Fourteen years ago I decided to leave the corporate rat race for semi-retirement, whilst I was still young enough to enjoy it. I went from being would-be brief-case wielding suited executive to village Sub-Postmistress, Parish Clerk and part time barmaid within a year. One minute I knew no-one where I lived, and within a few short weeks I knew everyone… and everyone knew me.


After eight years I gave up being Parish Clerk and bar maid…I was finding that I knew too much about everyone but I have kept my little Post Office now for thirteen years and I still love it. It is little. It measures 3m x 2m and has a tiny sky light, complete with bars, as a window. I peer at my customers through two layers of shatter proof glass, kids’ finger prints, greasy nose prints and lots of spittle splashes… all the lovely things that my customers like to leave me on their side of the barrier. The great thing about this barrier is that I am protected from the coughs, sneezes and other germ-spreading activities of those I serve, and likewise they are safe from anything I may be carrying. I call my office My Box. In the winter it is freezing  (blanket over my knees and heater-on-full-blast sort of cold) and in the summer unbearably hot (fan-and-cold-water-spritz-every-twenty minutes sort of hot). At Christmas the biggest challenge is fitting everyone’s parcels and cards into the small space, along with me. On more than one occasion I have been forced to climb through the parcel hatch in order to be able to get out, but to the amusement of those watching! I have won three Best Post Office Awards and been a finalist for Best Post Office UK two years in a row and Jess and Digby, my dogs, come to work with me.

One of the biggest sources of amusement and frustration to me is the Great British need to discuss the weather. Almost every day I am told that it is too warm out, too wet, too cold out there. It’s windy, it’s snowing, it’s foggy and it’s humid. Occasionally I am told it’s a lovely day, but usually there is something wrong with the weather. At this point in my ramblings I should say that I don’t live in my Post Office. I live some quarter of a  mile down the road and most days, after I have taken the dogs out for a forty-five minute walk, I walk or cycle to work. It always amazes me that those who have driven to the shop and walked the five yards from the car to the door feel the need to tell me what is going on outside… I am convinced they think I live in My Box like a little troll. I’m not sure where they think I sleep, as there is no accommodation attached to the building at all and I have no idea how they think I get here in the mornings. A couple of years back we had some of the worst snow in the country here in North Hampshire and no-one could get in or out of the village. The shop was madly busy and it was great to see lots of new customers who would normally not visit during the week…but still, despite the three feet of snow clearly visible (in fact I had been shoveling it all morning to enable access to the shop and Post Office) there were still those people who felt compelled to tell me that is was snowy out there…