Sunday, 29 July 2007

A post in praise of post

This post isn't about much at all, except post. Sorry.

I know it's unwise to begin with an apology, but on this occasion it needs to be said. You need to be aware, in case you're expecting something else. This way, when you get to the end---if you get to the end---and say, "All you've written about is post," then I can say: "Yeah, told you so."

009It's just a celebration, that's all.

I love receiving post. All post. Even bills, if there's nothing else. I don't discriminate too much. But especially parcels. Parcels are best.

A childish delight, which I feel no need to leave behind.

The arrival of a parcel is the thing I anticipate most when ordering books, DVDs, whatever, through the mail. I could easily become a mail-order junkie.

And Friday was a bumper day. One of the biggest hits in yonks. Better even than the lead-up to Christmas or a birthday. No letters, but three sizeable packages waiting to be opened.

The first was a book of course (and I'm now beginning to think I don't mind it so much when a bookshop can't supply a book and I've got to order it online, even Justice_birdthough I'm forking out the postage): In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes. Will start this in a week or so, because I'm engrossed in Jon Haylett's Cry of the Justice Bird at the moment. Am half-way through Justice Bird and loving it. It's hard to put the book down---fast-paced, action-packed, great descriptions, and so 'visual' I reckon it'd make a tremendous film---but I'm having to limit myself or I'll have no eyes left because I've got a few books on the go at work at the moment (Scott Anderson's excellent Triage, Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Sophocles' Oedipus Rex).

The second parcel was a package of trees to replace a couple I had to take down recently: another olive, a lime, a pomegranate. I spent yesterday planting them out. They might take, they might not. Some do, some don't. We're close to the sea and our soil isn't flash. It's a matter of trial and error.

The third parcel was a box of cabernet merlot from Margaret River---a wonderful wine and cheese producing area in Western Australia. But then all Australian wine is good. (Aside: I'm hoping that someone important from the Australian tourism industry or wine-making industry might read this post and offer to make me the 'Face of Australian Wine'. Not because I look like a wino, but because I say good things about Australian wine. As part of the deal, they'd send me a box of wine every week or so ... through the post, of course ... for as long as I remained coherent and said good things about our very excellent wine without growing to look too much like a wino.)

Talking of winos and post, finished reading Charles Bukowski's Post Office. The closing sentences of this book are some of the best closing lines in the history of fiction, I believe. I know it's a big claim, but I've been going around chanting them for a fortnight, enjoying the rhythm of the words and haven't got sick of them yet. Was going to quote them here, but thought that might be a spoiler, not that they give too much away in the sense of knowing who dies in Harry Potter and who doesn't, but Bukowski obviously wanted to wrap his novel up with those fine, final words and I'm not going to subvert that. As Gary pointed out in a comment to an earlier post, if you like Hunter S.Thompson, the chances are you'll like Post Office.

For three years I worked in the Post Office. In London and Cardiff. Maybe I worked there because of my early addiction to receiving post, the same way a junkie might aspire to becoming a chemist. Maybe I thought working amongst all that mail would be like receiving heaps and heaps of parcels everyday. It wasn't. But I'm not allowed to say anymore about working for The Royal Mail because when I quit I had to sign the Official Secrets Act (yes, really, no kidding), promising not to divulge any information I'd learnt whilst in its employ ... like the price of a first class stamp, I suppose. Stuff like that. So Mailboxmy lips are sealed; I don't want to be charged with treason.

Ssh. Maybe I've said too much already. Don't relish sewing mailbags.

Hope the postie doesn't get sick. Hope my mailbox doesn't stop working. Reckon I'd cold turkey after three days without post. Hmm, post. Told you so.

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