By the time you read this I will no longer be a postman. I will be a retired person instead.
So this is my goodbye letter to everyone I’ve delivered mail to over the last 13 years.
I’ve done many rounds and pushed many letters through many letter boxes all over Whitstable.
Most recently I’ve been delivering to Borstal Hill, Harbour Street and Sydenham Street. In the past I’ve delivered to Herne Bay Road, Ham Shades Lane, Canterbury Road, Island Wall, Middle Wall and the High Street. And those are only the main roads. There have been many others, too numerous to mention.
I’ve delivered to Whitstable, Tankerton, Seasalter, Swalecliffe and Chestfield.
Perhaps some of you will recognise me. Perhaps, even, some of you will remember me with affection.
I dread to think how many letters I’ve delivered in that time. Millions.
Most of it has been complete rubbish – advertising mail, junk mail, sales brochures and the like – but some of it has been important.
I’ve delivered Christmas cards, birthday cards, Mother’s Day cards, Easter cards and New Year’s greetings. I’ve delivered postcards from around the world. I’ve delivered hospital appointments, letters from loved ones, invitations, commiserations, congratulations and heartfelt thanks. I’ve delivered people’s wage slips and winnings; maybe even a love letter or two, who knows?
I’ve seen many changes.
Probably the most significant change has been the move from Whitstable to Canterbury, which, some of you will remember, I campaigned against vigorously.
Associated with that has been the move from delivering from a bicycle to delivering from a van. This has completely changed the nature of the job.
We used to start early, now we start late. We used to be out on our own, now we work in pairs. We used to be able to walk or cycle to work, now we have to drive. Its like someone looked at all the parts of the job that used to give us pleasure and a sense of pride and decided that those were the very things that needed getting rid of.
The atmosphere in the Canterbury office has been toxic at times. Nothing like the old Whitstable office, which used to be fun. Many old posties have left as a consequence.
The other great change has been the privatisation of the Royal Mail; although, I have to say, this hasn’t affected the job in any material way.
We still push letters through letter boxes. We still walk up and down garden paths; the difference being that these days the profits go to private institutions instead of back into the service as they used to.
Of course, if you remember, the ostensible reason the company was privatised was that letter volumes were down due to the fact that we all use emails and texts these days.
What no one predicted at the time was that the same technology which dispensed with the need for envelopes and stamps, also allowed us to do our shopping on-line, which has lead to a significant growth in the volume of packets.
In fact the Royal Mail has seen a healthy increase in profits since privatisation, and not because of anything the private owners have done – not because of efficiency savings or modernisation, most of which was done previously at public expense – merely as a natural by-product of new technology.
As for the future: who knows? It’s not my concern any more.
So that’s me: signing off as a postman for the very last time. I do hope to be delivering these words of wit and wisdom however, via your newspaper, or on the internet, for some time to come.
From The Whitstable Gazette 14/06/18
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