Letterboxes, endless letterboxes

They fill my dreams now.  I wake sweating with my head full of letterboxes. Horizonal, vertical, hidden round the side. Tiny Victorian-style ones, scarcely big enough to post a matchbox, letterboxes at the bottom of the door that send the bag over your head when you bend down.  Letterboxes with slathering, hungry dogs behind them, that eat your leaflet or your fingers. Forget the fingers – we spent money printing that leaflet just to feed your mut. Double-sprung flaps with fur that mangle everything pushed through them – maybe the householder thinks the Royal Mail scrumples their post before they deliver it – but I assure you sir or madam, it is your armour-plated letterbox.

A minute or two I spent trying to find the thing.  I need a strap-on wrist torch or maybe luminous gloves.  Maybe it is aesthetically neat to have the flap the same colour as the wood and placed in an amusing position. Like that one round the side of the porch, behind the giant, stone flowerpot or the one five feet to the right of the door, above the pond. Yes, luminous gloves, and the knuckleduster for when I knock on a door with no bell nor knocker.  (I really did not mean to break the glass.)

An aspiring couple here, with a smart new front porch they are so proud of; with the doorbell and letterbox left unreachable on the door inside – who builds these things?

Back to a quieter street, ex-council houses with standard-form, cheap aluminium, single-flap letter boxes – bliss – ah, who is that angry man just appeared in a dressing gown?  ‘No sir, I did not knock on your door at eleven at night:  I just dropped a leaflet through – that’s just a loud, mail-flap-cum-doorknocker you have”. (Can I pretend to be the LibDem canvasser at this stage? Run.)

Have I just broken that one?  It was broken anyway, but I’ll try to replace the flat on the cracked hinge if I can.  The householder won’t notice as fast as a postman or deliverer will I suppose. Yow!  The spring is broken and sticking though like a needle.  He must wonder why all his post has blood on it.  At least it keeps the companies that make tetanus jabs in business. Youch! The neighbour’s letterbox is the same. A local builder is a psycho.

‘I know, but have a leaflet anyway. Yes, I saw “No junkmail” but it is not – this is an election communication, which is the living, breathing embodiment of participatory democracy – except not actually living, nor breathing, nor in a body, but still…’

Ornate Christmas decorations brighten the mood – nailed down over the letterbox.  No cards this year, then?

That cat is looking reproachful.

I don’t want to climb over the wall or trample his flower bed, but he has parked his obese car in the whole gap, and covered the flanks with a full compost bin. We need his vote too, as an aspiring householder. Oh, now the letterbox has fallen off: he used a cheap builder. He’s no worse than the neighbour though – another double-flat, iron-sprung box with fur – the letterbox equivalent of chainmail – and by the time I have jammed the leaflet though (we made them specially tough this time) it is confetti, and the flaps are jammed open in the fur (which, I have to observe, makes it worse than useless as a draft excluder). I might as well feed the leaflet into a dog, like next door.

I rather like the retro look of those Victorian vertical, black enamelled ones with the doorknocker in front: completely impractical for receiving post, but they look good.  You’ll just wonder why you never get letters for your family any more. The Victorians of course did not have A4 envelopes and the postmen maybe had nimbler fingers, in summer at least, and they would not have found that six-pound all-electric Christmas wreath tied on the knocker in front of the flap. I find myself walking slowly; my “wet concrete in the dark” gait, and still I cannot see the trip-hazards ankle-twisters – all to find more letterboxes, letterboxes that will haunt me for months until it starts again for May.

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Author: AlexanderTheHog

A humble scribbler who out of my lean and low ability will lend something to Master Hobbes

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