Alison McQueen


The mystery of the missing postman

I haven’t had any post this week. Not a sausage. And it’s Thursday. This is a mystery. We always get post, every day, without fail. For one thing, there are two young women living here who have no fear of internet shopping. There are also the daily bills that have a habit of finding their way no matter the weather, and the incessant stream of junk that gets stuffed through the letterbox offering everything from cut-priza pizza to fresh horse manure.

I can only conclude that Paul The Postie is missing in action. Paul is lovely, and has been our postman for the past fifteen years. He looks exactly like Lofty from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. In the summer months, he even wears the same shorts. I hope he’s alright. When he goes off for his holidays, he is replaced by a chap I refer to as Bob Marley Postie, a laid back character who usually knocks on the door with a handful of mail rather than putting it in the box.

Bob Marley Postie quite likes a little chat on the doorstep. The post usually rocks up around 11am and I’m never dressed. Well, not in proper clothes anyway. I wear the kind of things that make my daughters put their heads in their hands. Last time Bob Marley Postie knocked on the door, I seem to recall having to actually apologise for my appearance because it really was that bad, (involving some of my husband’s clothes), and explained to him that I had actually been up and working since 4.30am. He looked me up and down a bit and said, “I want your job.” (I should point out here that Bob Marley Postie doesn’t know what I do. I never tell people what I do.)

Going back to Lofty for a moment, I guess that one would have to be of a certain age to remember It Ain’t Half Hot Mum – a 1970s British sitcom about a Royal Artillery Concert Party stationed out in India during the war. There were a couple of Indian characters who would talk in Hindi, and I remember that my mother used to fall about laughing and would refuse to translate what they had said. Happy days.

Here’s the moment when Sergeant Major “Shut Up” Williams discovered that “La-de-dah Gunner Graham” might be his son…