't that have a wonderful ring to it? Shades of old fashioned coaches thundering over roads frequented by highway men, closely followed by more modern pictures of railways, chugging along the tracks , trundling through the night to deliver mail to the other end of England by the next morning.

Move a little faster through time, and what do you get? Strikes. It's become complicated here in UK now. Once upon a time, Royal Mail and Post Office were part and parcel (pardon the pun) of the same outfit. Now, I'm never sure who does what. Are sorting offices and the moving of mail under separate management from the local postman who pops letters through our front doors? I don't have a clue. What is becoming more and more obvious, is that home delivery is likely to become a thing of the past, if the downward trend continues. We've already gone from two daily deliveries to one, and this solitary remnant of former glory is happening later and later in the day. Are postmen facing the same fate as cobblers?

As so many of you seemed to enjoy Marion St John Webb's poetry, I thought you might like some some more today. It's easy to see a similarity to A A Milne in her writing, but her book, The Littlest One, was first published in 1914, whereas Milne's When We Were Very Young, was published in 1924. I wonder if he knew of her, or indeed, knew her in person? Be that as it may, here is her take on the postal service of yesteryear.

The Postman Calls Me Tuppenny

The postman calls me 'Tupenny''
or 'Hullo, Half-past-four !'
or somethin' diff'rent ev'ry time
he comes up to our door.

I wist he wouldn't do it,
'cos he knows the name's not right,
but when I tell him this he on'y
shuts one eye up tight.

An' next time when he comes he says,
'I've got a parcel here
addressed to Master Tuppenny -
Now, where's it gone? Dear, dear!'

He feels about inside his bag.
'Whatever shall I do?
I must have lost it . . . Still, of course
it can't have been for you -

You say your name's not Tuppenny!'
An' he laughs an' goes away. . .
I wist he hadn't done it -
now I don't know what to say

if he should find the parcel, 'cos
I feel I ought to see
in case - although it's not my name -
the parcel's meant for me!


  1. That was a lovely poem. Things have really changed since then.

    I do feel that the Royal Mail should be grateful they HAVE jobs during the recession. Not a good time to start a strike.

  2. Can't say our postal system's much better here most of the time. Thank goodness for email, eh? :)

  3. We had the Pony Express in pioneer western days: now we have airmail etc. but bankruptcy and soon to be delivery days town to 5 days, but you can count on them still getting holidays which will mean a lot of 4 day deliveries.

  4. Hi there Jinksy, I have been popping in now and then, even if I haven't commented.
    I love the postman ditty from years ago, still so true today. We have a lovely postman, I shall have to write this out for him, he will be amused.
    Love to you

  5. Fascinating. You had TWO daily deliveries until somewhat recently? I have never known anything but one daily delivery (none on Sunday, of course, either) here in the states. There has been some talk of eliminating Saturday delivery, but so far it hasn't happened.

  6. Two mail deliveries in ONE day??? Fascinating! We had the most wonderful mailman who had become like a friend to us, but apparently he got transferred to another route because the one we have now is awful! The other day, I had all my neighbor's mail in my box so I assumed she probably had mine....I took hers over, but none for me!

    Yes, the elbow grease is what kept that cabinet in the back of my husband's shop for so long!

  7. oh so very cute writing, love it indeed.

  8. If the mail gets their way over here(U.S.), they'll be cutting down to only five days a week! And that's only one delivery per day( excluding the UPS and FedEx folks )...and enjoyed the poem, I did :)

  9. Another nice poem Jinksy.

    Our village postie used to motor around the lanes in a Morris Minor van, always had a big grin and would invariably tell my Grandmother (who I was living with at the time) who the letter was from. And most of the time, much to my Grandmother's annoyance, he was right!

  10. Precious thoughts; nostalgic, pulling heart strings all over the place.

  11. We've only ever had one delivery per day. Also, any new home here doesn't get delivery to the door but to a box. By new, I mean homes that are even about 15 years old, give or take. Mind you boxes are not located far away.

  12. In Canada there are very few places that have mail delivered to their door. We now have mail boxes up and down the streets. I use to look forward to having the mailman arrive the same time each day.......we have not had mail delivery on Saturdays or holidays for many years....once it's gone it is gone for good. Such a shame really, loved the poem jinsky...:-) Hugs

  13. the post is ridiculously slow these days or not even delivered. People aren't getting their utility bills at all on many occasions.

