In Christchurch, letter boxes are being ‘harvested’. Our Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has given permission for a community group, the Avon-Otakaro Network, to gather letter boxes from red-zoned residential properties where the houses have been demolished. The letter boxes, and the homes to which they belonged, had to be abandoned following the devastation of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The Avon-Otakaro Network, which has so far collected 200 letter boxes, plans to use them to create 10 sculptures to be placed by the lower Avon River. They will be reminders of loved homes and communities that are no more. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/9305950/Harvesting-red-zone-letterboxes-for-art
Just as letter boxes are changing their form, so, too, is our Postal Service. Yesterday came the not unexpected announcement that New Zealand Post will reduce “its work force by up to 2000 staff as part of a strategy to reshape the business over the next five years.” (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/business/9352413/NZ-Post-job-losses-restructure-revealed ) Part of that strategic plan includes a move to a 3 day postal delivery service, beginning in mid 2015. Like any good organisation, it must continually renegotiate its terms of existence in order to survive and thrive. New Zealand Post has been doing its vital work, in one form or another, for at least 170 years and I expect it can continue to serve for another century, if appropriate innovative strategies are implemented.
In the meantime, whilst the Postal Service and the letter boxes are being sorted out and re-arranged, some of us are doing our best to help keep the current postal structures in good heart.
Here are my bookmark gifts ready to fly away, par avion, to distant shores.
Can you guess which one is coming to a post box near you? One will find a home, in the US, and will soon be covered in dog hair ; one will settle comfortably in London, next to Danny, the teddy bear, and a cat called Thomas ; and the third will go to a dedicated reader of books, and my blog, and long time friend, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
But real mail doesn’t only leave my home. It arrives as well. In my broken-down-earthquake-damaged-letter box, which no one would want to harvest, I found this…..midday yesterday…..
This pink and white parcel delight contains my first purchase from Koru Knits’ Felt shop. (Felt is our New Zealand answer to Etsy)
I always love a parcel and the treats within. Here is my treat; beautiful ‘sapphire blue’ handwarmers, lovingly handmade by fellow blogger, Lynley.
Of course, they won’t be needed right now, as we head in to summer, but I like to be prepared!
Included in my parcel was a lovely, and generous, bonus (because I was Lynley’s first Felt customer) ; a pink, white and blue striped apron, ( you can see a little of it underneath the handwarmers), which is perfectly perfect for me, in both colour and size. How did she guess?
What Lynley didn’t guess is that I would put ‘pinny’ and handwarmers on, straight away, and prance around the kitchen taking photos of myself!
And, if it had been morning time, I would have pranced right out the door and taken my new garments for a walk to my letter box, just for the sheer fun of it. And, perhaps, even given a friendly wave to the postie, if he or she had been cycling by at that very moment.
Sorry to hear about the “right sizing” of the postal service, not good news for the 2000 workers who now have to find alternate employment in what is already a tough job market. Love your handwarmers – I have some very similar, but with a faux fur fluffy cuff – they’re fab in winter.
“right sizing’….that’s a good expression! Your handwarmers must be lovely, and another good thing about handwarmers is that you can still display rings on your fingers 🙂
Absolutely!! Oh, I watched a TV program last night in which a character sung the whole of “Oranges and Lemons” – such a coincidence! She even got to the “chop off your head” bit 🙂
Exciting! What was the programme?
EastEnders!! I have been addicted to this programme for years…….
Oh Okay. We may get that on Sky but I don’t think it is shown on TV NZ anymore. Emmerdale and Coronation Street are the NZ television staples.
We don’t get either of those here, but funnily enough I never used to watch them in the UK either – it was always EastEnders. I have just realised I have been watching it on and off for almost 30 years!! Good grief!
Good grief indeed. Although I suppose I may have watched Coro street, on and off, for nearly 50 years! Mostly ‘off’…..I am not a big fan. I am a fan of Downton Abbey and I forgot to watch the episode that was on last night. Feeling very cross with myself!
Downton Abbey is brilliant – my favourite show!! We have had 3 series so far, and I believe there is now a 4th to look forward to – yay! Sorry you missed your episode – do they repeat it during the week?
We have had 3 episodes of Series 4. It was the third episode that I missed and I don’t think there is a repeat of it. . I will catch up with it eventually when they do a rerun of the series!
I love those hand warmers! Hand warmers (and sleeves) are part of my “uniform” here! Lovely apron too. And your bookmark gifts are super pretty! Great that those letterboxes will be used in such a special and commemorative way.
How lovely that you wear handwarmers too. Would you recommend sleeves for me too? What do yours look like? Autumn and winter next year will be my first with handwarmers.
