I may be away some time," I told the Senior Cat. He gave a smug purr and headed off for the post-lunch contemplation of the eyelids. I took the parcel for my godchildren off to the Post Office.
I fully expected a queue out the door. It is not uncommon at this time of the year.
But there were just three people and a dog ahead of me. I grabbed the smallest box I could find in which to pack shortbread, cake, books and postcards. The box was bigger than I needed but there were no smaller boxes left on the help yourself shelves. It would have to do. I waited.
When I reached the counter the assistant shook her head. "You need a smaller box."
"There were none left."
She went and got one from the back. It was just a little bit too small.
She went and found another box. It was not a post office box but it looked just as sturdy.
"Just about right - and you won't need to pay for this one."
She packed the items in. There was a little bit of space.
She found some bubble wrap.
"It came around something else so you needn't pay for it."
She cut it up and folded it in around the sides while I wrote my name and address on the essential form. (I had already printed off the address.) She taped the box together, taped the address on.
"Hang on...we could have put this in a padded envelope..it would have been 65c less."
I looked at her and said, "No. I will happily pay the extra 65c more after all the work you put in."
She laughed and took the money I gave her.
Here was someone whose workload is heavy at this time of the year but she was still cheerful and more than obliging.
Yes, they know me in the Post Office and yes it was oddly quiet but she did not have to do those things. The staff in there don't mind helping the Senior Cat either. The youngest one once showed me how to recharge my rarely used mobile phone.
I am going to make the last batch of shortbread today. Some of it will go to them I think.