The Correos….again

The Correos….again

I had a little episode with the postal system, the Correos, last year. I’ve been at it again.

I have a parcel to post to Scotland. A long story attaches to the contents of this parcel. In brief, one of my handwoven items, conceived and partly manufactured in Scotland, has come all the way to Spain to be finished and now must find its way back! Something about timing and efficiency needs looking at in the Aitchison system, don’t you think?

In any case, having completed the item and got it wrapped up – to which another long story attaches but I’ll spare you – it has been ready for posting these last 3 days. I set out yesterday morning at about 10 am into the village to take it to the post office there. Now, Bedar is a higgledy-piggledy sort of village clinging to the hillside, and its web of lanes and alleys, even those with names, are difficult to follow. Despite having its own special sign, the Correos is hard to find. I was beginning to lose heart (and breath) as I clambered up alleys and down stairways to no avail. Eventually, I met a couple of seemingly ancient women and asked them if they could point out the Oficina de Correos. One of them, a tiny, wizened woman of at least 95, smiled a toothless smile and offered to show me the way as she was walking in that direction herself. Off we set exchanging a few words until we came again to the Correos sign and she pointed along the lane and said I should go right up to the end and I would find it beside the colegio. I bid her a thankful “Adios” and continued on my way.

En route, I passed just below Bedar’s only grocery shop, modest but with aspirations; ‘Supermercado’ is emblazoned over the door. I needed essential supplies so I decided to drop in to save a detour on the way back from the Correos. Loaded up now with the as yet un-posted parcel (light but bulky), 3 litres of water and a green pepper, I reckoned it would be prudent to confirm the route to the Correos, so I enquired of the Señora. She said, yes, I was heading in the right direction but I would not find it open until about 1 pm and then only till about 2. Grrr! Sure enough, when I got to the Correos and checked the sign, opening hours are 13.15-13.45 Monday to Friday, yes, that’s just half an hour each weekday. Harrumph.

The posting of my parcel was becoming urgent as I had already lost time in tracking down the wherewithal to wrap it. So back I went into the village at just after 1 pm. Sure enough the Correos was open and the Postie, clad in her uniform of sunny yellow shirt and royal blue trousers, strong arms, wide, kindly face, was ready to help. It would definitely be advisable, she said, to send my parcel ‘registrado y express’, otherwise who knows how long it will take to get to Scotland what with all the security checks on parcels and freight at the airport. Yes, that would definitely be best but no, she couldn’t do that from here. I would have to take my parcel to a bigger Oficina de Correos in Vera or Garrucha – open from 8 am to midday!

The Correos in Vera was the scene of last year’s little episode. I had not been impressed then with its potential responsiveness to situations of postal urgency such as the one confronting me today. So I returned there this morning with a sense of foreboding lest Captain Correos (as I called him back then), the high priest of postal processing and administration, would be on duty again, fearing that we might become reacquainted over the at least a quarter of an hour, or however long it would take for his finely honed skills to secure the dispatch of my parcel.

Gadzooks – he was not to be seen! A day off, perhaps? A promotion, relocation, retirement or……? In any case, there’s been a change of personnel, for sure. Step up a highly efficient woman with wonderfully enunciated Spanish to take me through all the options and, within a few minutes, the deal was sealed, the deed was done, the parcel is gone: Registrado, Express y con Urgencia! That should do the trick.