and CDs and learning material and art material. Currently there are some wooden puzzles, a weather station, barbecue sets, calendars and - yes you guessed it - Christmas cards. Right.
When I was a kitten the Post Office sold you stamps and weighed your parcels and was an agency for the Commonwealth bank. You could send a telegram and get a money order too.
It will still sell you stamps if you insist but your parcel will usually have a printed label. That is much less exciting. I wanted stamps on my godson's birthday book. They did not have the right combination. He had to have a printed label.
I had to post a parcel yesterday. I took the contents just packed into a plastic zip top bag. I knew the post office would now have a pre-paid envelope to put them in. They did. The girl behind the counter weighed the contents and gave me the bag and said, "Throw it back at me when you have addressed it Cat." I know her well enough for her to say that to me. There are no men behind the counter at all now.
You can pay all sorts of bills in the post office too - or put in an application to get a passport (and have your unsmiling photograph taken).
Then there are the parcels the Post Office will deliver too. Our current parcel delivery person is a man. It is just as well. He has been staggering up to the door weighed down by boxes of late. My dear friend in America has been sending me an advance inheritance of her wool stash. The parcel post man is sympathetic and understanding and actually puts the boxes on the small table inside the front door. He is not required to do more than leave them at the door. It is very nice of him and I am duly appreciative.
The postman who delivers the ordinary mail now whizzes by on a motorbike. We can hear him coming and going. He wears a bright yellow safety vest and has been known to say, "Race you" to me before heading off down the street if I am pedalling away.
I know most people do not get as much mail as we do. It is rare for a day to go by without our letter box having something in it. We could do without the bills but there are other, more interesting things as well.
Yes, the postal service provides all sorts of services these days although it no longer sends telegrams.
But there is something missing. The postman no longer pedals past on a bicycle twice a day. He comes once - and he does not blow his whistle.