January 08, 2013

Horse 1424 - The Radio, The Post and An Unexpected Story

Our story begins on the 6th of December last year:

The comedian Mark Steel has a show on BBC Radio 4 in which he visits towns and suburbs up and down the United Kingdom and then presents a sort of lecture about the town. Called "Mark Steel's in Town", each comedy lecture attempts to describe the town and perhaps explode myths, unearth interesting morsels of info and show off the colours and people of the town.

Episode two of the current series, saw him on the island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides and the small town of Tobermory, which probably lent its name to a Womble.
The town of Tobermory is so small that Mark suggested that you could write a very very vague address and because the local post office knows everyone, they would probably deliver it.
In this spirit I sent the following letter in which I explained the frivolous nature of the experiment and wondered if it a) would be delivered and b) be replied to:

As you can see, there is no postcode, no proper address and only a sort of very very vague description as to who this was to be sent to.
To my surprise, after I returned to work following the Christmas holidays, I received the following email:

Hi Andrew

Thank you far your letter regarding Mark Steel's comments in his Radio 4 programme! Your letter was delivered to me today, which says a lot for our Royal Mail delivery service!
In fact I have also received a Christmas Card from Sheffield, England, addressed in the same way!
It was good to hear from Sydney: one of our sons lives in Annandale, and we have friends who used to live in Mosman, so I know the area fairly well. We visit every 2 or 3 years -last time was just a year ago, when I sang at a Ceilidh (in Gaelic, of course).
Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur (which means "All the best for Christmas and New Year")


This is where even I concede that the world is an amazing place.
Firstly, all thanks and best wishes to Janet who was an unwitting participant in this. I bet that no-one would actually expect to receive mail from the other side of the world, in a country that doesn't even broadcast the show. I'd like to thank Janet especially for her good humour in all of this.
Secondly, I find it a little daft that a letter as poorly addressed as this would pass through the hands of both Australia Post and the Royal Mail in the UK and yet still arrive in a small town on an island. This ill addressed letter has traveled half way round the world and yet still ended up where it was supposed to go.

Things like this make the world seem a little kinder. The daftest things in life usually are the best.

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