Friday, November 24, 2006

my england

I had a packet to collect from the post office. In front of me was an old lady of eighty or so - alone, wooden stick for support, thin white hair in an old lady's perm, mac, stockings and shoes all from the generic old lady catalogue - who, passing the missed delivery slip over, was trying to engage the postman at the window in conversation, as old ladies do:

"Can't think what 'tis. Warn't expectin' naught. Cost me twelve pounds in taxi fare to come over 'ere."

Old ladies with hip conditions tend not to be able to use the bus - it's too far to walk to the bus-stop.

The patient-but-not-paid-to-chat postman pointed out to her that there was a phone number - if it was just something she had to sign for she could have arranged for it to be delivered another time.

"Oh, where's that, then?"

"On the back"

"Oh, 'tis on back, is it? Didn't think to turn 'im over."

So he disappears for a minute or two and reappears with an envelope. A white envelope. The sort of envelope that you'd put a birthday card in.

"Oh, 'tis a card, is it? Aye, 'twas my birthday yesterday."

An envelope with no stamp on it.

Which she then had to pay a surcharge on to collect.