I think if you already like hand warmers and find them useful, extended sleeve style versions would also be worth considering! I love them here… It can be minus 20C outside, then hot and yucky on the subway, so anything easily removable/put-on-able is great! I also wear them at work (when I am working in the office) as they don’t affect my ability to type.
Here is a pic of the kind of thing I mean:
I buy mine from H&M (super cheap, loads of styles and colours).
They look super. And practical. I have just looked at the H&M site and they do have some fun fingerless mittens. Do the sleeves stay up quite well? The site also has lots of tube scarves; not sure how comfortable they would be. Have you got one? And you will never guess what I am eating right now…I found some of my parsnip cake in the freezer. It seems better for having been frozen!
hehe! go the parsnip! 😀
yes, I find they do stay up quite well 🙂 they are great for layering (over a long-sleeved t-shirt, under a cardigan, etc.) Very versatile.
Tube scarves? Love them too 🙂 Depending on the material used to create them (ie, assuming no scratch type of wool), they are comfy. And they look really smart with a tailored winter coat, I think 🙂
Good to know. But ,perhaps, by the time winter comes around here, there will be some new style I will have to understand 🙂
Thanks for the photos of you modelling the handwarmers…Didn’t have a clue how they would be worn but now I must find me some! Delightful post as always.
Thanks! I have discovered since buying the handwarmers that they are quite fashionable; that makes me smile because I am usually so out of fashion.
Beautiful gifts coming and going! Just to say a quick hi, still smiling 🙂 and I see you are too.
Hi there! Glad to see your smile 🙂
Hm.. from the post box to the kitchen. You seem to be never far away from both. I just love to read this post. NICE POST! 😀
Thank you. Yes, it seems I do not stray far from the home front!
I thought you have been gone for a long vacation this month. 🙂
Yes, I was supposed to go somewhere wasn’t I? I must have missed the flight 😀 or the train, or the bus 😀 How silly I am!
Hahaha… 😀 😀 😀
So exciting seeing my parcel before you actually send it. I wonder which one is mine? I love your handwarmers, and the thought occurs to me that they might be just what I need for my winter Christmas. I am expecting to be colder than I have ever been 🙂
Ah, yes, which one is yours 😉 ??? I like the way the handwarmers leave your fingers free. I imagine that ungloved fingers would be helpful when texting.
What a delightful assortment of creations! The book marks are lovely, and the hand warmers remind me of the ones my grandmother used to make, except yours have a more detailed pattern ( and hers were made with scrapes of yarn left over from making caps and gloves and socks)!
Oh, they must have been fun handwarmers! Did she make them for you?
I never know what I will find on your blog but it is always delightful to read 🙂 Annie
That made me smile! Most of the time I don’t know what I will write on my blog from one post to the next. I surprise myself 🙂
Wonderful surprises both in the outgoing and incoming mail. I was surprised to hear that your postal delivery is going to go to a three day service. That has to be the most severe cutback that I have ever heard of. Great looking wrist warmers, too!
It is quite severe, I agree, but the implementation is not till 2015 and who knows what might change between now and then. Some areas will still receive a 5 day delivery (currently it is 6), depending on demand. I have your email; many thanks. A bookmark will be heading your way, shortly 🙂
That is a really kind thing to do by sending the bookmarks to fellow bloggers. Love the hand warmers 😀 Ralph xox 😀
Yes, I think my handwarmers are much nicer than those strange earwarmers you were looking at during your recent market expedition!
Yes. They are very strange, but colourful 😉
Indeed; they made me very worried about the type of ears they might cover! I might not want to meet those ears.
What an interesting post! I love the idea of phoenix post boxes, rising from the debris of the earthquake. Your gifts, arriving and departing, are lovely!
Thank you 🙂 People seem to become extra creative when faced with the most difficult of situations. Who would have thought that letter box sculptures would stand testament to our recent experiences. Pre-earthquakes such an idea would probably have been laughed out of town.
A double gift, an apron for summer grilling and hand warmers for winter – you’re all set.
I am indeed!
First I really like your gift envelops. They are so lovely. They actually are the gifts themselves. The recipients will delight when they arrive.
For the postal service, I agreed with you that for an organization to survive and grow it must keep adjusting to situations. However, my unreasonable part of me feels sad to see this sort of thing. I do not like to see or hear people loss their jobs. I wish those will find new placements soon.
Your parcel also looks very lovely. Did it came that way or there is an outer box to protect the delicate wrapper inside? The hand warmers (both hands) and the apron look great on you. “Prancing” around the kitchen… I like this part 🙂
It was fun sending out my bookmarks :). It was a good excuse to play with ribbons and craft items.
