Getting mail on Tristan

Back on February I wrote a blog post as well as a personal E-mail to ask you all to write to me on Tristan da Cunha. I did not know how successful this plea would be, as my 2013 attempt yielded only two replies (and one of them arrived only after I had already departed the island). Iris Green, the island’s postmistress, was staying with me at Tristan House and she told me that there was a stack of mail waiting for me on the island. She then showed with her hand how high that stack was. I was impatient as a child on Christmas Eve, yet shortly after the post office opened on Monday, October 2, I popped in to claim my mail. Lillie Swain, whom I had danced with during the wedding reception, handed me a large envelope filled with postcards and a few cards and letters. Twenty-seven of you had written. Thank-you. One of you had dated your postcard February 2, just one day after my callout. Some cards were dated as late as June. I am surprised those even arrived.

The ship I was on, the Edinburgh, was also carrying mail and I wondered while sailing over if there might be any mail on it for me. I was in the post office when the mail was unloaded and Caryn Green was sorting it on the counter. I noticed her consult with Iris over something. Then she handed a letter to me. Can you believe it? Not only did I receive a stack of mail that had arrived months before my own arrival on Tristan, I had a letter hand-delivered to me as it was being sorted. When I returned to the post office the following day, three more cards were waiting for me, including two that predated my initial callout. One of these was dated November of last year and one was from this January. Huh? Who’s sending me mail to Tristan months before I even asked for it? And why did it take so long for a postcard dated November 2016 to finally arrive? So far I have received 31 articles of mail. Will more come on later ships?

I am still in the process of writing cards, and I have even sent three packages of souvenirs. It is very cheap to send mail from Tristan. It costs only 35p to send a postcard and 45p to send a greeting card. I have already written more than the 55 cards I sent four years ago. Sadly, two postcard writers who follow my blog forgot to include their mailing addresses. If you wrote to me from Brazil, or if you were the one who wrote to me from Canada in Cyrillic (I can’t tell if it’s Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian or Mongolian, among others) then please send your mailing addresses. I cannot read the Cyrillic postcard, yet the captain and some of the Edinburgh crew are Russian, so I will get a translation on the voyage back to Cape Town.

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