Monday, 30 June 2014


When I was a postman. We had to clock in at 5am six mornings a week. I found that difficult. This morning I woke up at 5am - back then I would be expected to be sorting the mail into boxes and attempting to engage in the bawdy banter (bawdy banter?) flying round the Hampton sorting office. That was a test. Eric Fraser lived in Hampton. Very nice house. Walled garden out of a Victorian novel. Fraser had wisteria growing up his wall growing round  his impressive front door. Large shiny polished letterbox. Big envelopes carrying his illustration briefs for Radio Times and General Electric. His regular postman was Bill Sawyer, peaked cap at a jaunty angle. Bill always looked as if he was in on a joke and might have something of interest to say, but he never did. Bill was a bit dull but he 'owned' the best walk in the postal district of Hampton and Hampton Hill. I was a relief postman and I would cover all the walks of the postal district of Hampton and Hampton Hill when the regular posties were off on their holidays. Bill would panic knowing when any of us relief postmen would cover for him, his was the easiest and most beautiful walk. By the Thames on a summer's morning herons skimming through the  mist raising from the water's surface an all that, ducks having a domestic. Bill would take over two hours to complete his first morning's delivery (In those olden days there would be two deliveries of the Royal mail before one o' clock) and on Thursdays three hours and same again most Fridays. We relief boys might take forty five minutes on a Monday or a Tuesday and maybe an hour and a half on the heavy days. Bill with his peaked cap at a jaunty angle always had a smirk on his face. Dull Bill was a bit of a ladies man. Dapper. Red tie checked shirt and cycle clips. Nice area to be a postman. He didn't approve of our express delivery. He would always hiss advice to  spin out his delivery technique or else Bill would be in danger of having extra postal codes added on to his nice little walk. He was a crafty seasoned pro. Was Bill. Much to learn from.  Hat at a jaunty angle for one.
Illustrating Juvenal I found difficult. How far to push the envelope... is that what they say. How far to go in 2014. Not very far.  Drawings at a jaunty angle add a little humour, seduce the ladies. No I have this capacity to make life difficult. I need to be a bit more like Bill Sawyer.

1 comment:

  1. And he was always talking to Fred about the violinist Fritz Kreisler. And 'your quiz inquisitor Michael Miles' was one of his customers. And remember we had to empty the postbox on the Upper Sunbury Road at the end of the round? Ah, halcyon days indeed....