Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A Strange Parcel Arrives.

What is going on? This is not OUR post van. This is an English post van. The Welsh ones have Welsh text on the Royal Mail logo . Why is an ENGLISH mail van outside our house?

Well, we won't show the grumpy postman who gets out of the van complaining bitterly about 'narrow, winding Welsh lanes that splatter mud all over the good, clean post vans from the well swept streets of Birmingham. He'd be furious if we took a photo of him. 

Paul is standing at the window, watching the lambs.

 The grumpy postman knocks on the door, LOUDLY.  As he dumps the parcel on the doorstep, just to let Paul know he has seen him, he yells that Royal Mail doesn't carry livestock. Then he leaves, tyres screeching, as he tries to break the 0-100 m.p.h. speed record.

When he hears what the postman had to say, Paul tries to look nonchalant. Looking up at the ceiling and whistling through his teeth, he wanders off towards his bedroom.

Still wearing his pyjamas, donned and worn 24/7 as a mark of sorrow since his little brother Connor disappeared, Fred is the first to the door to see what the postman was shouting about. Angelina and Holly are close behind.

'Wow! Aren't you glad we usually have Evans-The-Post, Jones-The-Post or Powell-The-Post to bring our mail?' He asks the others. 'I'm so glad I hitched a lift with Mr. Evans when I came to live here!'

  'Mmmm, too right,' replies Holly. 'But shouldn't we go and get the parcel? He said something about livestock and there could be a little animal in that box.'

'Hope it's puppy!' squeaks Angelina excitedly. She's already imagining what kind of puppy might be in the box.

  ' I'd love a puppy that's all fluffy and has big ears and a cute face and.......Oh, but don't let the grumpy postman see us!'

'It's O.K. Angel. He'll be miles away by now, given the speed he took off at!' laughs Fred, as they reach the parcel.

'Or he'll have turned the van over in a ditch... or crashed into a tree.... or a tractor...or.. Isn't Paul suposed to be seeing to post deliveries today? Where has he got to?' 
asks Holly.

' Paul's been ever so not fun since Connor went away.' says Angelina.. 'He doesn't talk any more.'

'She's right, you know, Fred. I haven't heard him speak for weeks and, well, I don't think I've seen him around much. Maybe he's sickening for something. Let's tell Mam we are worried about him.' says Holly, as she and Fred heave the parcel in through the door.

'Mam, 'na s barsel 'ma!'  yells Angel.

'A parcel? Who is it from?' Mam calls back.

'A grumpy foreign postman!' giggles Holly.

'England isn't foreign.' mutters Fred. 'I came from there, you know!' 

'Maybe that's why you are being grumpy.' retorts Holly,  'Perhaps you are related to the postman and..'

Mam comes downstairs. Holly decides it might be better not to go on teasing Fred.  Mam gets as grumpy as the English postman if she hears such talk, even in jest.

It is a big parcel but very light. On one side there is a strange address. It says:

 To Henry,
     Australia or New Zealand,
      Please send to where ever he                                                                                        has gone.

On the other side is written:
               From, Paul,
               Bryn Derw

Across the top are three first class letter stamps.

'Hmm,' says Mam. 'That wouldn't pay for a parcel this size to be delivered to the next town, never mind half way round the world to a half-written address.'
  When they open the box....... it is empty, except for a sheet of typed paper and a little scrunched up white, tissue paper.
   Holly turns over the paper and reads out:
   'Opened by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. Contraband livestock removed and sent for safe keeping.  
Please note, livestock cannot be forwarded to Australia or New Zealand due to the import regulations of both nations. 
Container returned to sender. 
Please contact this department for further information.'

'PAUL!!!!' bawls Mam. 'Down here, NOW!!! Come here this minute, or Granny will be asked to deal with you!'

'Uh oh, if she's going to involve Granny in this, well.....' says Fred. ' .....I think it might be a good idea to find something else to do now!'

Everybody at Bryn Derw does what Granny says, even Mam and Dada. It is fun to be sent to Granny's room if you've been good, but woe betide you, should she be the one to hand out any disciplinary measures!

Mam has taken the box upstairs and left it on the old sofa for Dada to see. Angelina thinks the box might be fun to play with. She could hide in it and jump out to give her brothers a fright. As she watches the box, she sees a little green hand pop up over the edge.

