THE ROYAL STAMP OF APPROVAL -SPIRALLING

I read that Royal Mail ‘International Economy Mail’ for for post of a weight up to 20g and specified small measurements was 81p.

A quick bit of mental arithmetic immediately told me that I might save a whopping 16p per item on the 97p ‘Standard’ International Mail. Read on…

If I was not in a hurry for mail to arrive, it would be at destination within two weeks. At the end of November 2014, there was plenty of time for my international Christmas mail to go Economy class.

This was getting quite exciting…… (in a post-ish sort of way)

I scrolled down the page where I found an invitation to print my own stamps at ‘no more cost than it would be at a Post Office counter’.

Now that was definitely rather far fetched. I would be using my printer ink; my paper; my labels; all at my cost, and I would pay the full up postage costs. Also, I would still have to physically post the mail into a mail box either outside the Post Office, or, a mail box at the Sorting Office, equidistant in the opposite direction. It definitely was not difficult to decline the invitation to be my own post mistress. Anyway, I rather like having a fully functioning Post Office to take my business to.

Scrolling down a bit further I was invited to click for further guidance;

International Economy Mail is the smart new name for what we used to know as Surface Mail – Enlightenment dawned; that’s why using this posting method would take some time to get there, but that’s okay, time is on my side.

Uh oh. The definition for ‘International’ is lots of places on the map except the land mass we know as Western Europe.

Except Western Europe !!!!

So, Folks, it’s great news if your mail is going mostly anywhere but in Western Europe. If your mail is going west, your extra pennies will go with it at a minimum of 97p per letter, up to maximum weight of 20g and within specified quite small measurements.

Bah! Humbug.

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VARIOUS KINDS OF WAFTINGS FROM ONE YEAR INTO THE NEXT

What have I done so far since the last weeks of 2013 wafted away and 2014 blasted in.

I have felt weary, tired, but definitely not fed up; I am not affected by the long dark days at this time of year. What I am affected by, I believe, is the relentlessness of the festive expectations that are manipulated by commercial interests.

For heaven’s sake, Christmas trees hanging from store ceilings in September, all dressed up with their tinsel and faux parcels!

IMG_0248_Tree-Jenners-Edinburgh-Wb

This in-store tree in Edinburgh was a  real one, which, unlike others,  was a great feature with twinkling lights, at about the expected [right]  festive time. It would have been wilted and horrible had it been in place in the very warm environment of the store, for around three months.  Perish the thought!

I was pleased our town’s street lights were not switched on until the 7th November 2013. That’s weeks behind the lighting up in major cities. The lights are pretty, a gentle tradition to brighten up the darkness.

 

P1010346-Decorated-Little-Town-Wb

Getting back to the frenzied reality, there’s the need to get packages and well-wishing correspondence sent by mid October if you want it to definitely arrive in time for mid December in the Antipodes and the Americas, we’re told, notwithstanding the blatant profiteering of the mail system; the costs of posting anything have soared. There are leaflets telling you what can and cannot be sent and where whatever it is, can and cannot be sent. Added to that, there’s a memory test, you are interrogated by the teller as to what is in the parcels and packages. It is almost like airport security. My gift package of two mini Xmas puddings was checked against an explosives list!!!!

We travelled on Christmas Day, 25th December. It’s rare to share the road with many cars on this day. This year was an exception. People had taken note of the severe weather warnings and delayed their journeys. One of the few businesses open, a Brewers Fare restaurant, was quiet when we arrived before the lunch rush. We were looking for restrooms and a hot drink. The staff were so accommodating, finding a space for us to sit and have cups of coffee, then giving us takeaway drinks for the journey.

On lower ground it poured with rain. Up high, there was some snow; the snow ploughs and gritters were busy at work, we passed four.

At The Portrait Gallery Edinburgh

When we returned home, it felt so good slipping back into my own bed for the first time in 2014 and drifting off to a relatively restful sleep.

This week, we have waved cheerio to our liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tank, a garden feature for far too many years. I got to connect the lifting chains.

 

The hydraulic lifting mechanism was a fine bit of engineering. It took quite some time to complete the manoeuvrings both sides of the fence. Once on the lorry in the right position, our tank had to be strapped securely into place. Regulations prohibited the vehicle to be driven off till the remaining LPG was drained out of the tank into the fixed white one on the trailer.

 

 

A morning and two mugs of tea later, (for the driver) a signature on a receipt for the tank’s removal, the job was completed and the driver was off to pick up the next tank.

 

WHERE DID YOU SAY OUR NEAREST MAIN POST OFFICE WILL BE?

Our worn and weary MAIN POST OFFICE is going to be closed for at least two weeks in January for ‘upgrading’. Dealing with the three years old, (plus some) hole in the ceiling and the leak from the roof that runs along the cables into a bucket in the customer area, more like.

The helpful [not!] people in a London UK head office have advised customers who wish to deal with the business elements that main post offices are authorised to do, for example, checking passport and driving licence applications, to go to the next nearest main post office. To get to it, we would have to take a ferry journey of 21 miles across the sea!!!!!! 🙄

Oops, oh dear, well, there are a couple of sub-post offices equidistant, about five miles from where I live that can deal with general post. Alternatively, if you fancy a 40 miles round trip, there’s another post office that can undertake some of the work.

WHERE ON EARTH DO YOU THINK WE ARE?

Our worn and weary MAIN POST OFFICE is going to be closed for at least two weeks in January for ‘upgrading’. Dealing with the three years old, (plus some) hole in the ceiling and the leak from the roof that runs along the cables into a bucket in the customer area, more like.

The helpful [not!] people in a London UK head office have advised customers who wish to deal with the business elements that main post offices are authorised to do, for example, checking passport and driving licence applications, to go to the next nearest main post office. To get to it, we would have to take a ferry journey of 21 miles across the sea!!!!!! 

