Postie delivers first warning of Royal Mail cut-back
My daylight hours are filled with construction jobs, pushing to get the new cattle building ready. And in between times, there are a mess of stock jobs backing up, as the weather drops steadily away toward winter.
While my pal Toby measures and cuts roof timbers, the jointed rafters measuring in at over 32ft, sitting on massive 12in x 5in beams, I'm beavering away at infrastructure. The groundwork for the raised feed passage is mostly done, and we'll soon begin carting in the 100 tonnes of fill needed to bring the level up. And yes, it is 100 tonnes… 700mm x 4.8m x 18m, you do the maths. Happily, I'm a man with a lot of stone. Then to form the ramp, and pour the reinforced slab on top, endeavouring to make sure it falls slightly away from centre. And all this so I can stand above my bovines of a winter's morning, admiring their beauty.
All the heavy graft has ignited a warming bout of tennis elbow, and badly pulled a muscle in my neck. Hmm, and to think if I'd studied harder as a youth, I could be sitting at a desk in a nice warm office now.
Right, what's happening elsewhere?
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The very day the news was filled with the sale of the Royal Mail, a letter arrived with our weary and far-travelled postie, from his regional 'big boss'. It announced that, due to the ever decreasing volume of letters being posted, he was going to have to jiggle around collection times and the like. We'd hardly notice the difference he assured us. In a very clear loud voice, he calmed our fears. These slight changes might – only might – have to be implemented to make the whole business more efficient.
And sure enough, buried in the latter part of the letter, just where your mind's eye might've glazed over, resting happy in the secure knowledge that this age-old institution is safe and well, were some weasel words. Apparently, he might need to 'temporarily adjust delivery arrangements'. Hmm. Given that we are so far out at the end of a very long single-track, and critically, unprofitable road, I think I can smell a rodent in these platitudes. And therein lies my objection to the selling off of public services. Either we have equal access to such things, or we don't. I concede that my address isn't an easy drop. As the winter storms blow in, I half expect poor postie to arrive with extra jerry cans of fuel lashed to his roof, beside a couple of spare wheels kitted with snow chains. But will his boss, to placate an army of new shareholders, decide that perhaps it would be pertinent if, temporarily, I only got the post every other day?
We shall see.
The letter also reminded me that not only is the 'Post Office' logo a trademark, but so is the colour red. Eh? Run that past me again? Does that mean that, should the shareholders be feeling the pinch, they might try to extract retribution and royalties from anyone who has ever painted anything red.
I think I'm going to go back to homing pigeons, or possibly handing rolled up parchments to passing coaches, sealed with a dollop of wax stamped by the old Ducal ring.
There are also a couple of snippets from the week's news I thought we should share.
Firstly, an ad in the farming press caught my eye, marketing a substantial acreage of grade 1 Cambridgeshire arable ground near Ely, and some of the very best land in the country, capable of growing just about anything. Well, until the sea level sneaks up a few inches that is. And guess what? Why, it was also fashionably covered with solar panels. My oath George, who thinks that's a good idea?
And then, after last week's budget difficulties in the States, when thousands of civil servants had to take a day or two off for want of pay, things are getting back to normal. At last, I hear, the US Parks Department have 're-opened The Grand Canyon'.
I want you to think about that as we both get back to work.
Later old friend.