I want to finish this last blog of the year 2021 on a happy note, and luckily I have found something very suitable to write about. It satisfies me for several reasons: firstly because it will make my life easier, less stomping around laden with heavy parcels, secondly, it is a new venture for a lovely newsagent's family, which I have been encouraging them to embark upon, and finally, it feeds so beautifully into one of my passions, which is looking around for any remaining signs of old London.
I have lived in London all my life, except for some of the war years when we were evacuated to the Lake District, and I remember so many of the sights of all those years ago, including playing in bombed-out buildings and going along the Thames watching boats unloading their cargoes into the tall warehouses. So I was delighted one day, when walking past a local shop that was being renovated, to notice that the builders had stripped away the fascia above the shop window to reveal an old sign which said, simply, "Post Office". I had always wondered why the post box was positioned outside this shop rather than a few shops down outside a large Rymans which then housed a post office counter. Soon afterwards the sign disappeared under a new one advertising a hairdressing saloon.
The Rymans, together with its very convenient post office, closed a year ago, and since then I have had to traipse a long way away to find a post office to take the many books I send around the world, now not so much books that I have written myself, which Singing Dragon Publishers now happily do for me, but all the many books I read and pass on to whoever I think would like to read them after me. To my delight, then, the newsagents I go to told me that they have taken on the lease of another local shop and will be bringing a post office back to this area. Imagine, too, my further delight when it turns out that the shop they have taken is the very shop which was a post office all those many years ago.
So both the newsagent and I whooped with happiness, when the builders doing the renovations and taking down the hairdressing sign, again revealed the old sign, still in place. Because I had told them the history of the old post office and its sign, the present occupier intends simply to freshen up the old sign, leaving it in its place. This will make it probably the last reminder around this area of a bit of old London, amongst all the destructive building work now blocking the beautiful London skyline.
The newsagent and I have decided that we should hold a street party to celebrate the re-opening of the old post office, probably more than 100 years ago.
And here's another piece of serendipity to complete this happy little story about a bit of old London. Early this morning I go into my lovely newsagents to pick up my daily Guardian, and the newsagent and I talk about the opening of the post office opposite. I told him that I'd just blogged about it, and the man standing next to me, said, "Oh, I remember going into the post office there years ago." It was lovely quite by chance to meet somebody who used the old post office regularly. He and I agreed to meet there in the New Year to celebrate its re-opening after all these years.
This brings the story of the old post office full circle.