Oops, oh dear, well, there are a couple of sub-post offices equidistant, about five miles from where I live that can deal with general post.  Alternatively, if you fancy a 40 miles round trip, there’s another post office that can undertake some of the work.

It leads you to think, (being kind and generous here) that either maps do not exist, or,  if they do, they do not show major seas.  Then again, we  do know some internet maps even move land masses to different parts of the globe.

THE PRICE OF GOODWILL POST

The price of postage, like everything else, is an expense that has got to be carefully budgeted for. I was really taken aback when I posted a few cards and a couple of packages abroad, recently. Not only are the weight gates for all these items very narrow, just a few grams for letters before the cost hikes up to another silver plated level, also, parcels are in a gilded price class of their own.

I had already decided that I was going to reduce on festive mail with all its associated costs, but, in all honesty I had not realised just how much it would have to be pared down. Where I can, I shall be emailing greetings and delivering cards myself. I think the electronic card business might be expanding and I might swell their number. With this in mind, I am making sure people have my email address, and I want theirs too.

The counter clerk now asks what I have packed into my packages, though not in my large letter?! She needs to know, she says, when I stand there, silent, trying to remember what I wrapped up sometime ago. It’s a memory test. It is becoming like airport security, without the x-ray equipment at the input end…yet.

Five cards slightly over 10 grams each – not over-sized- for mainland Europe cost me £1.28p each

A Parcel about 780 grams was a whopping £6.30p

So, today I sent slightly smaller cards, they were just under the 10grams @ cost 0.88p each

One larger card weighing under 10grams had a smaller one tucked into it to pass onto a family member; total cost £1.28p instead of 88p each. I saved 44p

Surface mail USA £1.33p (Airmail would have cost £1.83p. The 50p stayed in my purse).

A couple of years ago I discovered sending a package to mainland Europe by surface mail was just 5p cheaper than using air mail!!!

UK letter mail up to 100g second class is 50p and 60p for first class mail. In addition, there are different charges for large letters. Woe betide you if your first or second class letter, or, even your large one, do not fit through the template gauges. You’ll need to reach for your wallet or purse

Goodwill becomes more than a little jaded with the kind of charges that are being imposed from many quarters. Something has to give.

KEEPING CONNECTIONS

Prices surge up and over the top, but never slide down. The once a year seasonal contact becomes ever more expensive. Not everyone has access to internet technology, nor is everyone savvy with computers.The cost of posting a letter can be a burden when budgeting becomes ever tighter. Even some friends who say “email me” do not seem to realise that a reply to that all-important first one would be a definitive first step to securely sharing that once a year chat in another way. On the other hand, could the lack of communication be that the email address given was not quite right. Then again, if it was wrong, the mail would have dumped itself right back into my in-box; that has not happened.

I guess I shall just have to keep writing emails, trying to make contact, and hoping that someone, (preferably the right recipients) are reading what I send. I suppose, I should also send the regular snail mail card, as I have always done. I do want to keep the connections with my friends.

YAY!DOUGLAS ADAMS LIVES ON IN THE POST

This is the doorstep conversation with one of our local postmen;

Having handed me three packages, thereby giving me two armfuls, he tells me I’d have to free up my hands to sign for the mail, (the postman just freed his passing over the load to me). :??:

Oh Lord I groaned….

No, I am not, anyway, Douglas Adams decided it[the Lord] was a cat. 88|

Continuing, the postman said,

We haven’t got any here (Lords)….

We have, on the other side of town….

Ah, but they’re not with a big ‘L’….

Yes they are…

No, not a really big ‘L’….

Like a Gothic one you mean.

BTW expect snow tomorrow…..

Thanks, says I. 8|

WHO KNOWS WHERE IT IS?

I posted just before Xmas, about the 20th December, a seasonally themed post. The darn went somewhere, but who knows where, because it did not show up where expected, or anywhere else as far as I know.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it winged its way to Santa Land for the amusement and delectation of Mr and Mrs Claus and their hard working elves. Then again, I wonder if the post landed up at the cyber feet of the reindeer.

:-/

THE FEEDING POST

This morning I saw the cutest thing at the bird feeding post. I was so wrapped up with watching the interaction, I did not even think of grabbing a camera. A green finch alighted on one of the perches of a a peanut holder. On the ground below head turned up expectantly, a wood-pigeon waited. Its patience was rewarded as the green finch pecked out bits of nut, turned to look down at the wood pigeon and let the pieces drop at its feet. This happened several times, then the green-finch carried on pecking and feeding itself, uninterrupted.

Another wood pigeon espied the dropping of ‘manna from heaven’ and ventured towards the feeder post and its pigeon compatriot to see if it could muscle in on the favours awarded to the first pigeon. The unwelcome visitor was swiftly dismissed, by being chased off in no uncertain manner, for daring to attempt to muscle in the already claimed turf.

THE FEEDING POST

The wee garden birds and the not so wee ones, have not been visiting my garden bird feeders in any number and I have been puzzling about this. Could it be, I wondered, the change of feed. The local shops were out of packets of seed as so many people were putting out food. So, in the depths of the Arctic blast we had, I went to a local farm shop and bought about 20 kilos of their ordinary bird seed mix. Could the seed really have been totally different…surely, bird seed is what it is. The peanut house, which holds a kilo of nuts was not going down very fast either. I had not changed my nut supplier.

Perhaps the birds were well supplied with the thoughtfulness of all the other people feeding them and they did not need my offerings. I continued to wait and watch. The other morning, I believe I was presented with the true and not so palatable answer. As I gazed through the window a sparrow hawk flew close by; close enough for me to see a small bird being carried in its claws.