Postman Pat and the Big Share Sell-Off

Carrier Pigeon

The Royal Mail here in the UK is being privatised.  The fire share-sale has been over-subscribed and big investors have already had their snouts in the trough for a few days, with some kind of pre-trading arrangement sending the share price soaring.  GenPop gets to have a play with whatever they’ve been allocated from tomorrow.  Good luck to all.

I’ve been an enthusiastic consumer of Royal Mail’s services since I was young.  I was an avid letter-writer as a child, with penfriends in the USA, Germany, Australia, Spain and all around the UK.  For a while I collected stamps, steaming them off envelopes arriving from far-flung territories, until David Cassidy and Donny Osmond began to command my pre-pubescent attention.  Cut to a few years later and it was tear-stained letters to a squaddie stationed in Germany.

I’m still a girl at heart, which means I remember people’s birthdays and I like to thank friends when they’ve been especially kind or hospitable.  So I send cards – lots of them – mostly handmade and precious.  And I’m an extreme shopper too – books (of course!) from Amazon, and so, so many things I need, from shopping telly, Ebay and two dozen more favoured outlets.

Way back when, we used to have two deliveries a day; one before I left for school and one shortly after lunch.  A few years ago that dropped to one delivery a day which floated aimlessly around the morning hours and finally settled, where I now live, to a semi-reliable slot in the early afternoon. All well and good, since we send fewer letters and more emails these days, so the argument goes.

But it’s 5pm, and I’ve just this minute heard the post rattle through the letterbox. So is that an aberration – a vandalised van, a poorly postie, or other excusable?  Or is it an indication of the way things are going to go, as Royal Mail strives – struggles – to compete in the private sector.  We’re in a new age where people write rarely using paper and envelopes and stamps, but instead share their lives via texts and Twitter, e-cards and Facebook.  It makes me wonder, if I were growing up today, with technology at my fingertips, would I even know what a stamp was?