This morning I visited this little Post Office. I regularly send packages and letters to various friends and family and recently I have been posting books to my grandson, Gabriel. He is 9 yrs old and a keen reader; something I like to encourage by sending a regular supply of books, which I usually buy from the local charity shops, thus helping the charity and delighting Gabe with his own ‘post‘ …. which makes him feel very grown-up and special.
This lovely little Post Office is 3 miles away, in the village of Little Weighton. The village in which I live has neither a shop nor a Post Office, the best we have to offer is a single village pub. So Little Weighton Post Office serves quite a large area and is always busy.
As you can see, it is also a general store, selling a plethora of groceries, fresh bread, wines and spirits, newspapers and magazines, sweets and chocolate, handbags, scarves, trinkets and gifts, cards for all occasions and even sacks of logs for wood-burning stoves and open fires. The windows and notice board are full of cards offering various services ( no ….. not THAT !!) Items for sale, upcoming events, childminders, dog walkers and mobile hairdressers……in fact practically anything you can think of … ( hmmm, yes, probably even THAT !)
And so the Post Office is the hub of the village. A place where people gather and chat.
Of course, you don’t have to be in much of a hurry as the friendly postmaster takes his time to help the older folk with everything. He smiles at the babies and is patient with the old gent who can’t remember his PIN number. He always has a cheery word for me, too and takes an interest in the various children’s books that I send off to Gabriel, even though he must be bored rigid with my chatter. His wife looks after the ‘shop’ and serves everyone with a smile and a cheery word. And there is always plenty of time for gossip …… who is having a baby …. or a new car …or a new man !!
In a world where everything is ‘rush, rush, rush, ‘ its so nice to pause a while and take a breath, acknowledge your neighbours and laugh a little. I often think that some of the customers actually only visit the Post Office for the craic. Many old folk, and young ones too, live alone. I’m sure that many of them don’t speak to another soul all day, so this little store is a lifeline for them. loneliness is a dreadful thing.
And yet, Post Offices like this are being closed all over the country. What will people do ? They don’t all have vehicles and some can’t even manage to get on a bus.
And who will they chat to, then ………. ?