There is, too, the delight of returning junk mail unstamped. Something we are unable to do with a fax or the tele-salesperson who insists on calling in the middle of our favourite television programme.
In rural life the post-woman/man is very important. Ours are efficient, delivering over a widely spaced, complicated area; taking letters to the sorting office if one is old or unwell, or just caught behind schedule. Theirs is a trusted and friendly face coming up the path for those who live in isolation and/or alone - important as rural peace is increasingly invaded by petty crime. We need our postie and our local sub-post office, which is our village cash-point.
Is this reporter's licence to print lies or is Peter Popham that old? "A ball of Post Office string" does not exist in my office, only fax machines, foreign currency terminals and computers. I haven't time to talk to the "postie", I've signed the Official Secrets Act, my customers never wait more than two minutes, I dislike cats, don't sell potatoes or newspapers and my counter clerk speaks four languages. However, I only run three Post Offices and I am a woman.
A village postmistress
As many of the institutions we cherish change beyond recognition, the daily delivery from the postman or postwoman brings much. To the rural dweller it is a lifeline to the rest of the country; to the lonely pensioner, possibly the only contact that day; to the business it brings vital commerce.
It is a shame postal workers are having to defend these services. Their plight mirrors what is happening to health and education - turmoil and change at a time when we need stability and security. Yes of course we need postmen and postwomen - every day.
Of course we need postmen. What do we do if a friend is ill or bereaved? Send a fax? What about all the other high and low points of life - the weddings, the births, retirement, graduation, the congratulations and the condolences expressed by the personal choice of cards and letters.
What about the effect on the greetings card and stationery industry? What about Christmas?
There seems to be a feeling that business is all that counts and any expression of individuality or personal choice is to be ignored. I'd never send a fax, even if I had one, to a friend or family - it would be an insult.