I try, I really do try.
I try not to be the classic 'grumpy old fart' but advancing age, living alone and probably having way too much free time on my hands are all conspiring to turn me into the North Leeds version of Victor Meldrew.
One of my constant struggles is to stop myself shooting out the door to confront the free newspaper and unwanted flyer delivery people who can't seem to get it into their heads that putting their rubbish half way through letterboxes is a BAD thing.
I'd no sooner opened my downstairs curtains this morning than I saw what appeared to be my letterbox giving birth to a glossy magazine. However some unseen umbilical chord stopped this magazine from plopping safely onto my porch floor and instead it stayed there, twixt and between as though unsure what to do with itself. As I was on my feet already and so in a good starting position to become 'ACTIVE grumpy old fart', I unlocked the door, went outside and caught up with the delivery man just as he was putting the next magazine....yes, half way into my neighbour's letterbox.
Based on previous events of a similar nature, I knew better than to waste time explaining to him my reasons for wanting items pushed right through my letterbox so I just let rip with "can you PLEASE push these mazazines all the way through letterboxes in future ?" I was met with a blank stare and he slowly removed the magazine entirely as though he thought I was accusing him of delivering an explosive device. As far as I'm aware, not one copy of 'Jewish Life Leeds' has ever blown up or even spontaneously combusted. I may stand corrected of course.
I quickly sensed I was dealing with someone who did not have English as his first language.
I'm not sure he had it as a 2nd or 3rd either. I went into full Jacques Tati mode and with a series of mimes and single words....which as usual I ended up shouting at him as one does when talking with foreigners as though we think that will better help convey the message.......I finally got it through to him that it was a great (albeit novel) idea to actually push the magazines right through the letterbox.
He gave me a smile that lifted the gloom on an otherwise grey morning and we parted firm friends with email addresses exchanged and promises to keep in touch forever.
Well we parted.......that bit was true.
Unbelievable as it may seem, I'd no sooner returned home and removed my semi delivered magazine from the letterbox and transferred it safely into my wastepaper basket, than I saw another delivery happening before my eyes. My letterbox creaked it's initial warning and the start of a plastic bagged package appeared....and then stopped. Even Mother Theresa would've been hard pushed to ignore this 2nd violation of the 'letterbox law'.
This time the delivery boy/man was in a rush and set off like an Olympic sprinter, so giving myself a blast on my asthma inhaler to help me keep up, I shot out the door again ( I'm actually thinking of installing a revolving door if this keeps up ) and managed to catch him just as he got to my neighbour's door. I know this sounds highly unlikely given I live in a semi, but anyone taking the proper route from my door to my neighbour's door has to go back out my drive, along the pavement, round a corner and then along the driveway to their door. I, on the other hand, can scoot in front of our windows and get to the same door in seconds. Very handy in times like this and helps give the impression that I'm not someone to be messed with as I'm obviously faster than Ben Johnson even without the drugs.
I had his immediate attention as for one thing he wasn't expecting anyone to suddenly appear near him out of the shrubbery but mostly because I was doubled up and wheezing heavily as though I'd just taken part in the Pamplona bull run. Thankfully he waited while I regained my composure and my breath and I asked him why he was pushing his 'Yorkshire Cancer Society Clothes Collection Bag' ( to be picked up on Friday ) halfway through letterboxes ???
Again I got the bemused smile of the newly arrived immigrant, this time accompanied by a bit of bowing from the waist. Very odd and somewhat disarming. Still, my well honed mime performance was another hit although I sent him on his way feeling I'd entertained more than educated.
Of course now I'm on tenderhooks waiting for the delivery of the Leeds Weekly News as that unwanted free rag is almost always semi delivered. I know where I'D like to deliver the Leeds Weekly News and Corporal Jones' famous expression might be appropriate.
Writing this account of this morning's events has helped calm me down and saved me having to take a double dose of BP medication. Always a good thing.
I don't usually have any unwanted clothing to give to these collection charities (hey lumber jackets and bovver boots MIGHT come back into fashion and then where would I be ??) but I might make an exception on Friday.
I'm thinking of putting a shirt out my letterbox for them to collect........half way of course.