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It's been a while since you heard from me, so it's safe to assume that I'm still in England, rather than gallivanting around more exotic climes. That said, the weather's been fantastic: lots of sun and temperatures hovering around the 30-degree mark. I've got the best tan I've had for ages, so no complaints here. I've been busy since my return in May...too busy to write? Hmmm, well, it would appear so, wouldn't it? Sorry, dear reader; I shall attempt to amend my errant ways. Let's call this part one, shall we?

So, what have I been up to? Well once the "welcome home" hugs had been dispensed, and I'd got used to sleeping in a nice, clean, comfortable bed, I began my search for work. Would you believe that just two days after I returned, I had applied for my first job? Even more surprising to some was my choice of job - I put in for a delivery job with the Royal Mail. Now when you consider that a) I am not very good at getting up in the morning; b) grumpy when I do get up; c) have an atrocious sense of direction; d) not terribly keen on dogs, especially since I got bitten; e) clumsy...I could go may agree that it was a strange thing to apply for. In my head I imagined myself strolling around quiet streets in the sunshine, listening to the birds tweeting and keeping fit in the process.

Wanting to hedge my bets, I visited the local Job Centre (wearing a suit...they looked at me as if I was insane), and found a few other possibilities. It was my first visit to a job centre, but I found it entertaining - especially when a fight broke out - good old Dover! Anyway it was the postie position that finally came through. I was invited to an assessment in Canterbury a few weeks later. Thirteen people had been asked to attend, competing for six casual positions. Only four people managed to arrive by the appointed time, and, as the manager ushered us upstairs, he told the guy on reception to send anyone else away; was I glad that I managed to turn up on time for once!

So then we were four...only one of the chaps - a French man with little English - hadn't filled out his application booklet, so he was sent away with his tail between his legs. Four becomes three, and so we move to the actual assessment: first a maths test - oh goody! Sad bunny that I am, I love maths, and had actually been looking forward to the assessment because I knew there was a test involved. This was followed by a multiple-choice sorting test - which address goes in which postcode. They sent the three of us away while they marked the tests, and then called the two men in, leaving me sitting there wondering if I'd done something horribly wrong. But no - the opposite, in fact: I was the only person to go through to the interview stage! From thirteen to one. I'm afraid I left there with a rather smug feeling.

Administrative procedure being what it is, things dragged on for over a month, but now, as of Tuesday, I am officially a postman...or should that be postwoman? Let's stick with postie, shall we? It's just a casual position at the moment, a thirteen-week contract, but we'll see how it goes. There may be the chance of making it more permanent...if I like it; if I can manage to turn up on time; if I don't get my hand bitten off by a vicious mutt; if I don't get horribly lost on my rounds; if I don't slip on wet leaves and break an get the picture.

At least my potty mouth shouldn't get me into trouble in this job: I'm the only female on deliveries, along with 80-odd men. I'm a bit of a novelty at the moment, and the kind chaps have made me many a cup of coffee, bless 'em. Gaz, who's been teaching me the ropes, says they're a bit subdued at the moment, but will liven up once they get used to me - it was surprising to hear that, as the noise in the morning as everyone sorts the mail is nigh-on deafening! I've spent the last three days following Gaz around, but Saturday will see me let loose on the public. I'll let you know how I get on.

Of course it's not all been searching for work; there's been play too, but I'll leave that for another day.


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