Every migrant misses something from their homeland. For Brits, Bisto and Marks and Spencer often top the list.
For me, it’s prawn cocktail crisps – and letterboxes.
Yes, I miss having a slot in my front door through which mail and newspapers can be pushed.
In Australia, if you have a front garden, you don’t have a letterbox in your front door. Instead, like in much of the US, each house has a postbox on the front boundary. It saves the postie a trip up your garden path, a time-saver that was probably quite important when the majority of houses were built on large blocks.
We have a nice black metal mailbox. Like most, it has a handy cylinder attached where large letters and newspapers can be left. Newspapers for delivery come shrink-wrapped in cellophane, a tight tube of newsprint ideally sized for slipping into said cylinder.
So why is it that every Saturday and Sunday morning, the newspaper I ordered can never be found in this custom-made receptacle, but instead ends up tucked behind a bush, or rolled under the car? I’ve never actually seen it being delivered but I can only guess it is thrown from a moving vehicle to save time. The missing top of one of my solar garden lights suggests the thrower has the strength, if not the aim, of Mitchell Johnson.
But even if the paper was left in the logical place, the cellophane wrapping causes another problem. The newsprint is so tightly curled that I need to spend 10 minutes trying to flatten it out before I can read it. I’ve mostly given up now, choosing to leave the pages under a heavy book for a few days before catching up on the weekend’s news midweek. I have actually considered cancelling my subscription and walking to the shop to buy a paper when I want one instead, knowing it will be nice and flat.
They say the newspaper industry is dying. Here’s a thought for the executives desperately trying to revive it: maybe it’s not just the fault of the internet…