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Crazy schedules, vans totally full of parcels and Covid-19 - the pressures of being a postal worker during lockdown

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Crazy schedules, vans totally full of parcels and Covid-19 - the pressures of being a postal worker during lockdown

Post by TrueBlueTerrier »

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wale ... l-19574033

A village postman has compared the last 10 months to the run up to Christmas trying to keep up with the demand caused by Covid-19.

While most people can only dream of having Christmas every day, this is the reality faced by Welsh postie Nathan Thompson and his fellow postal workers working around the clock to make sure our online shopping hits our doorsteps.

Back in March last year, Nathan, like everyone else, had no idea what was in store when he attended a briefing by the Royal Mail on what would be the start of a spring, summer and winter like no other.

But while it has been demanding to say the least, he has also been overwhelmed by a community that has come together to keep their postman fuelled by cake, presents and posters to show their appreciation.


Nathan, who works as a postman for the village of Abertysswyg in Caerphilly, said: "It's been like Christmas every day since March.

"It all started in March. We had a briefing two weeks before the official lockdown to say when you go to a door, knock on the door, leave the parcel there and stand two metres away. It was nonsense, we thought, but then the lockdown came and we went into overdrive, there was just parcels everywhere.

"Normally [at Christmas] because there's more stuff to process the Royal Mail just flood us with extra workers but they couldn't do that because of social distancing.

"They couldn't put any extra people on if they wanted to - normally it's two to a van when there was one to a van. The biggest thing they could do was hire vans from everywhere. Vans from all around the UK were coming down to Newport for us to pick up just to take to our office.

"You could work on your days off, there was no qualms about over time if you wanted to. I was probably working about 11 hour shifts most days but I'd have to take my day off as I was absolutely knackered by then."


As well as a postman with 26 years' experience, the start of the coronavirus pandemic quickly saw Nathan become a jack-of-all-trades. Alongside delivering people's parcels, he quickly became people's personal news correspondent, giving updates to the elderly and reporting back on how others were doing from a few doors down.

At one point he also became their librarian, swapping books between neighbours to keep them busy as well as helping one gentleman give his jigsaw puzzles to another resident to enjoy as part of his rounds.

Nathan, 45, said: "In the first lockdown, nobody knew what was going on or what was going to come, everyone was completely blind. So they'd ask me what it was like because I'd travel from Merthyr to Tredegar and then do the shift. They’d say ‘what’s it like in Merthyr, what’s the roads like, is there anyone on the road, is anyone walking around?'

"You’d become their source of news. There’d be simple things like the older people worrying about their rubbish, were the bin lorries coming around, should I put my bins out? What am I going to do for my prescriptions?

"You’d tell them the information, whatever they wanted to know, perhaps it was about a neighbour - was so and so okay down there because she’s on her own - and reassure them.


He added: "The older people are still not going out. Although lockdown finishes and people go back to work and pick their shopping up, the older ones and those who are shielding still don’t. I've noticed that some have started to forget things that they would do normally. Because they’re there on their own, and they’re not functioning or seeing people it changes you."

Like the rest of the UK, Abertysswyg also had its set of trends that came and went under different lockdowns.

From street to street there have been rainbow displays, baking crazes and even a trend where households created posters to help him for his work.

As a result, he has been left overwhelmed by people's kindness and generosity in what has been a difficult time for everyone.


There have been some important positives to the last year - including a lot of cake from the families he delivered to (Image: Nathan Thompson)


He said: "The children started colouring rainbows. They were handing out the coloured in ones to older people to put in their windows who had no children to do it so it started off with that

"To cheer everyone up when I went around with the post I would take photos on my phone of all the rainbows and put them on the Abertysswg page on Facebook.

"Then people started making me cakes then because of the nice gesture that I’d done. With them baking at home and doing bits and pieces they’d made a big batch and they’d be one for their mam down the road and auntie and sister and they’d leave them on the doorsteps for them and one for the postman and I’d have it.

"One woman felt sorry for me because I was eating all these nice cakes and she gave me a bag of fruit and two big bottles of water.

"They crocheted me a little post person with a face mask on - they’ve done all sorts. People were bored, they were stuck in with nothing to do so they were turning to their crafts or things they would have liked to do but were working or busy.

"Nobody over there went without.

"[For Christmas] I had a knock on the door one evening and a girl from the village was standing on my doorstep. I thought she was lost or trying to deliver something for somebody else and that it was a coincidence, but it was a hamper for me on behalf of the community from everybody."


While some things began to return to normal over the summer, for Nathan things continued as they were.

While progress is being made, he believes it could be a while before things return to the way they were in the world of the Royal Mail.

Nathan, from Merthyr, said: "At the start of lockdown the mail dropped because all of the businesses and officers were closed, there was no-one in there to create the bills, the catalogues. So that dropped and parcels lifted. But when everything opened back up and people went back in the volumes of mail started flooding in and the parcels stayed as they were. We had all the mail and the parcels on top.

"I know the vaccine is here but I can’t see much of an improvement by March to be honest. I think we’ll go a full year of Christmas mail.

He added: "People don’t realise that we are on the streets delivering but beforehand we are in the office for three hours segregating and sorting all that mail before we go out. In the morning I travel 44 miles to Newport and back before I touch a letter just to bring the mail back."
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pinstripe
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Re: Crazy schedules, vans totally full of parcels and Covid-19 - the pressures of being a postal worker during lockdown

Post by pinstripe »

biggiehud wrote:
08 Jan 2021, 14:12
:Boo hoo! Don’t blame a invisible virus blame yourself for lying down and taking it up the rear end snowflakes can’t believe people still can’t see what’s going on you deserve what you get
Are you a professional troll, or do you do it for fun? My father died two days ago from this invisible virus
I don't have OCD, I've never had OCD. I do have CDO which is similar to OCD, but the letters are in the right order, as they should be.


It's been lovely, but I have to scream now.
cobrakai
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Re: Crazy schedules, vans totally full of parcels and Covid-19 - the pressures of being a postal worker during lockdown

Post by cobrakai »

pinstripe wrote:
08 Jan 2021, 16:37
biggiehud wrote:
08 Jan 2021, 14:12
:Boo hoo! Don’t blame a invisible virus blame yourself for lying down and taking it up the rear end snowflakes can’t believe people still can’t see what’s going on you deserve what you get
Are you a professional troll, or do you do it for fun? My father died two days ago from this invisible virus
Hope you are ok mate, we have a lot of this at our office. Its mind blowing the numpties that rm employ.
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