'This is the night mail crossing the border,
bringing the cheque and the postal order.....'
Auden's poem is still exciting to listen to, with its rhythm of the train diddle-de-dotting over the rails and the men and women sorting through the mail as it goes over the border into Scotland ready for delivery the next morning. Someone read it at our Poetry afternoon. It is a lovely poem to read out, with its fantastic rhythm.
Is it just my age or does everyone wish they still received 'ordinary' letters? Yes, e mails are superb with their instant queries and instant replies. If I wish to know whether my niece can come to stay I can e mail her with dates and get a reply within five minutes. But nothing quite replaces that feeling of excitement when the plop on the mat means a letter.
You pick up the letter, you recognise the handwriting, you put the letter to one side until coffee time, make a coffee, get a biscuit, sit down and savour several pages of news from a friend or relation.
Cheques are almost extinct, I think Postal Orders already are. I don't expect there is even a night mail train any more. Does anyone know whether there is or not?
My mail has just this moment arrived, so I shall go and pick it up and review it for you.
1. A letter about a Cancer Campaign in my area. This is marked 'For Private Business use only. Recorded correspondence. I have a charity which I support each Christmas. One year it was cancer research, so every few weeks I get a letter asking for more. I am afraid this does not encourage me to give them my support.
2. A letter from my Private Health Insurance company. This is the third letter that I have received saying exactly the same thing. I can only assume they have me three times on their data base.
3. A third letter from the same source for the farmer.
4. A letter from the tax office for the farmer (I know where it is from from the back of the envelope, I don't open his mail!)
5. A letter from my bank confirming a standing order - which had already been confirmed verbally.
6. One unsolicited catalogue for silk flowers. (Often there are half a dozen such catalogues)
Of those letters only two are even necessary. Assuming this is the kind of thing delivered to most households, one wonders at the senseless number of trees felled to make the paper used,
I know we cannot stop progress but how I would love to get just one letter to sit and open over my coffee. I might even break my keeping weight off rule and have a biscuit as well.