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One or two houses have disused boxes which have been replaced by something new so we’re not sure which is the functioning one.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.