It was as I feared
. Day after Bank Holiday and although I braved the Hutton/Paxton and Berwick rush hours to get in by 8.59 am I found a very long queue outside the only operating post office in Berwick. I had to join it as there would not be another chance to come again today and a parcel of books had to get to southern parts asap. I silently willed the pensioners ahead of me to eschew the small talk, count their cash and be gone. On my turn-a surprisingly short wait of only 20 minutes (perhaps the pensioners were too hung over to socialise?) I made the mistake of asking the senior post mistress (three on duty but only two counters to person so that did not help much) about the speediest way to get my parcel to Oxon. There was plenty of advice lovingly and lingeringly delivered but it boiled down to having to leave the head of the queue and fill in two forms-then ruthlessly queue barging my way back to the SPM (I am sorry about the very old lady's handbag but she should know when to give away graciously) to hand in my forms, collect my change and to be subjected to a lengthy procedural explanation on what recorded delivery meant and how I could check if the parcel had arrived at its destination. Behind me murmurings indicated increasing tension and growing resentment and I was glad to make my escape avoiding any eye contact with the other customers and the odd outstretched stick impeding my passage.
Hutton post office is much more peaceful and angst free but not open until Thursday. A chat and a second class stamp-thats the way to do it.