'Mam!' she shrieks. 'Mam! There IS a livesotock in the box, just like the grumpy postman said. And the livestock is trying to escape!'

But Mam isn't listening, she's searching for Paul to ask what exactly he'd tried to send to Henry in Australia..or possibly New Zealand. 

Instead of Mam, Fred goes to see what Angel is so upset about.

'It's empty, Angel,' he says. 'Look, there's only a bit of scrunched up paper in it.'

  But this is what Angelina can see.

'Hello, little livestock,' she says. ' What's your name?'

Half an hour later, Timmy finds Angel in the garden.

'Who are you playing with?' he asks.

'Can you see him too?' Angelina wants to know. 'The others say he's not there, but he is, isn't he? He's my livestock what the bossy people at the airport wouldn't send to Australia. His name's Sid.'

' If Sid the Bwbach you can see
  Then you can talk and play with me!' sings the 'livestock.

'Cool!' exclaims Timmy. 'He's just for us to play with, not for the big ones. I wonder if Teddy can see him too?'

'I wish he'd stop playing with my hair though,' says Angel. 'It makes it stick out more and it will get tangled and hurt when it's brushed.'

'So sorry Angel-child' says the Bwbach, as he stands on his head. 'Poor Sid, no hair! But where's the other little child? The boy in the box with me? The one named Connor-Lucas?!'


  1. Ooh...something addressed to me? My my what can it be? Livestock you say? I hope and I pray... those customs and excise people stay far far away... oh I see it was returned to sender...but what does this mean? 'Contraband livestock removed and sent for safe keeping'. Sent where I wonder...safe keeping? But what is that Angelina spied peeping? A friendly green hand, a companion or two, or so it was thought...where oh where has that dear Connor-Lucas gone that Sid refers? Has he been whisked away by 'Majesty's Customs and Excise' for them to confer...? The mystery deepens...

    Henry xxx

    1. Hi Henry!
      I'm not sure what Paul tried to mail to you but I'm about to find out. How naughty of him to try to get round international bio-security.
      As to the green hand and Sid, Fred tells me they don't exist. Angelina seems to be suffering from an over-active imagination and Timmy is a sweet little boy who probably just want to play along with her. I can't see the so-called Sid in any of the photos, can you?
      Jenni x

    2. Well admittedly I can't but Ollie said that he could see the so-called Sid....so I just agreed with him.

  2. The plot thickens...so where HAS Connor gone and how did Paul get him to the Post Office?
    Only hope Paul has saved up enough pocket money to pay the charges!
    Bwbach is... a Welsh pixie? Couldn't find a translation.
    Is Sid a new arrival or merely a trade in for Connor?

  3. Hi Rosalind
    Paul is taking forever to come down to explain himself. I'm not sure what he's been up to and the others don't know either. He's a bit of a dark horse is our Paul!
    A bwbach (plural bwbachod) is a sort of hob, they keep guard over the house and farm buildings in return for food left out and the right to dip their fingers into the cream before butter is made. Sid, if he turns out not to be just a bit of Angelina's imagination, will find cream in the dairy very scarce round here as we no longer keep cows. He may also have competition because the old farmer who used to live here as a boy came round to ask us not to get rid of the ancient bread oven built into the chimney as that where 'the old one, the bwbach, has lived for many hundred years and, without him the house will have misfortune' apparently. So Sid may not be too welcome unless the resident bwbach wants company? Don't know if it is just a local name for a hob sprite?
    Off to search out Paul as we want Connor back, whether or not Sid moves in.

    1. Makes me wonder where stories of the little people came from. My grandmother used to insist all egg shells were completely broken as she didn't want fairies moving in to them, obviously they were unwelcome visitors - hope Sid isn't that kind!