    It would be nice to think that we could retain the best of the past, like reliable postal services...

  14. Fabulous poem Jinksy!
    I agree with you - it's a shadow of its former self is the Royal Mail. If I were the Queen I'd be having serious doubts about my associations with it! lol

  15. hello jinksy - the post service here in canada is astonishingly good at times, whisking mail over three thousand miles in less than three days and then it can take longer than that for a letter from my mum (thirty miles away!). there is no rhyme nor reason (unlike the fun writing you added at the end of your post!!!) to it at all. have a peaceful evening. steven

  16. A perfect poem for your post!

    Our mail is suffering here from the economy and computer technology. On another note, my mail carrier tells me they have set up a hot line for the carriers as they are delivering foreclosure notices to homes of families they have carried the mail to for years. Things are changing in so many ways.

  17. Yes, very like A A Milne. As a child I used to love his poetry. I still laugh when I read some of his poems and my favourites then are still the ones I reread.

    Hmm mail. Similar things happening here. And my daughter works for NZ Post!

  18. I don't believe there ever was more than one delivery per day here in the Netherlands. Except for Sunday, no delivery then.

    Very sweet poem again.

  19. To us the postman has become the deliverer of unwanted junk who occasionally surprises us with a little treat from someone we know or something we were expecting. The decline, I am told, occurred because The Royal Mail failed to appreciate the difference that texting and emails would make to the business of communicating.

  20. The kids look forward to mail more than us these days. As Dave said above, all we get is junk (and bills). They get movies delivered to the door on Netflix!

  21. a delightful poem for a different time, for sure. although street delivery still happens, it's highly discouraged here, and even then, they stop on their little motorbikes on the pavements, put the post into a mail slot at the wall and off they go again. not quite the same, is it...

  22. A lovely poem! I do not get too much mail, except for a package now and then when I order for something... I do miss handwritten notes and letters in this age of email.

  23. Yes, I do love the poem! It's partly nostalgia, maybe, but I think her writing is truly sweet without being mawkish.

    Royal Mail ... it really went downhill when they split it off from the Post Office, didn't it? Now, they pay them so little (yes, one of my sons did temp work for them a few years back), and impose heavy penalties for tardiness, so the result is that Royal Mail drivers are among the more dangerous I have to cope with around here. We have a large depot on our side of the city. If I get cut up badly on a roundabout, or overtaken at a dangerous place, it's the Royal Mail about 50% of the time. *Sigh*

  24. I moved from a town that hired ouside contractors to deliver mail. I lived in that house for four years and never got all of my mail, talk about hit or miss. It was a real mess. I had not heard of Marion St. John Webb. Thanks for introducing her to me.

  25. Thank you for leaving comments on my blog. Our mail box is at the bottom of the driveway by the road but when my husband is doing some cleanup yard work he sees the mail lady. The problem though is that most of the mail we receive is almost all ads, catalogs and a few bills. We never receive letters anymore now that our mothers are gone. Our kids send emails or call on their cell phones or blackberries. In France many people send postcards when they are on vacations. Here in the US they don’t. I always send postcards when I am on trips but my list of names keeps getting smaller. So this last trip I sent postcards to our own house. I just say where we are that day, what we did, where we ate, etc. This morning I received a card, addressed by me, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and it was such a pleasure to look at it and remember how much I liked Halifax. Also this way I will remember the date that we were there.

  26. Love this! Jinksy, you never fail to delight me with your poetry or that of your favorite poets! So sad that the mail is going by the by...I used to love having the mail delivered through our cottage's mail slot when we lived in Surrey...It is so sad to see these kinds of personal touches fade from our lives...sigh...Love to you~Janine XO

  27. One delivery here.. weekdays only. I only vaguely recall mail on Saturdays back when I was a child and I think that was only pre-Christmas. Homes built after sometime in the 90s don't have home delivery at all. Those neighbourhoods are equipped with a series of boxes in some central part of their street. It's no wonder mail delivery is waning. How does it keep up with the instant contact of email and other online communications? Good post, Jinsky. :)

  28. Good posting, Jinsky!
    I shall try to improve my visiting record!

  29. You're a right wag, Penny :))

  30. A heartwarming little poem Jinksy. I used to love callers like that, we had a greengrocer who always played name games with me and I secretly loved it.


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