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.
I 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.
When 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……