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Tales from a Postie

Six weeks ago I started a new job. It was something completely different to anything I had done before - I had always done office work. The job description included the words "you will walk up to six miles a day". This was music to my ears - as a keen hill-walker, I am always complaining that I don't get enough opportunity to keep "hill fit". I don't enjoy going to the gym and begrudge paying money for something I don't enjoy. I was looking for a part-time job, so naturally I applied for the job of a ................ postman, well postwoman to be precise.

I started on the run-up to Christmas, and my first days on the job were spent accompanying an experienced postman, and getting to know my route. I didn't know the area, so it seemed like we were darting all over the place, stopping here and there to walk up and down the road, delivering letters and parcels.

After two days, I was allowed out on my own. And then the fun started.

I spent every evening on Google maps trying to memorize my route, learn which way the house numbers went, and even where to park whilst I was delivering. I literally drove that route in my sleep every night.

I think I must have done every stupid thing possible by now - at least I hope so. I've locked myself out of the van, and they had to call RAC to get me back in. A lady was very concerned that I was jumping over her fence, which would have meant a drop of at least six feet on the other side, and being somewhat vertically challenged, I wasn't sure whether to be offended that she thought I would do such a thing, or proud that she thought I could do such a thing!!

I thought being a hill-walker would have prepared me for all the walking I had to do. But no. The van may have driven six miles along the route, but I walked, or rather ran, a lot further. You go up the road on one side and down the road on the other side, you go in and out of gardens, not necessarily in a straight line, you go up and down steps.

I have never needed a hot bath so many times in one week, as I have since I started my job.

I ache all over, not just my legs and feet, but my arms and shoulders as well. There is all the jumping in and out of the van, hauling your boxes of mail and parcels around the back of the van, carrying your bag with all the parcels in it, it is a very physical job.

I was (and still am) very slow. Much slower than my colleagues. So much so, that I have delivered my post several times wearing a head torch. Whilst most people were surprised to see me after dark, they were all pleased to get their post. And I'm not even doing a full round yet, someone else is doing a substantial chunk of it. I'm supposed to be finished, van back and ready to go home by 2.30 pm. But I'll get there.

I thought I was getting there the other day, and confidently went off in the van to start my round. When I tried to scan my first item, and I got a message saying I had a dud barcode, or words to that effect, it was then that I realized I had forgotten to download my route. Panic set in, I rang back to base and told them I was on my way back to download the route. Luckily for me, he was able to sort it out for me over the phone. I got to live another day. Until the day I forgot to even take my PDA with me. I thought I'd really done it that time. But one was brought out to me and yet again, the day was saved.

Six weeks in and I am still the last to go out in the mornings, and still the last to return.

Surely I'll get fitter? Surely I'll get faster?

It is still early days, but I am now really enjoying the job. I've had a few meltdowns when I thought I was never going to get the hang of it, especially on the days where it was torrential rain for the whole day. I was handing over soggy mail, some of the envelopes had disintegrated. I tried to think of ways that I could keep the post dry, and came up with a clear ziplock folder. The trouble is it really slowed me down. It was a Saturday and the sorting office closed early (which I had forgotten) and the boss rang me at 3 to see where I was. I still had a couple of hours left to do, and

had to leave my van in the customer car park and post the key into the mail box when I got back because it was all locked up and everyone had gone home. I had a mini meltdown that day.

I've come home and practically gone straight to bed I've been so tired, even though it's a part-time job. How the full timers cope I do not know. But it is strangely satisfying.

Hopefully, my initiation is complete, and I'll get back to more hill-walking and photo taking, especially as the days are now getting longer.

I'm so glad I'm not Father Christmas, I couldn't cope with his round!

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone, and a Happy New Year.


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