Yes, I ,too, feel sad for anyone who will lose his/her livelihood with the postal changes. Our current Postal Service Staff do excellent work.
The parcel from Lynley came in a proper post office package; you may notice a small edge of red underneath the white paper; that is the package.
Perhaps you can find an apron and some handwarmers in your cupboards and join me in a prance around the kitchen. It’s great fun 😀 : D
Danny and Thomas can’t wait for a beautifully done letter with the bookmark from you. You make them so nice. Well I think with email all postal services suffer. Ours had reduced too, we used to have twice a day delivery and now it might be not even once a day if there is not enough for the street. Reall goods we still need the post. And we all love to get real letters, but it is also rare now. I have some lovely letter writing paper but don’t use it enough, shame.
We do have just slits in the front door were the post falls through to the floor, I just heard it… let’s see….. might be just bills….. 🙂
I do hope you and Danny and Thomas are already selecting a book that you will mark with the bookmark. 🙂
I am amazed to think that you used to have two deliveries a day, in recent times. But it made me think that, instead of cutting back on deliveries, the Postal Service should consider offering more deliveries, as they used to do a very long time ago. I wonder if people would use the service more, if they knew their letters would be delivered within the space of a few hours? Also, it is a little harder to bug/hack/ or spy on letters than emails, txts etc ; does anyone remember that fact?????
what a parcel – those handwarmers are giving me ideas – i think it is very clever to cover up past the wrist – what was i thinking all this time with regular gloves??
Well, I always wear out the fingers of my gloves, so it seemed sensible to give handwarmers a try!
though I’ve never been to NZ, books (and recently films) brought me there many a time. and now your beautiful posts are my magic green door across time zones and nations. and just yesterday I wrote about perfumes that help rebuild (they’re made in canada, but source essential oils from countries like afghanistan or haiti, helping local businesses and thus, the communities). I love that idea so much. especially given that you sometimes can find more kindred souls through the web than near to you.
Oooh, it’s exciting to offer a magic green door. When I was writing my post I wanted to add a little note just for you to say that Lynley and I are very diligent about recycling as much as possible. eg my bookmarks are wrapped in paper from my collection of scrap paper and tied with ribbon oddments etc etc. I am not entirely green but am a work in progress 🙂 I am always fascinated by how innovative some entrepreneurs are; the perfume idea is so brilliant.
and I will return every now and then just to look at it! 🙂
and kudos for being an aware crafter.
Thank you! Looking forward to your returns 🙂
Those handwarmers look fab. Seems like postal services struggle everywhere. We still have a post everyday but it has just been floated on the stock market. Would love to see a photo of your post boxes. We don’t have them.
Yes, I have heard of the recent changes in the Royal Mail. Is your mail posted through a slit in the door? When I was young we always collected our mail from a postal box at the post office. We paid a yearly rental for it. I thought about posting a photo of my current mangled letter box but it is not a pretty sight!
Most people do have a post box in the door but we have a little box to the side of the door. Not sure why really.
It’s interesting to consider all the different kinds of letter boxes/receptacles there might be!
Indeed! You get stuck with what is normal for you!
And come to think of it, I believe that, at least, in New Zealand, there are actually ‘standards’ or ‘norms’ for individual post boxes, in the sense that the Post Office will not deliver to a post box that is too difficult to access or that it considers dangerous for the postie. 🙂
Now why is that not surprising? Health and safety and all that. I wonder if they have to prove their feelings?
I am not sure! But there have been some disagreements between homeowners and postal workers about whether a letterbox is safe or not; I suppose the post office get the final say!
What a lovely post, so enjoyed each thread of the blog and what a great idea the handwarmers are, and the re-cycling of the letter boxes – very touching…
Thank you Valerie. I am looking forward to seeing the sculptures. Apparently there is one already in Kaiapoi, done via another group which has been given permission to harvest letter boxes.
The handwarmers look lovely and are not unlike a pair I bought this summer and have yet to wear. However listening to the rain tapping on the window and the wind swirling outside this morning, I think I will road test them today. The letterbox harvesting sounds like a great idea, and the sculpture an excellent way to have a tangible reminder of much loved homes.
This is my first ever pair of handwarmers. I think they will be really useful, especially for quick trips to the letter box in the winter chill. Hope your handwarmer *road test* goes well!
What a heartwarming post! And such a special package to find in the mailbox. 💜 snail mail certainly has a magic to it that cannot be replaced with virtual mail.
I agree! It will be a long time before we find a way to beam goods through the internet. Although I suppose 3D printing may be one way of transferring an item from one place to another. Sort of 🙂
We just received a notice from Canada Post that they are updating delivery routes. They have promised that this will not impact on the delivery time – uncertain as to what that means. Our communication has dramatically changed over the years – even so, it is always nice to get a letter in the mail that is handwritten. There is care and attention in every word. 🙂
What does that mean, indeed? As far as personal mail is concerned it is probably not hugely important to have a delivery every day but, perhaps it is more difficult when it comes to business or commercial mail. There may need to be more planning re bills and payments too, on a corporate and individual level, if one is still using the mail system.
And, yes, a letter is always lovely. There is care and attention and, in my case, sometimes a line through a mistake, or an extra line squeezed on to the bottom of the page; our individuality is expressed!
I love those bills..especially the small print about having to pay them even if they are not received or delayed in the mail.
Gosh I must have missed that small print! I did not know!
Trust me….it’s there somewhere!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
What a delightful surprise in the post. It sounds like you will enjoy them quite thoroughly. …but you didn’t post a picture of you in your “pinny” and handwarmers.! 🙂
I will enjoy my pinny and handwarmers. I didn’t post a full picture of me but there should be two small pictures of my hands resting against the pinny fabric. They should be at the end of the post. Sometimes not all the photos come through at once on my computer and I have to press the refresh button. Do tell me if you can see them.
Isn’t getting a parcel fun? As we draw near to Christmastime, I actually look forward to getting the mail – in with the regular assortment of bills and junk, there are real live LETTERS to read! 🙂
Indeed, there are! And pretty Christmas cards too.
What treasures going through the post in both directions. I’ve just discovered you blog. You write beautifully, and put some interesting threads together. I too value ‘real letters’ and parcels. At Summer Solstice I make my own cards and send them out each year.
Yes, treasures in both directions. I love all kinds of mail but I do treasure ‘real’ mail. I love the feel of it :), apart from anything else! What a wonderful idea to send out Summer Solstice cards. Do you have any examples of them on a blog, perhaps?
Those handwarmers and apron are so pretty!
They’re looking at scaling back the frequency of postal deliveries by Canada Post as well – so far, nothing has been announced but discussion is definitely going on. They’ve already changed how parcels are delivered (instead of designated parcel delivery trucks, parcels are now – for the most part – delivered with the regular mail). It’s really sad about the job losses that all this restructuring will incur, both in New Zealand and here – but I guess it’s a matter of being between a rock and a hard place.
I think that is interesting what the Avon-Otakaro Network is doing with the abandoned mailboxes in Christchurch. Perhaps you’ll be able to post some photos of the sculptures once they are finished and erected? It would be really nice to see them!
Yes, Postal Services all over the world are faced with change, I think, but I have faith that they are clever enough to adapt to what the market needs. And, although the NZ Post job losses seem huge, apparently many of the jobs will be lost through natural attrition. However, it will be very hard for some of the workers who will no longer have employment.
I do hope I get to see the letter box sculptures. It may be a while before they are completed 🙂
Ohhh now it is my turn to receive a bonus and a wonderful surprise. Thank you so much for posting about my knitting, crafts and Felt website. Your hands do look snuggly. I wonder what delicious baking you might do in the apron?
I saw a suggestion on my FB page this morning that with some lateral thinking the posties could be employed to not only deliver mail but to pick up mail we would like to post, including small courier packages. They could also sell stamps, scan postal items and apparently it could all work extremely well with the use of app technology on phones. I loved the idea. It would seem that Post Offices are a thing of the past but this system seemed worth some real attention.
When I was a child the postie blew a whistle when he or she had left mail in the box. I am whistling now thanks to your blog post! And about to read about the harvesting of letter boxes in your city.
The apron is getting a workout with a steak tonight! I like my steak rare and it’s rare that we have it! I am much more of a vegie person. And the apron would have been christened with biscuit dough, if we hadn’t decided to go gallivanting this afternoon; the weather was so beautiful 🙂
I can see that you agree with me that there is no need to despair over changes to the postal system; the changes can be positive and very innovative. And I think bringing back a whistle would be a very cheery step in the right direction :). I am glad my post made you whistle. I hope you got your little bird friends to join you!
So few people actually use the postal system, so It’s delightful that you are. Whatever happened to postcards? Those charming brief messages with images that brought a smile into the day. Maybe I need to resurrect that lovely form of communication. Adored your post and sentiments.
Postcards are lovely! In fact there was a postcard inside the parcel which I didn’t show. Your photos would make beautiful postcards 🙂
I’m thinking about making a set.