Friday, 18 November 2011

Chapter Fourteen

The phone has now been replaced with the cheapest thing I could find in the shop. That's the third phone in two years. The first phone threw in the towel on me and quietly died after several years of good service. The second one only lasted a short while before I killed it. In my defence it wasn't murder or even was a pure accident.
I was parked in the car park at work and I remember some health and safety nutcase of a manager bawling at me from the dock. He was stood there with the heath and safety nutcase of a union man and they both felt the urge to remind me of the perils of being in our yard without by flourescent jacket on. Bear in mind that these two people are the ones who worry because there is no sign in the fuel store to remind staff  'NOT TO DRINK THE ENGINE OIL'. Believe me, you couldn't make it up.
As for the flourescent jacket in the yard; there have been postmen working out of that yard for over 100 years and not one has ever been run down by van, by lorry, by pushbike, by trolley, by horse and cart, by meteorite, by tidal wave, by act of God, BY ANYTHING.
The one exception to this is Gary Horne...AND HE WAS WEARING A FLOURESCENT JACKET... and he was fine.
Anyway, back to the two muppets bawling from the dock. I call them muppets because they looked like the two old fools in the Muppet Show that sat in the balcony and had stupid opinions on everything.
They bawled at me to put my tabard on. I ask you; as one of the postman once said, "If you can see me without my flourescent on...then why do I need one?"
In disgust I tore off my jacket and threw it in the van; grabbed my flourescent jacket; and slammed the van door shut as I put it on.
To my surprise the door didn't close but banged and bounced open. I shrugged into my flourescent and looked to see what had happened. My coat was hanging a little way out of the doorway and there was now a dirty line across the pocket. I lifted the jacket up, put my hand in the pocket, and lifted out the half a dozen pieces of phone which now remained. Smashed beyond repair I did manage to save the sim card on this occasion.
Hopefully this will last until I get an upgrade, or whatever it is that Linda said would happen in a few months when the contract runs out. I'm still a little confused at this point I must say.
Sunday dawned bright and clear with plenty of sunshine. I was awoken by the sound of a mug of coffee being put on the bedside locker. I heard movement and then the curtains being drawn back but I kept my eyes shut.
Then Linda spoke, "Blimey, we've got a garden full of tit's."
In my confused state this was a guaranteed way of getting me out of bed and I hurried to the window. It was with a certain sense of bewildered excitement that I looked out of the window but all I saw was a multitude of little colourful birds swarming over the bird feeder's and stuff. Gradually coming to, I reached out for my mug and took a sip of coffee. Sheepishly I said 'Good Morning', and we both stared out at the busy birds beneath us.
Linda is passionate about birds and really know's her stuff. I like them well enough but I am not an expert like she is. What I do know is...they scoff a huge amount of seed, fatballs, peanuts, and anything else we hang up in the garden. If it runs out there is even a couple who will tap on the windows with their beaks as if to let you know.
Constantly, the garden seems full of all manner of finches, tits, sparrows, and robins. All the little birds. It is a delight to see them eating us out of house and home as they consume vast amounts of sustenance. God help them if the buzzards start to use our garden as a supermarket and decide to feed off them. The little birds are eating so much they will become flightless any day now. They will never waddle away quick enough.
"Lets go and take some photo's at St Mawes while it's quiet."
"Yes, lets..."
"Good, we can go now."
So much for sarcasm; we were in St Mawes by 07-30 and Linda was enjoying herself immensely. She is a skillful photographer and takes some good pictures. I'm just a happy snapper but she has a real talent.
It was certainly a good time to be out and about with very few people moving around. We pottered about and even paid a visit to the 'King Harry Ferry'. That is a chain link ferry connecting the 'Roseland' with Truro. It's a lovely ferry and typically Cornish. We loved it.
With time pressing on we then returned home to get ready for the rememberance day service up at Tregony. The day continued bright and clear and we enjoyed the simple ceremony held at the village memorial. There was a decent sized crowd of people there and once again I was pleased to note that all generations were represented.
The vicar must be either very skilled or just very practiced because she read out the little service for about fifteen minutes and was spot on with the timing. After all had been spoken we all said the Lords Prayer. As we all said the final 'Amen', a second later, the bell began to toll for eleven o'clock. Very impressive.
There was a different touch to this one that I had never seen before. A tray of sand stood in front of the memorial and after the wreath's had been laid we were all invited to place our poppies in the tray. We all did so and it made a brave sight with this splash of red poppies fluttering in the breeze. We liked it.
After lunch we drove down to the beach at Dodmans Point for a walk around there. It is both sandy but edged with rocks and the resulting rock pools. It was brilliant walking about and, once again, it confirmed to us both just why we had come down here.
Linda found a starfish stranded on the beach and popped it back in a rock pool. I found a scallop wedged firmly between two rocks and unable to free itself. I couldn't eat the wretched thing but managed to free it and put it back in the water.
We also tried to rescue a crab but I think it was pretty far gone.
Both of us then headed up the coast path and onto the cliff for a walk around the point. The views were sadly, not as clear as the morning but great fun just the same.
We have noticed something down here though. Scotland seems to have its high road and it's low road; but down here we have our 'high lanes' and our 'low lanes'. Not the greatest revelation in the world I must admit but we have noticed it.
Back to work this week and I got my final goodbye from Royal Mail for my 39 years service. They didn't transfer me at all and my contract was terminated on about the 16th of October. I was issued a new contract as a new entrant starting on the 31st October.
It seemed very odd getting a new pay number and realising a new chapter was beginning in my career. All the things I used to pay into have ceased and I am beginning again.
As I say though...I received a final goodbye for my previous service time in the form of a bill for £901-25p because I owed them for the leave I used when Linda and I did our charity walk around the South West Coast Path. It seems if you have all your leave time before you quit service then you have to reimburse the company. Granted, this bill also included the money for a weeks pay that I owed because they paid me the week I moved down here in error...but it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Its not really as if I wanted to leave as I was fully prepared to take on any work for Royal Mail in a transfer. That they have offered several part time jobs showed there is work here.
The times I have heard people tell me that..."Your just a number to Royal Mail, Nothing else." I used to hear that and always refused to believe it. I have always believed that the work you do is your mark on any organisation and you are judged accordingly. I could never accept that anybody is just a number...and now I know just how stupidly wrong I was.
They say you're never to old to learn.
As for any letter of thanks for my efforts for 39 years...I guess it got lost in the post.

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