  4. How impressive ! You get English post vans and Welsh!! and all the way from brummie! Poor Connor is still missing! I hope whoever sent him off gave him enough food for the journey.
    And now you have a welsh pixie? haunting the place!!!! Strange things are happening down? up? your way....
    Dee xx

    1. Ps That Paul looks very guilty if you ask me ! and I love the fluffy dog photo, I say Angelina should have one , it's only fair !! :)

    2. I think they just put 'Post Brenhinol' on our vans will confuse people and they won't blame Royal Mail when letters go missing! But road signs..... just putting some of them in Welsh....is that designed to kill off English speaking visitors or get them really lost? Some are obvious - dim parcio' = no parking etc. Others, pant cudd =hidden dip, would you know? My mother still thinks it has something to do with cows, presumably something along the lines of ' Cows crossing to lie down and chew their cud.'
      Seems the Sons of Glyndwr, who went round burning down English owned holiday homes in North West Wales a few decades ago, are alive, well and all working in the road signs department!

      I too think Paul is looking guilty. We will see....

  5. Well I for one believe in fairies and The Little People as they used to visit my doll's house in my childhood years as every morning after I had been playing in there, the dolls house family (and often the furniture) would have been moved round from room to room, the home made little cakes and iced biscuits left in the kitchen or on the diningroom table would have all been eaten and a little note left thanking me.

    Enjoyed seeing the Royal Mail postvan out in a rural setting and the fact that newly born lambs can be seen from the window! How the other half of the Sasha Collectors live!

    Loved the banter of about livestock not being allowed through the postal system. Our post office has now taken to asking just what's in our parcels and packages and which I complained that it is rather an invasion of my privacy. I don't mind admitting that it's a doll being sent for sale to Shelly but I'm not keen on saying that it is Asparagus from a local Cheshire farm, Runner Beans grown in my back garden or Oatcakes, a local speciality that I am sending down to my daughter.

    I am indeed pleased to hear that your bread oven is staying as I love to see them still in situ in the homes.

    1. I believe in the Old Ones as well, Kendal. They are very naughty here - they move things, lose paper work, spread dust and eat off the dishes I thought I'd washed and put away. Yesterday, I discovered that they had been spending my money too as there is far less in my account than I thought.... Maybe a new Bwbach might keep the others in order?

      When asked questions that require you to give information that isn't necessary, I think it is perfectly in order to tell fibs. When I was expecting my first child I was asked what the ethnicity of my 'consort' was. It was the word consort that annoyed me. Partner/husband/the father would all have been fine, but consort?! I asked why they wanted to know and was virtually told it wasn't my business but, eventually, I was told it was for statistical analysis - so I lied! I said he was Chinese and when she was born I got gushing comments from the hospital staff along the lines of, 'Can't you just tell her Daddy is Chinese.' which he wasn't!
      Really, wouldn't a quick question, 'Does your parcel contain any of the things on this list?' be enough? I've only ever been asked about the contents for international parcels or the value if I'm sending anything requiring insurance. But, I think it impressive that you send good food to other people - nothing to be ashamed of there!

      Oh yes, when we are wealthy (haha!) We plan to have the oven rebuilt inside and to use it. I actually remember the one at my aunt's farm in weekly use and the bread and pies were wonderful.

  6. I'm glad to hear that this little pale green fellow is actually a Welsh pixie looking out for your home because for a moment there, I thought he was an 'alien' and that he'd abducted the postie in his van from Birmingham and deposited him in deepest Wales.....
    I love what looks like a little Chihuahua that Angelina visualised in the box.....but a bit disappointed for her, Chihuahuas are much more cuddly than little green men!!!
    Well I guess we need to wait and see what on earth is happening out in your neck of the woods......

    1. Have to agree! Chihuahua's are WAY more cuddly than little green men. That does look a little like a Chi doesn't it? Very similar markings to Percy.

    2. Haha! Bwbachod are local, it's the postman who is the alien!
      Actually, I plan a puppy for Angelina soon. Not that we think her 'livestock' is real. I think it's just an imaginary friend.
      I'm not allowed small dogs. My friend has lost two over the years, we think down badger sets. It is too upsetting not knowing where they have gone and it is so easy to lose them in these open spaces. But maybe the Sashas can have one of their own?

  7. I believe in fairies too, and Angelina would attract them. She is an angel and so precious too. Where is Connor???

  8. I think Angel is hoping for a little dog for her birthday. The only problem is, being Sashas mean that you don't get any older, so no birthdays.... I certainly want her to stay a toddler as the charm tends to disappear during the teen years when it becomes essential to wear headphones or a mobile clamped to the ear on a permanent basis. LOL.