The Sound of the Letterbox

I turned nine in 1981. That put me in the heyday of VHS players, Raleigh bikes and Swap Shop.

Saturday afternoons consisted of watching the football results come in while eating sandwiches at my Gran’s before the Pink Panther came on. (You’re not allowed a cake until you’ve finished your sandwiches).

The summer holidays last forever and it was warm. I remember the roads shimmering with heat and the tarmac in the road getting soft. The sun used to know how to shine. You played outside with your friends from dawn ‘til dusk and beyond.


letterbox-whizzerI loved reading books, but I also loved comics. Well, two comics. Buster and Whizzer and Chips. They were utter nonsense, of course, but a delight nonetheless. Occasionally, they would have a free gift or sweets taped to the front. My copies were delivered, and this, my friends, is the origin of my love of mail being delivered.

I remember vividly a copy of Whizzer and Chips arriving with a packet of fizzy dust on the cover. This was pure magic! Someone had sent me this and it had been delivered to my house! I came downstairs in the morning and it was ….. just there. (This was back when the post arrived first thing).

Your birthday started off with listening for cards dropping through the letterbox. People used to send cash and book tokens in cards through the mail. After all, this precedes, by decades, the option to email Amazon vouchers. Your granny would put a fiver in a card and pay the 12p to send it to you. There’s another wonder. My other gran lived in Falmouth. I lived in Durham. For 12p, you could transport a piece of card 452 miles. It beggars belief.


letterbox-postmanWhen I was older, the comics became computer game magazines with odd names like Zzap64!, but the anticipation that came with looking for the postman remained. A letter or parcel with my name on it? Why didn’t my parents, who got mail every day, share my enthusiasm? I’d find out soon enough when 95% of my mail became bills or mailing list nonsense.

And so we fast forward to 2016 and that buzz of the mail is with me still. I’ve named my site after it! As somebody who enters a fair few competitions, I know that a prize can arrive at any time. You can be notified by email, phone, text, or it can just arrive on your doorstep. The possibility for having a winning notification interrupt your daily life adds an extra frisson to what could otherwise be quite ordinary. A shit day will still be a shit day if you don’t win but at least there’s the potential for it to spark into something quite special.

And so it is. The clatter of the letterbox remains, to these ears, a reminder of possibilities and the notification of good news. Sometimes! Just don’t get me started on couriers who deliver “You missed us” cards rather than parcels……


  1. 10 February 2016

    There is still something exciting about checking through the mail, especially a magazine or parcel. Even when it’s not so much of a surprise (after all it’s me who’s paid for it!)

  2. 10 February 2016

    I love this! Your childhood sounds very much like mine apart from my delivered comics were Beano and then onto Jackie magazine. I adore getting things through the post and I think it’s the reason I do so much internet shopping!

  3. 10 February 2016

    For me it was Archie comics (from the US) – I miss getting proper mail though

  4. 10 February 2016

    I loved my Raleigh bike, every few years for xmas I would get a new one which would be hidden in the kitchen for me to find after I had opened all my other gifts. I use to enter comps years ago and I use to love getting suprises in the mail too

  5. 10 February 2016

    I still love getting post! unfortunately a lot of what I get is junk but every now and again I get a good surprise! ( i also order graze boxes too so that’s always fun to hear out for!)

  6. 10 February 2016

    I dread the post ha means bills unless I have had a recent shopping spree on eBay and then I am happy when the postman knocks

  7. 10 February 2016

    I never read or heard of these comments but I did like the Beano and Dandy if you ever read them?

  8. 10 February 2016

    I was ten in 1981! I feel so old now. I used to love Smash Hits – remember waiting for the lyrics of the latest songs to be in it!? Kaz

  9. 10 February 2016

    VHS! We were a Betamax house. My brother said Sony video recorders were better quality. It did mean though we couldn’t hire any videos!

  10. 11 February 2016

    I love getting post too but boy do i HATE those delivery cards – especially when we were in (normally the teen who is so engrossed in his game he won’t answer the door)

  11. 11 February 2016

    My cats are like neighbourhood watch and know the postman is coming, so a lot of the time I am able to make it to the door before he rings the bell!

  12. 12 February 2016

    I didn’t get comics delivered when I was a kid, but my daughter used to get the Moshi Monster magazine delivered for a couple of years and she would get so excited when it arrived 🙂

  13. 12 February 2016

    All that seems to come through the letterbox these days is junk mail and bills 🙁 Miss the excitement of real letters and postcards.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *