Saturday, 24 March 2012

Letter 24

Letter 24 is hidden at the back of this pile of post! This week I sent a letter to a hospital. That was exciting, it's been a very long time since I wrote Ward X on an envelope. My Grandpa is in the hospital at the moment, but is fine, just waiting for the next step. I wrote a cheerful note to let him know I was thinking of him even though I hadn't been able to visit.

The pile also includes an application letter for a course I want to go on across the summer in herbal medicine at Dilston Physic Garden. And then there is of course, the usual Postcrossing crop! The cards reflect the geography of where I've been recently pretty well: York for my birthday; Boston for Pa Allen; Scarborough and Filey just for fun the other week. I can see that and you can see that, but I don't explain that on the back of the cards. That for me, the cards form a group, since I tend to write a few at a time. It makes you think about all the links between people.

Another card I got today reminded me about the things people share. Letters can often become confessional as what you write pours out and feelings order themselves against biro on paper. A postcard came today that told me a secret from a person - they'd not ever been kissed romantically. I fall prey to this too (not the unkissing) where I'll write a card to a stranger and well not tell a secret, but say something that is probably not suitable postcard discussion - someone in the Netherlands doesn't want to know about the price of a cup of PG Tips (not even Yorkshire) at the hospital. With the secret, is the revelation for them, or me?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Letter 23

Perhaps I've reached some sort of judicious level or critical mass where I've now written so many letters, I seem to get a new one each week. This is very exciting. This week I got a letter from ... LONDONTOWN. This was very exciting as it was from my friend Jen, who has not just been travelling but now has a new job. That means GOSSIP. And I do really like gossip of the non-salicious, inter-personal type.

This week as well I was also good and carved some time out of what became a lot of hospital-visiting, to sit and drink some tea and write a proper reply. Addressing pertinent questions raised by the very wise Jen. One of those was did I think I'd still do this (and my other blog offalygood) if the internet hadn't been invented. It made me think about the nature of blogging and bloggers (of which I reckon I propbably ought to count myself). Are we all attention-seeking self-publicists?

Well, I do know for 52 Weeks of Mail, if there was no internet I wouldn't have heard about this scheme on the postcrossing, so would I still have thought to sit and write a letter a week for a year? Maybe not, but since I was a chain letter pest at the age of 11 and wrote to the same penpal for a decade, probably I would have made some sort of postal resolution. If you've read before, sometimes it's difficult to write about the letter-writing because it's so intimate, but as I said to Jen, I don't want to have a diary-blog, so it's a delicate balance to tread.

There are more letter-projects up my sleeve, since I was getting fretful that I felt I was a repetitive letter-writer now, but then I realised I'd stopped reading the Mitford Sisters' letters. Why? (Bear with me.) Because they have got a bit repetitive and there are only so many times you can read that Diana has headaches or that Nancy is moving house. I'm going to presevere, now I've realised what I've done, but it did give me hope that perhaps a lot of letter-writing is repetitive, not just for the writer, but maybe the reader too?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Letter 22


Stamps! If you love post, then you'll probably care a little bit about stamps because they get your post to its destination. Or not. Not if you are in Filey and forget to put a stamp on some letters that you wrote. Not if the stamps were next to the letters, but you didn't stick them on. (Cruel world, they were even self-adhesive!)

So this week is more about letters lost (probably) than letters received. How do you feel when you know post has gone astray? Personally I feel awful. Last July was the first time I hadn't moved house in the summer for 8 years - housemates, uni, moving cities, it all adds up - so it's no surprise that over the years I've had a few telephone calls saying "Did you get x, because I sent it to y - oh you don't live there any more?" This was especially tricky with the tax disc for my car a few years ago. A couple of presents have gone astray, so I'm sorry if you sent me a thing and I didn't say thank you. It probably got eaten by the Mail gremlins.

With my situation, what should I do? Refund the postage to the recipient? Write again, this time stamping-firmly? Intercept (with some sort of space and time prism) the letters and stamp them myself? All difficult questions!

This week was also full of a couple of new post projects. One is called foodie penpals, the other is a music swopping project called Tape Recorded Delivery. These are exciting postal times and I shall definitely remember to stamp!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Letter 21

Continuing with my theme of writing letters back. This week I received a letter from CAMBODIA! Yes, from a long way away. It smelt of Cambodia I think. I imagined a lot of jungle. And my friend Paul struggling with a machete through it in order to pass the letter to a waiting messenger boy who would then run to Pnomh Penh, pausing to leap rivers and fight tigers in order to post it to me. That's because Paul told me there was only one post-box in Cambodia. Only one! I was shocked.

Anywho, I wrote back with a suitable sense of urgency because Paul is coing back to England at the end of the month, and I wanted the letter to arrive in time. I never used to get actual letters in the post, so it is very exciting to get them now. I also got a thank you letter from my friend who had a birthday recently. That was lovely. But I felt a bit bad, as I didn't do them for my birthday :( and now it's a month on ... maybe Unbirthday thank you letter? Would that work? Unthank you letters? Hmmmm ... I think that concept needs some further thought.

Another important thing I did this week was to tody my room. This relates to letters as I found all the presents I've collected to send to people and then lost under detritus and washing. Now I have a pile of packages that are waiting for accompanying letters and money for posting!

However, what I am excited for is when my friend RockSalt gets Foodie Penpals up and running in the UK (it only is in the US and Canada at the moment). I well like snacks and I like post. To be fair, who doesn't like snacks and post? If you'd like to be part of it then drop RockSalt an email. If you're lucky, you might even get to be my partner!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Letter 20

"By return of post" - what an amazing phrase! I love it when they say it in period dramas ... Definite images of a bygone era. Luckily this week I had a letter written to me, to which I could reply. It was very exciting, because A) it was a birthday letter (but not at all like the Ted Hughes poetry volume) B) I had something to write about this week.

However, before I get on to that, I must say that all in all it was an amazing week for Post. I won a couple of competitions, and therefore got sent prizes! Thank you very much to all the senders!
  1. My friend, the amazing RockSalt, let me enter a competition to win some Kung Fu Panda Cupcake Cases. I love Kung Fu Panda - the first film got me through some sad times. Also KungFu alliterates with Kidney and I think Kidney cupcakes are the way forward. 
  2. There's an amzing company in Bristol called Lahloo who sell the best teas in England. They are much better than Imperial Teas of Lincoln, for example. I won their valentines day recipe competition (a recipe for veal heart) and won some tea and macaroons. Annoyingly, I've put the macaroons in a "safe place" - it's safe from everyone, including me :( But in all seriousness they are a lovely company, super friendly, super ethical and their products are amazing. Please put some things from their website on your wish list because they're grrrrrrrrrrrreat. I can recommend personally the Smoky Tea, the White Rose, the Sencha, the Sobacha and the Chamomile! So get drinking!
  3. I do another 'interest' where I made the decision to eat only offal for a year. It's an ethical decision and you can read about it here. I got some blood online recently and for Pancake Day made blood pancakes and wrote about it on said blog and when I told them they sent me some black pudding skins and seasoning for free! They are called Tong Master and will cater to all your sausage requirements! I like the fact that it's run by someone who's been a butcher for over forty years.

Overall, I would say I was a very lucky lady. Then I got a super letter from a friend a first wrote to after Christmas. I love her letters and I saved it to have with a coffee when I was out. I then went out for time to myself to write back.

That was pretty exciting as I've not managed to set the writing time aside as much as I wanted to. I really do enjoy it. Often when you're talking and watching things you're not really taking it in, but I guess because letters are rarer now, you do digest what's said. A chance remark can give you loads of different ideas. But I am trying. I went for a massage after my letter writing session. And I bought some Health Foods. One was dark chocolate rice cakes - how healthy is that? Um, not that much?