So, it's been one of those days. I've been trying to get out all day but trying to find time to get to the Post Office with a teething 6 month old and a 2 year old is difficult.
For starters, I had a meeting this morning. It was scheduled for 10am. Great, I figured that gave me enough time to fit in the PO trip before Orla wanted fed again. Unfortunately someone had broken down in the middle lane of the M62 and delayed my visitor until 10.30. So, I had the meeting then Orla wanted fed & changed. Of course by this time is done the older one wants fed and she's a sloooooooooooow eater. I turn the pan of homemade vegetable soup on to heat up.
This is where childrens' amazing ability to pick the worst time comes in. I hear the grunting baby noises for "I'm filling my nappy". I don't know how they do it but it's always when you're doing something else...or in the nappy with the broken elastic. Now being the caring, loving mummy I am, I change the nappy right away...promptly forgetting about the soup. It's burnt by the time I race into the kitchen to turn it off.
So I open the fridge, then the cupboards, look around the kitchen a bit and finally produce "picnic" lunch for Erin. So she's eating away and I decide to try and get a cup of tea. By the time the tea is cool enough to drink Orla is awake and wanting to play. Yes, my second daughter has a wonderful talent; the ability to smell tea & coffee and know just when it reaches drinking temperature ;-)
Orla is now 6 months old so we're starting to do baby led weaning. So I grab some rice cakes for her, which end up on the floor eventually. Still they entertained her long enough for me to drink half my cup of 'slightly on the cold side' tea.
By the time Erin has had a drink and Orla has had her nappy changed again, it's time for her next feed. Once that's done I consider going to the Post Office but it's near a school and its school pick up time. Not only is traffic a nightmare but the queue in the Post Office will be horrendous and I have far too many parcels. So I wait half an hour, at which point my mum rings. Orla is getting sleepy so I settle her to sleep for a nap. Oh and it starts to hail.
So I'm sat here with a baby napping, 50 minutes until the Post Office closes thinking how inconvenient it is. We're surrounded by supermarkets open 24 hours and offering home delivery but I can't post my parcels outside 9-5.30. I can even pay for my postage online but I still have to go to a Post Office and queue, unless I pay 25p per parcel for Fast Drop....which my local PO doesn't offer. Now I get that it's expensive opening longer hours, I get that it's not feasible to implement everywhere but I live near a big city. Could they not open one branch late? Or have evening drop off points at a couple of post offices or sorting offices? Surely there is some way of providing a service to all those people working 9-5.30 jobs who can't nip to the PO in their lunch hour - my husband tried that and waited 45 minutes :-o
Since closing smaller branches it's harder to get to the ones that remain open. My nearest PO is in town, car parks are free so it'snot too bad but the staff look fed up, don't listen and the queue is often out of the door so I go a little further to the one at the petrol station. But I used to be able to nip across the road to post my parcels, to my local corner shop, where the owners would chat to my daughter and the postman would leave my post if it wouldn't fit through the letterbox and I was out.
Come on Royal Mail. I miss my local PO, I miss the friendly service but most of all I miss the convenience.