Sunday, 20 March 2011

Delivering the Mail. Postman on his rounds at ...Image via WikipediaAlthough I was quite happy being a postman the adventure part of it left a lot to be desired.

Being bitten five times by dogs, or struggling about in deep snow to deliver the Queen's mail feeling like the last pony express, with the slogan "the mail must get through at any cost" ringing in my ears as I evaded another dog bite or snowdrift, was nothing in comparison to the thrill of punching into a storm in the dead of night with white crests towering above the mast seconds before they came crashing down around you.

The secure relatively safe life of a postman with terra firma beneath your feet, and a steady wage coming in at the end of the week might seem to some people quite idyllic in comparison to rolling about the ocean and holding on every time a lump of sea thundered into your boat drenching everything in site including you.

Not me I was born and bred to the sea and as I drove and wandered around delivering mail I used to recall the days of true adventure on the high seas and thought of the way the European Union had spoiled it all for future generations of fishermen who will probably never be able to capture the large amounts of fish in one haul as we used to do during the cod fishing at this time of year thanks to quotas that have become too restrictive and unnecessary in most cases.

Yes its March again, the month when the cod would come to the Firth of Clyde in large shoals to spawn in the warmer, shallow waters around the Ailsa Craig.

Cold winter days with biting winds howling from morning to night, seas rushing over the deck as we toiled,gutting cod for hours on end, making the most of the good catches to be had while the going was good, because when the cod left to go back to deeper waters the Clyde seem to empty of all other types of fish and a few lean weeks lay ahead of us.

Changing over to trawling for prawns was one option, but we used to tie the boat up and give her a good overhaul and paint in readiness for the summer fishing which would be the next opportunity to make big bucks.

In between times we made a steady living, except for the few weeks after the cod, so all the punishment was worth it when the bulging pay packets landed on the table in front of us.

All the freezing cold hours, hard graft, cut fingers and horrendous conditions were forgotten about as the aroma of beer hit our nostrils when we walked past the extractor fan on the pub window and the thought of a cold pint of lager being placed in front of us that would wash all the salty taste from our mouths and a whiskey to take the chill from our bones.

That was our excuse anyway if we ever needed one, but the first one certainly went down well and hit the right spot every time.

I had plenty of adventures to look back on during my then dull life as a postie, and nothing could or will be able to compensate for the sea.
It seems that you, the readers think the same way by your response to my last post, so if it is sea adventures you want to read about there is plenty more to come.

AH! Thats more like the thing.

After one post about the Royal Mail I have decided to look out my oilskins again and relive more tales of the sea.
If only I could have altered course so easily then I would have been very happy and more content but it was not a viable option at that time
All you faithful readers will be pleased to know that one post was enough of the Royal Mail for me too, so you too can look out your oilskins for the next post.

The Royal Mail? Well that was "The last post."

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