Tuesday, October 12, 2010


My husband and I do our bit of community service by distributing the Neighbourhood Watch newsletters in our area. We enjoy the walk especially in spring when lovely floral scents waft by and we can check out our neighbours flower gardens, the properties for sale and the progress of house renovations. Stickybeaking, in other words.

Anyone who has delivered anything house to house knows about the incredible array of letterboxes. They come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of neglect.

We authors know the importance of a good sized letterbox, one with a door or lid secure enough not to be blown open. If not, that ‘We love your book’ letter, the long awaited contract or most important of all the advance cheque might disappear on the wind, borne aloft into the neighbour’s hedge or onto the road to disappear down the drain.

Everyone receives important mail on occasion. Who wants their electricity cut off because the bill fell out of the tiny cramped little box when the postie tried to cram in the latest magazine as well as a couple of ordinary sized items? We’re always amazed at those small metal boxes on a single metal pedestal. They’re usually lopsided and the lid doesn’t close. There’s barely room to fit the newsletter.

Then there are those solid brick pillar type affairs. The new houses in our street seem to favour those. They have a spring loaded brass flap which nearly takes your fingers off . (Reminiscent of Arkwright’s till for those who know the reference.)

One or two houses have disused boxes which have been replaced by something new so we’re not sure which is the functioning one. Others are hard to find amidst the shrubbery. Due to strict dog control laws here we’re not attacked when we do our round but are barked at by bored, lonely or perhaps vigilant dogs until we have left the vicinity. One house nearby has a box which is a little replica of the house, which is fun.

Lots of people stick ‘No Junk Mail’ on their letterbox but we don’t regard Neighbourhood Watch as junk mail, it’s an important community service and often brings news of issues which affect us all concerning nearby road or redevelopment plans as well tips from the police about crime prevention, scams and house security.


Sandy Cody said...

Fun post. There's a mailbox (that's what we call them in this neck of the woods) on the route my husband take on our neighborhood walks. Since we don't know these people, we have fun speculating on why they chose this particular style.

Elisabeth Rose said...

I used to entertain the children when they were little in the car while driving to the supermarket and regular music lessons etc by getting them to count the different letterbox styles. Fourteen brick pillars, twenty metal poles, six wooden, one windmill--they loved that one. :)

Georgie Lee said...

Great post. In some ways all neighborhoods are the same. We have neighbors with one old and one new mailbox side by side, little trains and houses and all the standard, U.S. Post Office approved metal ones. It is fun to speculate about the people who own them, especially when we accidentally get someone else's mail and it is from an interesting sender.

Beate Boeker said...

Your post took me back to my student days, when I distributed taxi-leaflets around the area. Boy, do I remember the boxes with vicious springs that almost bite your fingers off! In Germany, our mailboxes are usually incorporated into the houses (flaps inside the doors or at the side). They are nowhere near as much fun as your mailboxes!

Jane Myers Perrine said...

I'd never have thoughtg about this! How creative and evocative. Thanks for sharing.