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Moving the mailbox
This was the mailbox. A standard issue French style letter box atop an old plastic bin because it was just the right height to wedge under the windowsill.
Where the mailbox has been since 1992.
My post person asked me on Tuesday when she saw me if I could put it somewhere more accessible. Apparently, with the exception of parcels, the posties aren't supposed to get out of their yellow post van.
I looked at the letterboxes on the way home, and saw that while most were on the street, most was also not accessible from a vehicle. One was up a bank, the other was across a ditch...
Still, if it helps her then fine. I really do not want La Poste to do something crap like set up a communal postbox or leave mail with random neighbours. That sort of thing is just inviting a world of nonsense when things go missing - and they would. Either intentionally, or otherwise.
Technically I'm supposed to put the letterbox at the boundary of my property. But they back down pretty quickly when I point out that the long access road is actually a public road, it's not my property, and if the letterbox was at the boundary then I could gate the way in and stop random people turning up.
Which, of course, would leave the post person to back up a half kilometre for half the year as either side of the access road is quickly turned to slush by tractors.
So, they come onto my property to deliver the mail, and in return a big tarmac area they can use to turn around.
But, okay... What to do about the letter box?
The obvious thing would be to whack a pole into the ground and mount it on that. The problem is that the property is built directly on schist (proto-slate). When I fitted an earth rod, it took half an hour of whacking the thing to get it down about eight or so inches. It's half out of the ground, so probably not terribly effective, but better than nothing.
It would perhaps take a power drill and some sort of epic attachment to make a hole for the postbox mount. I know my trusty pickaxe won't work. A misadventure failing to plant a tree made that extremely clear...
So, what to do.
I went to the DIY place on the way home and bought some metal rods and bolts. Came to thirty euros, bloody hell.
Anyway, I turned the box upside down and bent the metal into shape. I don't have any tool to cut metal, but if you grab it with pliers and bend it back and forth a bunch of times, it'll break.
A plan is forming.
Having done one, I had to make another. This one is one space shorter as I realised that I didn't need to make the descender quite so long.
They're closer together than I would have liked, but I was using existing holes in the letterbox (made larger so the bolt would pass). There are another set of holes, but they're in the midde at the sides, and that was too wide for what I wanted to do.
You can tell I'm making this up on the go, can't you?
Then I simply flipped the box the right way up, and bolted it to a big plastic planter. In order to spread the weight, I put a bar across on both sides.
Where the mailbox is now.
I'm not entirely convinced the support legs will take much weight... not that there should be much weight over the letterbox itself. Still, if they buckle, the thing is bolted together so I can whip it apart and try something else, like maybe a piece of metal that's a right angle. Though for stuff like that I might need to work out some way of actually cutting metal to the desired size.
I had a little message written on the envelope my paper comes in thanking me for moving the mailbox, so, job done...for now?
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|David Pilling, 26th August 2023, 12:35|
There was a story this week that UPS drivers in the USA were going to get $170K a year, so why would anyone go to college. The answer was that they wear out their joints getting in and out of the van all day.
Obviously you need a system modelled on the old mail trains (which collected and deposited mail at speed) but fit for the 21st century. I'm thinking image recognition using AI, and a big hand on a yellow arm that flies out towards the post van window.
The last photo does not capture the sort of stickyoutness and height, like the things you get in car parks for taking tickets and paying - always tedious getting close but not too close, don't take the wing mirror off.
But yeah - yellow - is there an official mail box colour for France.
It's nothing like that here, always seemed odd how in the movies, in the USA, houses have mail boxes on the street, make the postmen walk.
Not just walk, run the gauntlet, dogs, letter boxes that snap your fingers off, tiny letter boxes... I have a job explaining to Amazon that entry to my neighbours house is via a forbidding and seemingly barred gate.
People don't want letters, bills and bad news, make it difficult to deliver them.
|Rick, 26th August 2023, 17:41|
They wear out their joints getting in and out of the van?
Jeez. I think that would be a simpler job than I'm doing, and it pays a fair bit more.
If we have AI to handle something like that, how long until a postie is killed by a high speed hand firing at the wrong time because <insert lame excuse like sun in the camera here>.
There isn't an official colour, but there is an official size/style and it has to have a specific type of lock (the post person carries a master key) for parcel delivery.
If you can read French (or your browser translates): https://www.laposte.fr/normes-boite-aux-lettres-normalisee
You'll maybe have noticed that I just leave the key in the lock. Well, when one can easily steal the entire box, there doesn't seem much point in keeping the lock secure.
Some people install American style mailboxes (you can get them on Amazon, etc). Whether a postperson uses this or not is entirely up to them. There was a case a few years ago that a postal worker kept leaving mail at the post office (and a note under the door of the house) because they didn't even recognise that it was a postbox! ;)
I quite like the idea of the little flag to say there's mail (could see that on the camera). But, again, out in the country there's the question of potential theft and, well, we don't have crazy laws that allow us to shoot strangers with impunity by claiming "stand my ground" (which is a good thing!).
I want letters, bills, and even bad news. Well, not bad news, but I'd rather a letter than an email.
I've notified my bank, when they sent information about something (I forget what) by email that I habitually delete *all* emails claiming to be from any known bank without reading them. So if there is anything to send me, send it by post.
They don't much like that. They want everything to be done electronic "for the environment" (translation: to increase our profits as letters cost but emails don't). This would, of course, be the same bank that says we shouldn't click random links in emails claiming to be from the bank and then gives us a link to click for further information!
|David Pilling, 26th August 2023, 19:22|
I think yellow mailbox so that no one drives into it - maybe add some retro-reflectors (cat's eyes).
The flag - electronic version - ESP project, sense the arrival of mail, and signal via WiFi, Bluetooth etc to the house. No visible flag.
Having a standard key/box was a bright idea in the UK, never took off - they improvise - put parcels in bins, behind objects etc etc
|Jonathan Harston, 26th August 2023, 23:24|
In last year's elections I tracked down a few more locations in my leafleting round. One was a farmhouse down a long track behind a little converted stable block.
So, I walk down this track, through a gate, down more track, through another gate, down more track... looking for a letterbox somewhere. It took me a good ten minutes to get to the farmhouse, where I saw somebody working in the yard.
"Hello, just delivering a leaflet" I said.
"There's a postbox by the gate" replies he.
"Oh. Which gate? I didn't see one."
"The first gate. It's a lock box. The postman has a key."
I give hime the leaflet and track back along the track to leaflet the stable block, looking for the box. It was there, next to the very first gate I went through. It was *literally* a lockbox. As in a locked box, where the only way to deliver anything into it was by unlocking it. No wonder I hadn't found a post box, it wasn't a post box! There was no slot or anything to post stuff through. It was literally a plastic tub on the ground with a sealed locked lid.
On my second leaflet drop after I'd done the stable block, I had another look at at. I spotted that the plastic was slightly warped - just slightly enough that there was a leaflet-thickness-sized gap between the lid and the box. So, leaflet delivered. :)
|C Ferris, 27th August 2023, 10:03|
I wonder if Rick road tested his positioning of his letter box with his car.
|Rick, 27th August 2023, 21:15|
I like how you're implying that actual testing took place. 😂
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Last read at 02:00 on 2023/09/26.
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