When a letter is put in the box at your gate, you know it’s come by air, sea or land; plane, ship or truck perhaps even helicopter – then to the Post Office in the district. It’s a long journey. It has then to be sorted, parceled out to each postie, who them sorts his or her own before setting out on a bicycle, to deliver that mail in rain, hail, wind, cold, even snow and sometimes a perfectly fine day. That’s dedication and, when you think of it. to receive a letter from, say, Britain, right to your letter-box is something of a wonder.

There’s lately been a rumour round here that postal delivery is to stop or at least be curtailed none on Saturday, for instance. That would be a pity for the elderly, the disabled who could not be expected to get themselves to town and collect their own mail. However I also hear that the whole idea is indeed merely a rumour. May it stay that way.

But why do we call it post anyway?

It all has to do with horses – kings’ horses – from the time when these lovely creatures were placed along designated routes so horsemen could ride at great speed to deliver ‘the king’s packet’ or other letters.

Instruction was always “Post haste” Hence our use of that term. Now. horses tire; get very hot when galloping, so this was the plan: along a designated route, fresh horses were tethered to posts.

The galloping horseman could change his horse for a fresh one – and keep up his speed.

If you put your ear to the ground you can hear a galloping horseman, even from far away. Imagine the thump of hooves as you listen for the coming of ‘the post’.

We call it ‘post’ when there’s not a post in sight but the long history helps us to appreciate our reliable postal delivery people.