Mum’s the Word

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Kids can still learn a thing or two from snail mail

Eldest appears, holding an envelope out in front of him like he’s preparing for a mugshot.

“Does that look right?”

“What do you mean?”

“Does it have everything it needs?”

“Er, stamp, address… yes.”

When did sending a letter become something you had to explain?

“And to close it, glue or Sellotape?”

“Tried licking it?” I say.

“It’s not very sticky, that stuff. Is Sellotape allowed? Or is glue better?”

He does both for good measure.

I watch him, amazed. It’s like a monkey discovering a typewriter.

“I never do this,” he says. “I can’t remember last time I sent a letter.”

“Christmas, thank you letters. I made you. People like a letter,” I say.

“S’pose. But you usually address and post them for us. I’m only doing this because I can’t submit it online, has to be letter. Hmm, that reminds me...”

He disappears and returns with an envelope.

“Addressed to you,” he says. “Been in my bedroom. Dated January. Says ‘Important information enclosed’.”

“Thanks.” Grrrr.

So I file letters under anachronism, until Sunday morning when the buzzer goes and Youngest answers it.

“It’s someone with letters to deliver.”

“Don’t let them in,” I shout. Only God botherers and debt collectors hand deliver, especially on a Sunday.

Too late. They’re in the stair. Youngest appears and throws the letters on my bed, one each for the boys. My heart sinks. What fresh hell?

I summon Middle to open his.

“It’s from my MP. A letter to me,” he says, intrigued. He sits on my bed to read the entire thing out loud – what our MP has been doing in London, her party’s policies, what’s wrong with the other party leaders, the state of the country and finally declaring it a two-party race, SNP or Tory.

“Hmm. I was thinking Green, SNP, Labour, spread my vote,” he says.

“No, Westminster’s first past the post, one vote.”

“Yeah, says that here,” he says. “SNP or Tory. I don’t usually bother with Westminster but …”

Letters, don’t write them off just yet. n