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Winter 2010



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Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association. Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 505692.

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Delivering the winter mail

Martin, who has been delivering our post for many years, shares a few stories of the hazards of snowy Barrow

I'm Martin and have worked for the Royal Mail in Barrow for 26 years but for snow and ice last winter was the worst I can remember. It was particularly hard when, because of Health and Safety regulations, our bikes were banned and it meant we started work in the dark and finished in the dark. Nowadays very few people clear their paths but a big thank you to the ones who do as you are always poised for a fall delivering mail to front doors which are at the bottom of slippery paths. We all slipped many a time so the sales of Radox bath salts to post people with aches and pains must have gone through the roof !

During the worst of the winter Stu, the most senior of our merry band, sent us off with a Winston Churchill style "Just get on with it" message ringing in our ears. Nick always uses a trolley on his round which, when fully laden with letters and packets, is quite a weight and could easily be heard crunching through the snow. You always knew when Nick was coming. On Nick's walk the steep hills of Ribble Drive and Mill Lane were ideal spots to turn the trolley into a sledge and Nick was often spotted in hot pursuit. If the GB bobsleigh team need a brake-man I know just the man!

John, the van driver, has the same problem with icy paths as the rest of us but also has to deal with extra problems. Avoiding badly parked cars, or cars stuck in the snow, is such an added difficulty as is deciding whether or not to drive down a snowy lane or farm track in the first place. If he goes down will he ever get back? Other problems for John are children, no respecters of the Highway Code, sledging down icy roads when the schools are closed. While I was delivering on Sileby Road one day I saw an elderly lady fall on the ice at a bus stop so I went over to help her up and make sure she was OK but as I walked away from her I fell over so she then came over to help me up! What passing motorists thought I'll never know.

Linda loves the snow only she couldn't deliver as usual last winter as unfortunately she had been diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy and radio therapy at the time. However, she went into Barrow Post Office to help sort the letters and packets and do what she could on good days. Now she is back to full health and wonders how on earth the new estate grew so big while she was away. Geordie Mick thought it was just a mild winter; they make them tough in the North East. He took a lot of convincing to stop wearing his shorts but gave in when others worried that things might turn blue and drop off!

Sharon may be small, but boy is she tough and reliable! I don't know if she likes winding me up but she says she can smell when it's going to snow. Debbie too is very reliable even though she travels in from near Ellistown. It was no mean feat for her to arrive on time all through the winter, always smiling and chatty, but she did.

Delivering the mail last winter was a challenge to us all and even our manager from Loughborough came a cropper because he came over for an office visit but on his way back to his car in the Somerfield carpark fell on the ice and badly damaged his arm and shoulder. So it wasn't just the front line staff who suffered. Yet every day there was a full delivery taken out, even to houses addressed strangely such as, "the house with the blue door near the phone box" or "the white council house" or "my Mum" or the classic "they occupy the cemetery".

A personal thanks from me to the people who keep me up to date with cricket scores, tell me jokes and greet me with a smile. You don't get that with e-mails. But before signing off I think I owe an apology to one person and that's Margaret Steadman. A few years ago she helped out on the post when we were short staffed and volunteered to help me with the farms on Cotes Road. I had to pull over onto the verge whenever I stopped the car to let the school buses and other traffic get by. On one occasion I stopped, Mags jumped out of the passenger door and disappeared! I'd parked too close to the ditch and poor Mags had stepped straight into it emerging like David Bellamy still clutching the letters and muttering things I don't think a verger should! Sorry Mags. I'll make a donation to church funds!

Well, that just leaves us post people and counter staff to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Martin

Readers may have noticed that Martin hasn't used his own or his colleagues' surnames. This is because when a person joins the Royal Mail they have to sign a document saying that they will keep their surnames out of the public domain.