Like so many ex-pats living in the Canary Islands and Spain, I love receiving post from home. Be it a letter or postcard from friends or family, or maybe the occasional magazine; it is good to know that we have not been forgotten. Although there is no shortage of quality shopping opportunities in the Canary Islands, I am a strong supporter of the delights of Amazon and the QVC Shopping Channel and I am often tempted to order the occasional book, DVD or latest gadget on-line.
The world’s marketplace really opened up when I discovered the wonders of Ebay some years ago. Now, I can find almost anything on the pages of this wonderful creation. Items ranging from long obsolete batteries for my minidisc (yes, I adore iPods but somehow they never seem to meet the genius of minidisc), replacement parts for an ancient, but much loved Russell Hobbs coffee percolator to very cheap yet effective mosquito netting all find themselves winging their way to one of these tiny islands in the Atlantic.
I have to say that, in the main, the Correos postal service has been very good and I am pleased to report that everything that I have ordered has safely arrived either at our home in the Costa Blanca or the Canary Islands - eventually. However, there was very nearly one rather nasty exception.
Several weeks ago, I ordered a rather splendid electronic item from Amazon - I won’t bore you with all the details now, but enough to say that it was sufficiently exciting to have me waiting expectantly for the postman each day for nearly five weeks! Amazon told me confidently that delivery would take somewhere between three and seven days. Yes, that did seem a little optimistic, but we often receive post from home that has taken only three days to get to Gran Canaria. Anyway, this item was travelling by courtesy of Deutsche Post and if I know anything about our German friends, it is that an efficient postal service is one of the major assets of their country. I waited with hope and expectation...
Three weeks later the parcel had still not arrived and by the end of the fourth week I was becoming anxious and contacted Amazon. Their advice was to give it “another week” and so, once again, the anguish of waiting for the postman each morning was to be repeated.
Just as we were entering the fifth week and I had all but given up any hope of receiving it, there was a buzz on the doorbell and a new, very cheery, postman was holding out a box for me! Yes, it was the long-expected parcel from Amazon.
“Are you new to the job?” I asked the young postman, accusingly.
Yes, it turned out that our new postman had just been appointed. I asked what had happened to our previous postman - a very nice man who was also a part-time drag queen by night. Maybe he had deserted his postal deliveries permanently in favour of the bright lights and a wardrobe of new frocks, wigs and feather boas?
The young postman shook his head. No, it turned out that some three weeks earlier our normally reliable postman, and part time drag queen, had chopped off his middle finger during a rather nasty incident with a set of ancient curling tongues, a jar of cocktail cherries and a machete - no, please don’t ask me for the gory details! As a result, he could no longer continue with his postal round and it had subsequently taken Correos three weeks to appoint his replacement. Ah, so that was the reason why my parcel from Amazon was delayed. How very inconsiderate!
© Barrie Mahoney
First published in 2010
From the 'Letters from the Atlantic' series by Barrie Mahoney
Living the Dream: ISBN 978-0992767198