Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Sign of the Times

There aren't many more quintessential English past-times than lying in bed on a Sunday morning with the morning papers spread all over the bed. Well maybe a few more.

Sunday morning is the only morning I have a paper delivered, it's my one of my little luxuries after a week at full tilt. I dont ask for much. But now this suburban bliss is to be brought to an end. My newsagent has informed me that deliveries of newspapers are to cease soon.

And the reason for this?

Because they cant find anybody to deliver the papers! Apparently young kids today dont want to deliver papers. It's too much like hard work, and they get their money easier ways thank you very much.

The paper boys/girls they do recruit give up after a few days and aren't reliable enough to build a service upon. So bang goes my dream of being sophisticated again. It'll never happen, the Gods have conspired to vomit on my dinner again. Curse you Lord!!

A paper round never did me any harm. Whats the matter with them? And Im sure it didnt do many of us harm. Well it seemt like it did at the time, but looking back it was character building. It was a good way of earning a little bit of money. I couldnt wait for the day when I had my own papers delivered by a scruffy little urchin like me. I had modest ambitions in life as you can see.

My round was the longest at the shop - 10 miles in total for £10 each week. Every morning without fail. I had the round of Kings, the one the others aspired to. Their piddly little rounds were only about £3 or £4 a week and they were all waiting for the day when I packed it in and they moved up the pecking order. We all queued up whilst we waited for the newsagent to 'mark' the papers. Mine was always the first to be done. I was the top paper dog.

And there was always a fair old list of wannabees, paper boy idols wanting to make the grade and be a paper boy at our shop.

I did the posh houses too which meant thicker, heavier papers and much better tips. Although Mum did help when the bike decided it needed a day off. She was a good un, cranking the Fiesta up for an early morning trip on a wet Wednesday. There were times when I used to cover other rounds too.

It was a great time in the summer though, biking round the countryside with my walkman on, taking a break on a seat half way round to read the magazines and getting to know my recipients. But it wasn't so great in the winter.

So I've been around a few other newsagents in the vicinity to see if I could use their services and they had all stopped delivering papers a while ago. Apparently I was one of the lucky ones. Old Bob the newsagent would be turning in his grave.

So that's that then. My tranquility disturbed again. If I want to read a paper in bed on a Sunday morning from now on, I've got to make a slightly longer journey than the one to the bottom of my stairs and back.

It's just not fair.