Postman Paul

    If you don't live in Spain Lane, Farringdon then you should recognise who it is, or his knees. No, it's not Postman Pat, it's his brother Paul. Paul Harverson has been our village postman for the past 8 years and he can truly be said to be the one and only person who has a day to day direct and close involve­ment with our village. Paul has been brave enough to give us an insight into his life, so one wet afternoon recently I visited him at his home in Exeter which he shares with his wife Helen and their family. Paul, in his early 50's (does he really look that old?) was born and bred in Exeter where he went to both primary and secondary schools. Paul certainly knows his dough as on leaving school at 15 he became an apprentice with Hill, Palmer & Edwards (Mother’s Pride) and later qualified as a baker. Some time later he changed from mak­ing the product to selling it and later over the course of the next 15 or so years he was also involved in the selling of meat products for two different national companies. Paul says that despite being trained as a baker he really enjoyed being a salesman as it was all about meeting people, the customers, and treating them like your friends. He made that analogy to compare with being a postman in that he is meeting people every day and it is a very socia­ble type of job.
     
    Despite enjoying his work, Helen's ill health caused Paul to become a milkman in order that he could devote more time to her which he was able to do by starting work at lam and being home soon after 8am to look after both her and their then young children. Fortunately in the passage of time with the great improvement in medicines and the children growing up Paul opted out of unsocial hours for a 'day job' with the Royal Mail! This then gave him the benefit of 'a lie in' til 4am which is the time that he now gets up each day. To Paul the Royal Mail attraction was that he could start early each day enabling him to get home at a reasonable time of the day to be with his family. Additionally, he still had 'customers' and would be meeting peo­ple daily, although the only thing he had to sell then was himself. Initially he undertook a number of different jobs before he moved to (the now closed) Clyst Honiton Post Office where about 8 years ago he became our village post man, a position he has held ever since. As mentioned already Paul doesn't cover Spain Lane or the area of Glebe Cottages but otherwise he delivers to the whole of Farringdon as well as a great part of the outlying areas of Aylesbeare. Each day follows a similar pattern, starting at Sowton Sorting Office at 5m sorting the mail for his and other rural rounds. Actual deliver­ies start about 9am with Paul returning to the sorting office just before 2pm.  
     
    You would probably think “Well, is that it? Deliver a few letters, packets and parcels each day and that's it”. Wrong!! To Paul the nature of the man is somewhat more than that, in fact a lot more. Being a people person, like he is, there is a social side to his job as well. He estimates that he probably knows the first names of 95% of those on his delivery round including children and they know him. Additionally with 8 yrs experience he has got to know the more frail and infirm on his round and will pop in to see such persons for a quick chat, a cup of tea, even to fit a light bulb or do a simple errand. In the modern world, 'not in the job description' would come to mind, but how refreshing to hear that old standards and common courtesies do still exist, and here in Farringdon to boot!!
     
    There is no doubt, listening to Paul, that he really does enjoy his job. He cy­cles the 10 minutes in to work every day and is highly active whilst out on deliveries. However, his twist on this is that he is being paid to keep fit, whereas in the past this was achieved by his hobby of football . More re­cently he has taken up running and he has taken part in a number of half marathons as well as the annual Farringdon Fun Run. On the down side - Paul reckons that the hardest thing that he has to contend with is regrettably turn­ing down cups of tea and the offer of breakfast. Jokingly, his wife Helen in­terjected that she thought he was having an affair on his round but it's plain to see that the only affair he has is to perform his delivery round in a public spirited frame of mind. "This is the best job I have ever had" is how Paul de­scribes it and looking to the future he hopes that it will go on and be his last.  
     
    Despite the many changes in the system in recent years, modem technology has not yet produced a robot who can go out and replace him so all things being equal we can hope to see Paul on a daily basis for many years to come. Thank God for that because I'm sure that Royal Mail would not programme a robot on the social aspects of the job, such as changing a light bulb! So when the junk mail comes through the door in future you can put it straight into the recycling bin, BUT please bear in mind that it is helping to fund the Royal Mail and give US such a wonderful network of daily social visitors in our communities. For us, that social visitor is OUR village postman. Paul, you are our star!!
     
    Brian Curryer