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Monday November 9, 2009

A Stamp of Approval

Waiting in the queue at our local post office, the correos, I was approached by Miguel, one of the staff, who asked in confidential tones about the British postal strike. When I told him it was being called off, he touched his heart as if I’d just delivered life saving news and joyously announced the decision to the other counter staff. I found his reaction curious, never imagining such solidarity to exist between postal workers internationally but as it transpired, that wasn’t the reason.

Miguel and his colleagues had been fretting not about the strikers but how their actions might affect delivery of Christmas mail to the UK. With a significant population of British expats living in the valley, they deemed it shocking that post delivered to friends and families back home might not arrive by the designated time.

That’s the reason why I love my local correos. It’s less a post office and more a community one-stop shop. Those who work there genuinely care about the customer and it is the place where everyone meets. Last week when foolishly mislaying my car keys in the town it was the post office I turned to for help. As soon as I walked in, Miguel smiled from his desk and held up my key fob. Some kind soul had thought to hand it in to the place where everyone eventually rolls up.

When I first arrived in the valley, expats warned me about the mañana postal service, the endless queues at the correos, and the dilatory postmen and in certain respects they had a point. True, queuing is part of the national sport but it’s a chance to catch up with gossip and to admire the town’s stud of a postman who arrives swishing his glossy mane and flexing his bronzed muscles.

Jorge, our own village postman, finds it a drag to walk up our long stony track but lugging a colossal yellow postbag around the mountain tracks is no mean feat. On hot summer days he’ll accept a glass of water and willingly dishes out horticultural advice, inspecting our roses and olive trees with an experienced eye. When a scorpion chose to hide in the letterbox, it was Jorge who saved the day and removed the offending beastie.

With its massive network of post offices across Spain and in rural areas, one can but hope the correos will continue to deliver a first class service. At our house, at least, the postman never has to ring twice.

Source: Majorcan Pearls at

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