Our little town has quite a few amenities. One of the most important is that we have kept our Post Office. I choose to get my weekly retirement pension through the Post Office. Yes I know it would be more convenient to have it paid directly into my Bank Account - then I could even get my money from the hole in the wall, although we are lucky that we still have two Banks in the town.
But thinking I was being altruistic I chose the Post Office.
Each Tuesday morning I go down to the Post Office, draw out my money, pay the newspaper bill and then drive to the supermarket for my weekly shopping. Yes, I know it is boring but I am afraid that I am a creature of habit and find it so much easier to carry on my life in this way. Then I go on to my friend, G, and we have a coffee and a chat. We used to have a Danish pastry too but now we are both being sensible!
Tomorrow morning I need a flying start as we have to go and collect my fascinator from the milliner, so I thought it would be sensible to break the habit of the last ten years and go down on a Monday afternoon. When I arrived at the Post Office there was only one desk open and there were eighteen people in front of me in the queue. It took exactly one hour.
When I got to only one person standing in front of me, the man being served at the desk had a huge pile of packets to put through for posting and each one had to be put through separately. The lady in front of me asked him if he intended posting them all and when he said yes she said to the lady behind the desk, "I'm sorry but I think an hour is too long. I just am not waiting any longer." and she stormed off.
Seconds later the second desk opened. Even so, the lady behind me had a shopping trolley full of parcels to put through. What makes monday so special that all these people are putting through such huge amounts of stuff?
Anyway, having got the money, paid the paper bill, driven home and sorted myself out I could not find my card. I came to the conclusion that I must have left it in the machine. So I unlocked the garage, went back, only to find sixteen in the queue this time - and two desks open. Then, luckily, I spotted that the first person in the queue was someone I know, so I was able to pop in front of him and ask and yes - I had left my card. I was soon home again but it had taken up the whole afternoon. This will not have to happen many times before I abandon any altruistic thoughts towards and Post Office and transfer to my bank.
Now to a piece of more cheering news. I heard on the News this evening, ten minutes ago, that they are getting nearer to eradicating Poliomyelitis from the world. They have done it with smallpox - Polio next. There has been such a stringent campaign of vaccination in India - often done by British Rotarian ladies - that no new cases have been reported in the last year. Sadly that is not the case in two neighbouring countries - Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I can vividly remember the first big Polio epidemic around the late forties, early fifties. Many children in the village of Digby in Lincolnshire, quite near to where I lived, went down with the disease and many died or were left maimed in some way. Everyone became terrified of catching it. We stopped swimming in our local river; everything was blamed for causing it. It is so good that a vaccine was developed and is now serving such a worthwhile purpose.
I can also remember when the scourge was TB - or consumption as we called it. Almost every family in our village was touched in some way by the illness. Many people lost sons and daughters. It seemed to target young, healthy people the most. And I remember the Sanitorium in the next village, where patients spent all their time in bed on verandahs in the hope that the fresh air would cure them. Of course, the cure eventually came with the use of antibiotics. It seems as fast as we conquer one thing, another comes along to take its place.