This morning we have had a number of things to do …
Among these payments …
Pagate al ufficio postale …(please pay at the Post Office, was the raccomandazione).
There must surely be a universal selection law about the Post Office employees at the counters.
Take the lady and her colleague and their manager at Muizenberg Post Office.
They cannot be nicer …
The lady knows how our sales go … I have not seen you for a while, she might say if we have not shipped off to online clients: most of our Hot Box sales are wholesale, but she keeps an eye on our online counter to counter.
Or … you are moving your Hot Boxes like hot cakes, if I get there frequently.
There are always the jokes …
Same here at the Ufficio Postale.
You want to pay this, she asks? Incredulously … but her eyes twinkle!
Have you figured out yet why the Government makes us pay this!? No, neither have I, she chirps, not waiting for an answer.
Just before that we had sat in a very short queue, thankfully.
One lady sitting, a man standing, in the ‘position’.
It was easy to figure out the ‘ultimo’.
The man goes forward as it is now his turn, I need some information he asks, should I come back another day?
He is very gentile, he does not want to hold us up!
No, no, come now, our cheerful lady at the counter says, post office workers the world around share the same cheerful DNA …
Oh no, too helpful I think … goodness knows how long this will take – but they emerge quickly from their confabulation.
The red haired lady next to us is friendly too, with some comical comments to make about government service in general.
The Longobards, who swept in after the Romans, had blue eyes, but her hair must be Celtic, same like the original Britons who were indigenous to the British Isles before the Romans arrived, and then left.
There was a wave of Celts in all these areas, long ago … the frozen ancient man they found in the glacier somewhere north of us when it melted was one of them.
The original Britons are not the descendants of the Angles and Saxons, those came wave after wave across the Channel preceded by the Vikings once the Romans were no longer there to protect the Britons.
Some of the Britons crossed the Channel to Brittany in France to escape the Angles and Saxons after the Romans left … the Romanized Britons had pleaded that they stay.
I always wondered about the origins of that name, Brittany … I even thought that it had a connection to Britain but historical accounts (the history I grew up with) may have sought to omit that inconvenient fact.
Our receptionist back home has red hair and freckles, Celtic, an original Briton but she thinks she is English.
You [the Romans] occupied us for centuries, she tells me accusingly. She has a spirit and wit to go along with it …
I tried to explain but she will not hear about the Angles and Saxons whose descendants still occupy Britannia.
I was in France in October 2007 at a bed and breakfast waiting to catch the plane the next day back to South Africa.
A group of Welsh arrived …
We, the Springboks that is, had just won the rugby world cup.
You played well too, I said to them, to be friendly … naively so!
No, no, that is not us, that is the English you beat, and we are so happy that the Springboks beat them!
So there was one of my pivotal and fundamental encounters with the original Britons!
It is the case that our receptionist has not forgiven me for Boadicea, but she is right about that … with her freckles and red hair it was her queen that the Romans subdued …
She has the last word when I phone in and speak in Italian to tease her: have you already forgotten your English she says!
British humour is still the best …