There’s nothing like a trip out to enliven the monotony of Lockdown. Even when the “trip” is a walk to the local post office and back. Honestly, I was excited beyond measure. I knew, too, that I should
be able to tot up enough steps to keep Fergie Fitbit (tyrant that he is) satisfied for today at least.
You need to know, I am sure, whether my trip out to
the post office was “essential” and thus allowable under the rules of Lockdown. I can assure you, nothing could be more urgent. In four days time it will be Faris the Rascal’s eighth birthday and I have only just made his birthday banner.
March has just crept up on me without me noticing. It happens every year; it’s February’s fault for only having 28 days in it. There I was, this morning, making up for lost time and fashioning yet another Birthday Banner declaring that “FARIS
IS EIGHT”. I do like a birthday banner that knows its own mind.
Having explained to Mr B the importance of my mission and assured him that I would be back
in no time at all, I set off with his blessing, my precious package tucked under one arm. It was such a beautiful morning! All along the road, I could spot spring flowers in the gardens, magnolia trees budding with the promise of beauty to come, birds flitting
in and out of bushes. Having walked to the post office along one side of the road, I determined, I would return on the other side. Variety is the spice of life when you are taking a trip out.
I arrived at the Post Office to find a long queue snaking along the pavement. Only one person at a time is allowed at the Post Office counter. I joined the end of the queue, comforting myself that it wouldn’t take me
too long to reach the head; the queue was moving, albeit slowly. No need to worry as yet.
I was just three places from the head of the queue when everything ground
to a halt. Through the shop window, we (as in my fellow queuers and I) could see a customer unloading parcel after parcel onto the counter. Just when we thought she must have transferred the last of her parcels onto the weighing machine, she reached down into
the shopping bag at her feet and started to retrieve more brown paper packages from its depths. “It’s a Mary Poppins bag!” wailed the young woman next in line who was shivering in a short sleeved top and bare feet cased in flip-flops. I guessed
she had been seduced by the sunshine into thinking the day was warmer than it actually was.
If you’ve seen the Mary Poppins film, you will know what she
meant. She was referring to the scene where Julie Andrews (aka Mary Poppins) astonishes her new charges by withdrawing, one by one, various objects from her carpet bag including, if I remember correctly, a hat stand and a flowering plant.
We, waiting in the queue, were more frustrated than astonished. How long had she been already? How many more parcels? The man who was second in the queue (sensibly wearing
a woolly jumper so not looking quite so chilled as The Shivering One) pointed out that he could see several more parcels on the front seat of Mary Poppins’ car, parked outside the Post Office - would she have the temerity to fetch them and hold us up
for even longer? The crowd murmured mutinously. “What’s she doing now?” the message was passed up from the end of the queue; “She may be paying...” I reported, hopefully. “Shall we give her an almighty cheer when she leaves
the shop?” asked someone unknown from behind the post-box.
It was very tempting - but we resisted in the end. Mary Poppins finally left the shop and the
Shivering One skipped inside, like a gambolling lamb. We all watched MP go, in silence.
You will be pleased to hear that The Shivering One, Mr Woolly Jumper and
I were in and out of the Post Office in no time, a fact which must surely have been appreciated by the rest of the queue which now stretched right around the corner and out of sight. I was soon headed home.
“You’ve been a long time!” Mr B grumbled, “I wondered where you’d gone....”
Mary Poppins!” I told him...