The period of farcical 'consultation' is over and we have the official confirmation: Hutton Post Office is to close and will be replaced by a 'mobile outreach service' (Don't bother us with facts, any inconvenience is regretted, you know it makes sense). Another community institution is to go. I must say that when we had the post office in the Old Manse, paying out the pensions over the kitchen table amongst the remains of breakfast ( A £20 note with a couple of cornflakes attached is still legal tender, we were assured) I did wonder how long the blue suited accountants would tolerate such an anachronism. I can vividly remember the official gabbling into his mobile when he had come to 'measure up' the kitchen for the computer (replacing the ledger, grocery scales and hand date stamp with the 00 of 2000 missing- our own millennium bug) ' Yes its a Post Office-in a Kitchen!.On the Table, for crying out aloud...No bullet proof screen!...no counter...no queuing strip.....two mornings a week..never more than 15 customers on Mondays..and three on Thursdays... Pensioners.. Yes they actually want to see their money!quite incredible. Quaint really'
And the great battle we had over asking the techies to put the computer on a trolley so it could be wheeled away after 'office hours' to give us back some living space. PO regulations allowed us only 18 inches of 'computer flexibility' (for 'technical reasons') so we had to live around it.
Once the Post Office was sited in the Village Hall it was less basic, could offer more services and was more convenient, especially for the elderly no longer having to trek up the muddy, potholed Kirk Lane. But wherever it was it remained a village centre where pensioners could meet friends, chat and take their time over small transactions (rarely involving the purchase of First Class Stamps)Now it will be (from the New Year) either hanging around for the 'mobile outreach'-12 to 1 Mondays and Fridays-dinner time so how thoughtful, or going 7 miles into Berwick to queue at length and having in many cases relying on some one else to take you in; the bus service being so limited.
Any Inconvenience Regretted?
I doubt it.
(The image is of the Old Manse, Post Office included-on the other side)
Labels: Hutton Post Office, Old Manse