Sunday, 16 March 2014

Chapter Eighty Seven

A fair bit of excitement this last month or so. The main topic of news was the birth of our second grandson, Samuel. His mum, Katrina, had approached full term and was just waiting for things to start. On Sunday morning, 2cnd of March, she had twinges of pain and rung the hospital. They advised her to rest but not ring again until the waters had broken or the contractions started much closer together.
In a very short while the waters broke, and Katrina could feel the babies head. Before the midwife and the ambulance could arrive...Sam entered the world under his own steam. Kevin was able to catch him and hold him in his arms just as the ambulance crew arrived. A real home birth, with all the family, even if it was on the bathroom floor.
Oscar walked in on the entire thing and saw his brother. He looked at both his parents and simply asked, 'is this my baby?'   From that moment on, he has been totally in love with him.
Needless to say, Kevin rang us straight away and Linda's face said it all. She is one very proud Grandma.
The following weekend was our seventh wedding anniversary. Although we had been invited to a family party in St Mawes on that Saturday, I had already arranged to take Linda away for a night for a meal and an anniversary break. Very quickly this has now turned into a lightening trip up country to see the new grandson.
The following Saturday found us both in Linda's car and steaming up the A30 towards Surrey. She must have been anxious to get there because we only took four hours...and stopped off for breakfast on the way up as well. I never got near the steering wheel.

It was a fabulous weekend and we crammed a lot into it. We first got around to Katrina's, and Linda was soon holding the baby. Kevin and Oscar were out so it gave us a chance to see Sam without any interuption.
As is usual in the world of babies, I was eventually put in charge of 'holding the baby'. Very quickly he had dozed off in my arms and we were both curled up on the sofa...just like I used to do with Fiona and Lucy.
When Oscar and Kevin came back it was very clear that all three of them had the same look of pride in their faces. Lovely to catch up with them.

