Jenny Febry, 45


Country postwoman


pounds 14,500



How long have you been in the job?

Thirteen years. Before that I was a housewife and mother, and worked in a hotel.

Describe what you do

I have 229 drops a day. I have a van and deliver to all the odd bits on the outskirts of Winchcombe. The village is in a valley; I go up all the lanes to farms and other remote dwellings. It's a small round but I travel 30 miles a day.

Where do you live?

Winchcombe is really a large village; it has grown a lot but it's still quaint. I will be moving soon but at the moment I live in a four-bedroomed terraced house I bought 22 years ago with my partner Mervyn and we live there with my son Scott. My other children have left home.

How does your day start?

Two alarm clocks are set for 4.30am, in case one of them doesn't go off. Unless I've been out the night before I usually get up with the first one. It's the best part of the day, especially in summer. This morning I heard a cuckoo. I don't eat breakfast but drink two mugs of tea before setting off for work at about 5.10am with my box of sandwiches. The 500- yard walk to the Post Office wakes me up.

What's your routine?

A big van comes from the Cheltenham office. There are eight of us: five men and three women. All of us help unload it and carry the mail up to the sorting office. We've all got our own little jobs. All the rounds are mixed up so they have to be sorted out. Then you organise the post for your your own round, band it up, put it into trays and get the van loaded. Believe it or not, this can take up to three hours.

What do you wear?

The standard Post Office uniform: navy blue trousers, sweater and pale blue blouse. We're getting a new uniform next year; it's quite good for the Royal Mail.

What do you do for lunch?

We could stop if we wanted to but I eat my sandwiches as I go along. I keep water if I get thirsty or a bottle of pop. Lots of people offer you coffee but you have to keep going.

What stresses you out?

There's so much to do in the early mornings in so little time, and when somebody is off sick or on holiday there is lots more work to do in that time. You make yourself go in even if you're sick - you take time off only if you're really ill. I've had three two-day periods off sick in 13 years. You can get time off for a close relative's funeral but not a friend. Holidays have to be booked in advance and it is difficult to get an extra day like a Saturday at the start of a break.

What are the perks?

Working outside. I like the freedom and meeting people. There's no boss breathing down your neck. Once you're out of the office it's quite a free and easy job.

What are your hours?

43 hours, six days a week.

What do you do after work?

We have two dogs - a German Shepherd and a collie - which have to be taken out for walks. I enjoy gardening and we've got some really nice pine furniture that we have stripped down ourselves. And we do a big shop in Tesco once a fortnight.

Five years ago I collected for Bosnia. I got Royal Mail to pick up the goods that were donated and take them to the station where Red Star took over. Two weeks ago I phoned the headquarters of Feed the Children in Bristol to see how I could help. They told me that they had warehouses full of warm clothes and food but hadn't got the money to pay for transportation. It costs pounds 4,500 to take each lorry over. I still collect things they are really short of, like anything a baby needs except clothes.

Anything they don't need I can sell in our boot fairs. We are having a boot fair this weekend, which is getting a terrific response. We expect to have between 40 to 60 cars each paying pounds 5 a pitch. There is also a raffle and businesses have donated generous prizes.

What's the first thing you do when you get home?

I put the kettle on and then I'm out of my uniform.

How do you feel on a Sunday night?

Sad the weekend's over. I love Sundays but it goes flat, as you know you have to go back to work for Monday. You get quite excited about bank holidays when you get two days off.

Feed the Children Appeal, tel: 0117 955 5959.