The Plastic Hippo

April 6, 2014

Return to sender

Via Beau Bo d`Or

Via Beau Bo d`Or

There was no ring of the doorbell or a knock on the door but the sound of a metallic slap was definite evidence of something coming through the letterbox.

Under normal circumstances, the addition of a bundle of pizza leaflets, a bin bag attached to a card inviting me to donate unwanted clothes to the provisional IRA and the offer of a one-to-one consultation with a “world famous” clairvoyant would provoke nothing more than a passing consideration of the fullness of the recycling bin. However, on this Saturday morning I was expecting a package to be delivered and so I hot-footed it to the front door in the hope of finding the long-awaited, small and expensive spare part thingy that would make my beloved wotsit work again.

Given my vast bulk and the agility of youth long gone, I can still be surprisingly light on my feet for an old chap and I am proud to report that I made it from the kitchen in about 20 seconds, a new personal best. It took about 10 seconds to lift and then read the card that informed me that Royal Mail were sorry that I was not at home and a further 10 seconds to reach the pavement outside the house. There was no sign of the post person but I did catch a glimpse of a Royal Mail van bouncing over the speed bumps down the road doing about 35 in the 20 zone before it turned left without indicating. So, instead of enjoying the adrenaline fuelled craziness of Moneybox on Radio 4, I trudged into town to collect the replacement widget from the main Post Office.

It would be a futile exercise and a complete waste of time to go over yet again the scandalous mathematics of the privatisation of the Royal Mail and interminably boring to chronicle the indecent haste which pulled off the heist. As politicians rightly and repeatedly point out, it`s time to draw a line and move on. It is pointless to dwell on the past and we must secure the present and guarantee the future. Those that hark back to last October when the profitable postal service generated revenue for the exchequer and contributed to the general good are missing the point completely. As David Cameron has pointed out, the only way to make Britain great again is to sell public services to a small cartel of off-shore hedge funds and “financial institutions”, put up the price of postage stamps, get rid of thousands of post office jobs and knock on the door and run away.

Now there are some cynics that are suggesting that Business Secretary Vince Cable is in some way responsible for this almighty rip-off and the loss of billions of pounds of tax-payers money. This could not be further from the truth and as Mr Cable rightly points out, the theft was a huge success and far from being apologetic, he is proud of the fact that 16 off-shore hedge funds and “financial institutions” made a fast buck on speculating on the offer of free money. After all, in setting the share price so low, Vince sought the “advice” of the 16 off-shore hedge funds and “financial institutions” as to how cheap they wanted the shares to be. It`s the simple economics of supply and demand and any suggestion that Vince Cable is in some way corrupt is entirely incorrect. As a Liberal Democrat and therefore the target for any blame that might be directed at a Conservative coalition, Vince is just very, very stupid.

At the main post office in town, just a bottle throw away from the charming cafe society gathered outside not one but two Wetherspoons, there was a queue from the Royal Mail collection office than snaked out of the door almost as far as the Civic Centre. After 40 minutes I was actually inside the building and keen to receive my prize. Imagine my disappointment when the package was not the replacement nine volt battery housing for an Ashton electro-acoustic six string that powers the pick-up, pre-amp and onboard graphic EQ but was instead a plain white envelope with our address written in a familiar hand. The reason that the letter was not delivered was explained by a helpful yellow sticker that explained that there was “postage unpaid deficient postage” amounting to the princely sum of nine English pence and further explained that a “handling fee” of a queenly one English pound was also payable. I was then asked for ID.

At this point I glanced at the notice stating that anti-social behaviour is not acceptable and that Royal Mail staff should have the basic human right to do their job without being threatened with violence. I paused and considered what the coalition government are doing to the human and employment rights of Royal Mail staff and tried really hard to be nice.

I paid up and the letter turned out to be a Mother`s Day card from the offspring currently accruing debt at a distant university. The hand crafted card was sublime in its beauty with paper flowers and drawings and words that might possibly reduce Michael Gove to tears if Michael Gove actually proves to be human. It was posted with a first class stamp on 27 March which means that we now have to undo the changes to our last will and testament that removed the errant child from any inheritance due to forgetting Mother`s Day. The wonderful new privatised Royal Mail told us of the prodigal`s error on April 5; that`s nine days after the thing was posted.

Carefully peeling off the yellow label entitled “Revenue Protection” that demanding £1-09 in deficient postage, the words in the familiar hand that were revealed stated that the letter should not be opened until the 30th which, of course, was Mother`s Day. I`m not sure if I should laugh or cry at the fact that the first class stamp survived being post-marked and after being steamed off for further use takes pride of place on the fridge secured by a Postman Pat fridge magnet.

I am, sadly, still waiting for the nine volt battery housing. The story of how the original became damaged is probably too complex to relate but I`m sure that Vince Cable`s advisors would be able to explain that the idiocy was a huge success.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: