Monday, 14 January 2013

Chapter Fifty Nine

It is now the first week of December and I am going through a rapid and difficult learning curve. I started my old Bentley job ten years ago on the same date. Like now, there was mountains of mail plus packets to get rid of. Like now, it was dark, wet, and miserable  which sucked all the energy and strength out of you. But...unlike now...at least I knew the duty.
This has been an incredible first week with an awful lot of learning  and understanding to take on board. I never realised I would struggle so much.
I am not a 'racehorse' on delivery; I'm more of a 'shire horse'. I don't train and work extremely hard for several months before putting everything I have into one big race. I'm the one who puts on his harness and plods; albeit I do this all day long and can keep going all day long.
Nothing has changed since I came down here; I still do a good job; but it takes all day.
My first week was one of bewildering facts to learn. I carried a book of maps and address rotations for the whole time. It did make me laugh though. What people must have thought seeing their postman clutching maps, diagrams, and a compass beggars belief.
Anybody delivering on the mail knows that you need to know far more than anybody else would expect. You need to know where every dog lives; where every small child might be playing; where you can drive; where you have to walk; where you can leave stuff; where you can't; where people are in; where they are out. You need to know the roads; the lanes; the farm tracks; the places you may get stuck.
On this one I deliver to a place with a drop, probably forty feet down, which is just a foot from the wheels to the rocks and sea below. Between the wheels and the edge of the drive, is just fresh air. There is no room to be complacent.
This does not make my duty unique; most delivery jobs have this sort of thing and they have to be learned. At times it was terrifying; most of the time it was difficult; at times it was too easy for words; but every minute of the time I loved it.
The first week was one of those that we all have to go through...and all hope its in the middle of Summer with decent weather and not a vast amount of mail. By Sunday I felt worn out and very old.
Linda spent the day wrapping up presents; sorting out the guinea pigs; and writing Christmas cards. And would you believe it...so did I. Well; not the guinea pigs; I was entrusted with the bird feeders.
I also cleaned out the van from one end to the other and put my own stuff in there. Like my old van at Bentley,it now contains everything I may need for a days work. Its been personalised.
The maps, compass, and delivery bible got slung back into the frame on the Monday the 10th; and I have not looked back since.
St Mawes and St Just are two lovely places and right smack on the coast. I deliver right on the seaside one minute and right in the countryside the next. Its brilliant. With luck I shall stay on this until the re sign in April. Sadly then it looks like I will then lose it. My forty years service is not going to be honoured by Royal Mail so I am somewhat low in the pecking order of seniority. I went from the number one spot on deliveries to number 125.
But I'm enjoying things and thats the main thing.
Thankfully, things are also improving for Linda. She is no longer to be doing the work she didn't apply for. She will now revert to her role of being a support worker. Not before time in my opinion. She belongs out there with people; supporting them and helping them. I feel she was wasted by being kept in an office every day of the week.
The change in her has been amazing and her outlook has become very positive and focussed on the future. She really looks like the person I know best, and not the stranger I've been living with for a year. Its a brilliant way to end the year...positives all around.
Linda has joined a band. Thats her at the back beside the tree. Her red coat has two reflective panels on it because its my work coat!! She hasn't had time to get her uniform yet but looked good in what she had.
She joined a couple of weeks ago and loves it. They are a nice crowd and Linda fits in well. This photo was taken at St Mawes. Amazingly; only yesterday it was pouring down, and after hours and hours of rain...it cleared and we had a nice evening.
We had been in Mevagissey a couple of days before to see the Christmas Lights and have a meal. It was dry but very windy on a high tide. We ate in the litle pub on the quay and watched the tide lapping within two inches of the quayside. Twelve hours later the tide came over the top and flooded all the quay including the pub we had just eaten in.
Here we are now only a few miles away and you would think nothing untoward had ever taken place. It was a lovely evening, although a little cold, and the group played a long and noisy session. I went along to watch and have to confess that I really enjoyed it. I can't wait to see Linda when she graduates up to one of those big drums. By then she will probably deaf as well. She say's that on practice nights, the vibration from the drumming makes things fall off the wall.
We spent the rest of the evening in the pub opposite and joined in with some communal carol singing and folk songs. Great fun and a good laugh.
On Sunday we were in our local little church for the carol concert. That was great fun as well and we enjoyed that too. I've never been so busy at Christmas time.
Bit of a sombre moment now. 17th of December this year is exactly 50 years to the day and the date, that Sue was killed. Every year on this date I have put flowers or a wreath on her grave. Since moving down here, Fiona has taken over for me. I can never thank her enough as she did it as a gift to me.
The grave is a little old and battered now, and my dad is in there as well. Fiona put a wreath on there from Susan and put on a Christmas tree for my dad. As she so rightly said, "Grandad can't have a Christmas without a tree."
It means more to me than I could ever say.    

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