A letter that's not inviting you for an eye test, or to the dentist, or offering you a credit card, or telling you how much electricity you've used, but a real letter from a friend, with news, just like a rambling chat over a cup of tea?
I'm hard pushed to think of anything more exciting than that.
Over the years, I've written a fair few letters, and received plenty, and they were all thrown haphazardly into a shoe box in a cupboard. This week I decided it was high time they got sorted out.
(this is part of a MUCH bigger sorting-out-of-the-house, which has FAR too much stuff in it, but that's not very interesting, so let's talk about letters instead).
I had a pen pal when I was young, a girl who lived near Newcastle, and was a year or so older than me. I found her through the pen pal section in a magazine when I was about twelve, and we wrote quite a lot (most of her letters, and I suspect mine too, begin with 'sorry I haven't written for so long...). That fizzled out when we were in our late teens I think.
A fair few letters are from friends at school - who I spent all my days with, and some of my evenings, and lived round the corner from - we used to write letters late at night and hand them to each other the next day. They're full of in jokes that I occasionally struggled to remember, Father Ted references (which have just got more funny over the years), and silly little drawings.
Some of the letters are from when I was at university. Friends I haven't thought about for years telling me things I'd forgotten about. Letters from family (including a memorable one from my sister saying something along the lines of 'ok, I admit, I was mean, but you shouldn't have been horrid first because you KNOW I have to do something back'). There's the odd newspaper cutting, bits of gossip about people we knew, and lots of idle chatter about what people were up to.
My grandma and her friend used to send me food parcels, tins of peaches, biscuits, a quarter of chocolate limes. SO exciting to get a parcel in the post, especially when it contains special treat food.
I found a card that came in between parcels from grandma's friend, a very well spoken lady who used to send boxes of Sainsbury's multi coloured pasta (I'd never heard of such extravagance before!) - it used both of my first names (I knew I was in trouble) and said 'a little bird tells me you a yearning for a letter from home. Get a grip! You are at university, not in the trenches!'
That's me told then!
Anyway, they're all nicely bundled up now according to who sent them, and I'm thinking that I need to get on the case with another letter writing campaign. It's so easy to send emails these days, or a quick phone call, and while they're marvellous things, they don't quite beat a letter...
In the meatime, more tea, and a nice home made jam tart by the river in the sunshine.