Then followed one of the fastest visits in Liam and Linda holidays. We rushed off to see mum and had an hour and a half with her. Great fun and a real surprise for her I think. We then shot off from there and nipped across to Linda's mum and had an hour and a half there. Jayson and Tracey turned up as well so that was great fun.
We then bolted from there and headed across country towards Wrecclesham. Here we caught up with Roxanne and had a meal with her in the Forest Inn. All to soon that time was up and we shot back to our travelodge and fell fast asleep as soon as the heads saw the pillows.
T he glorious weather held over to the following day and we were up and running out the door by ten. We met up with Katrina and the three boys at a nice pub in Fleet and all had breakfast. This was followed by a walk around Fleet Pond. I got put in charge of 'pram duty' and pushed Sam around for the entire time. Oscar was a delight and is proving to be a delightful; youngster.
We then left there and shot across to Farnham to meet up with my two. Jon was unable to be there as he was having driving lessons but we were able to catch up with Fiona, Lucy, and Woody. The two girls looked beautiful as always and it was so good to see them and have lunch with them. Woody is looking very fit as well with all his running and training that he does. They all put Linda and I to shame.
Sadly, our time with them was short and we had to leave. I think Woody may have been pleased as it meant he could get home to the England game in the Six Nations. It is not my place to now send him any grief over the fact that it is Ireland who have won the whole thing, and England who got pushed into second place. He's bigger than me for one thing ha ha.
Linda then got into the passenger seat of the car, exhausted, and was asleep in short order. I drove us home and we got back in a fairly reasonable time. It was a very hectic, yet very rewarding weekend.
Thursday the 27th of February is now the day I shall never forget on Royal Mail. This was the day that Louise, the DOM of our area, came out to St Mawes to get us all to sign for our duties. Although I knew it was a 'done deal' I knew I would never be happy until my name had been signed on the dotted line. That day was the day it happened. I was so pleased I almost burst. Being a postman is what I am; it is my world. To be a postman at the seaside has always been my dream; and to be the postman at St Mawes is really the icing on the cake.
Now it is all signed, sealed, and delivered. I can stay here until I chose to leave. As a small coincidence to all was also Fleetwoods birthday today...he is 83.
He is very pleased for me and I am delighted that my customers all seem to feel the same way.
Two of my closest friends from Bentley are down in Cornwall for the chance the weekend Sam was born...and we went out for a meal with them on the Friday evening.
The four of us had a lovely walk around the hotel they are staying at before we headed off to Mevagissey for a walk around there. A lovely evening and a real sense of the beginnings of a change in the weather. There is still a lot of rain about but the good patches are lasting longer.
We had our dinner at the Polgooth Arms were I had dinner and played in the quiz with Fiona and Woody. It was good to see them and we had a nice catch up.
The new working arrangements are now taking place in the Truro area and you can imagine the chaos in Royal Mail. All the new changes and working practices HAVE to be implimented. The word from on high is very simple...IT HAS TO WORK...END OF STORY. As you can imagine, this makes for a very difficult situation. What they are saying is basically...whether it is workable or not, you must make it work.
For St Mawes this has been a particularly ridiculous idea. It will never work on the plan Royal Mail want. It is neither cost effective, sensible, safe, or workable. Historically, our tiny village office has worked brilliantly since the time of Rowland Hill. If any changes to improve had been required, they would have been done. With this thought in mind, we decided that a simple tweaking would keep both sides happy.
Thankfully, we have been granted a degree of latitude to adapt the whole thing to our office. To the amazement of myself and the two Davids...the adaptation has worked...and worked well.
We are delighted and Royal Mail seem pleased that at least one of their Truro SPDO's is working well.
I am continuing with my job exactly as before, so no problem there. The two boys however have been given a van to share. One of them pops out early with the van and delivers all his heavy and large packets, plus most of his 'sign for' stuff. He also drops off his secondary bags at the safe houses. Meanwhile, the other lad walks around the quay and harbour area and delivers all that. He is never more than two minutes from the office so he just keeps nipping in and out. The first lad gets back, grabs his first pouch, and heads off on delivery.
The second lad then drives out with his heavy and large and 'signed for' stuff, and delivers those. He too drops off his secondary bag at an ex postmans house safe drop. He then returns the van to the quay and parks it on the harbour. He then heads off, walking along the parade and continues with his round.The second postman finishes at the top were his car is parked and can sort himself out before going home. The first postman does his circuit and finishes back at the post office were his van is parked.
The beauty of the whole thing is...its simple, safe,secure, cost effective, and its workable.
I have done two stints on Lemon Street over the last fortnight and I enjoyed them. I have to say though that I hope I don't get called back in to help out again.  Nice to say a goodbye to that duty, but I'm a St Mawes man now.
Linda is enjoying her life down here as well. She is very happy working out in the local community and meeting local people. She is also very busy in the garden and on her allotment. A constant ball of fire, she is never happier than when she is doing as much work as possible. With a bit of luck now, she should be in a position to start promoting her own business soon.
Now that my new duty hours are changed all Royal Mail staff get a long weekend every four weeks. Linda also works alternate weekends...and the coincide. This means we alwayswill have a two-day weekend, every four weeks. We plan on camping out during the summer months and visiting parts of Devon and Cornwall.
A mate of mine down here, often goes camping with his wife and they walk in different places or go kayaking. We hope to do the same. It should be fun.
One final thing. This year is the anniversary of the start of 'The Great War'. My great grand dad was killed at Passchendaele in 1917. I have never forgotten him, although I never met him. Recently I was approached to see if I had any memorabilia concerning him. This is for an exhibition which will include focus on all soldiers killed from the 'Budleigh' area of Devon. I was delighted to be asked and very proud for great grand dad as you can imagine.

Below is the chap who contacted me and I have included the name and address of the museum. Has anybody else reading this got any information you can send Michael? I bet he would be pleased to hear from you.
Look up Fairylynch Museum anyway. The exhibition starts in April and should be fascinating. Linda and I will definitely be going, and hopefully we will take mum as well. If any of you are down this way on holiday I think you will find this worth a visit. Just look out for Private John Hill.  

Michael Downes
Secretary and Publicity Officer Fairlynch Museum and Arts Centre
27. Fore Street,
Budleigh Salterton,
01395 442666
'Something's happening at Fairlynch'

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