by Robert Williams

"Des, why are you so late!!" snapped Mrs Greasy in the cafe one morning. "Everyone else has been here ages!!"

"Sorry, Mrs G, but the bus was late again today!!" said Des.

"The bus?!?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "What are you going on the bus for?!"

"Because I haven't got a car at the moment!!" said Des. "Mike the Manic Mechanic's sold my Fiat 126 to Trendy Tracy and now they've gone on honeymoon for two weeks so I can't do anything about getting it back!!"

"But you only live up the road!!" exclaimed Mrs G. "Surely even you can manage to walk that short distance!!"

"Ah," said Des, "but I thought if I went on the bus, it might never turn up at all, and then I wouldn't have to come here!"

"You are completely bonkers," said Mrs Greasy.

"So what am I going to do?!" exclaimed Des. "I can't keep going on the bus all the time!! Not for two whole weeks!!!"

"Buy a new car then, for goodness sake!!" exclaimed Mick.

"I've told you before, I don't like these modern cars," said Des. "The only car I'm interested in is a 31 year-old 652cc Fiat 126!! What I need to do, is find a job which comes with a vehicle. Just for a couple of weeks, that's all."

"Oh no," groaned Mick.

"Anyway, I've got to go," said Des. "'Postman Pat's on now...wait, that's it!! I'll become a postman!!"

He rushed home to set his video to record 'Postman Pat', and then went straight to the job centre to see if they had any vacancies for postmen in the local area. Luckily for him, and the rest of this story, they did.

"I don't know how you manage it, Des," said Mick, when Des got the job. "For someone who hates getting up early in the morning, you seem to have a remarkable knack of getting yourself jobs that require you to get up early in the morning. First a milkman...then a a postman!!"

"You have to get up early in the morning?!" said Des. "Oh no, have I gone and done it again?! Hey, I'll tell you what I'll do!!"

"Oh no, don't tell me you're going to store all the letters up and then wait till the evening before delivering them, thereby having the side-effect of missing Dickie the Vicar's disco?" said Mick.

"Hey, that's a good idea, Mick!" said Des. "You do come up with some fantastic ideas sometimes, I don't know how you do it!!"

Of course, Mick was simply recalling what Des had done when he done when he spent a day as a milkman.

"Yes, it's a great idea, if you want to get the sack on your second day," said Mick.

"I would think I'd want to be getting the sack first thing on my first day!!" said Des. "Obviously!! Anyway, I've got a better idea. I'll change all my clocks!!"

Des found out that in order to start his job on time, he'd have to get up at 6.00 in the morning. So he put all his clocks four hours forward. Then he went to Dickie the Vicar's disco.

"Evening Des, nice to see ya!!" said Dickie, greeting Des as he walked into the church hall.

"Hello Dickie," said Des. "Hello Mick," he said to Mick who had also just arrived.

"I've got a fabbo disco lined up for you all tonight!!" said Dickie. "It's gonna be the bee's knees!!"

"Good grief, is that the time?!" exclaimed Des, looking at his watch. "It's 11.30!!!" It was, of course, in fact only 7.30, and the disco had barely got under way.

"Blimey!" said Dickie. "Well, you know what they say, time flies when you're having fun!! I'd better let you go!!"

Des grinned, and walked straight out again. Mick got up to walk out too, but was stopped by Dickie.

"Mick, where are you going?!?!" exclaimed Dickie. "The disco's only just getting started!! IT'S TIME TO PARTY!!!"

Mick groaned and sat down again.

Des was awoken by his clock radio the next morning as always. However despite the fact that it said 10.00, it was still dark outside, and instead of it being Ken Bruce on the radio, it was Sarah Kennedy, who Des had never heard of. Then he remembered he had to get up to start his new job as a postman.

After nibbling a bit of breakfast, he got on the early morning bus to the local sorting office where his new boss, Postman Pete, presented Des with his uniform. Once Postman Des was kitted out in his gear, Postman Pete showed him to his transport.

"A bicycle?!?!?!?!" exclaimed Postman Des in disgust. "Don't I get a van?!?! Postman Pat had a van!!"

"Postman Pat is a fictional character!!" exclaimed Postman Pete, who already was starting to get agitated by Des.

"You're joking!!" exclaimed Postman Des.

Postman Pete presented Des with a bag full of letters and parcels to deliver and told him to be on his way.

"Oh dear," said Postman Des, getting onto the bicycle. Wobbling all over the place, he pedalled the bicycle out of the sorting office and along the road. He hadn't got very far before the post bag fell off, and all the letters fell out.

"Oh botherations," said Postman Des, gathering up the letters and sticking them back in the bag. "I hope I haven't mixed them all up or something!!"

By this time, it was daylight, and thankfully, it didn't take too long for Postman Des to get the hang of riding the bicycle. As he rode it along the pavement, he took the first letter out of the bag.

"25 Oakleigh Avenue," said Postman Des, reading the address. "Hey, I know where that is, that's my street!! In fact, it's Clive's house!!"

He rode the bicycle round to his street and cycled up the pavement, where Clive was running towards him on his early morning jog.

"Hey, watch out Clive!!!" shouted Postman Des.

"Oi, watch it Des!!" exclaimed Clive, narrowly missing Postman Des. "Don't you know it's against the law to ride on the pavement unless it's a designated cycle path?!?!"

"You mean I'm supposed to ride on the road?!" said Postman Des. "Sounds a bit dangerous!!"

"What on earth are you doing up this early anyway?!" said Clive. "You're never up at 6.45 in the morning!!"

"I'm your new postman," said Postman Des. "(And it's actually 10.45). Hey Clive, I've got a letter for you!! Looks like an electricity bill to me. Think it's going to be a big one for you!!"

"It's your job to deliver my post, not to comment on it!!" said Clive. "I'll take it now."

"Oh no you don't!!" exclaimed Postman Des, holding the letter away from him. "This has to be delivered through your letter box, otherwise it doesn't count!!"

"Jobsworth," muttered Clive. He continued on his way.

Once Postman Des had delivered Clive's letter, he took the next letter out of the bag.

"Fairfield Street?!" said Postman Des. "But that's all the way over the other side of town!!"

Shrugging his shoulders, he pedalled all the way over to Fairfield Street and delivered the letter. Then he took the third letter out of the bag. "23 Oakleigh Avenue?! Oh great, now I've got to go all the way back over there again!!"

And so Postman Des pedalled all the way back to Oakleigh Avenue. By now Postman Des was getting very tired out. It was already 8.00 (midday by his watch) and he had still only delivered three letters. He looked into the bag, and there were still seemingly hundreds of letters and parcels still to deliver.

"Cor, this is going to take all day!!" said Postman Des.

By 10.30, he was still only a quarter of the way through his deliveries, and he was back in Oakleigh Avenue for the eighteenth time. Just then his mobile phone rang.

"Oh no, who could that be?!" groaned Postman Des. Whilst continuing to ride the bicycle down the pavement with one hand on the handlebars, he answered his phone.

"Des, where are you?!" snapped Mrs Greasy.

"Bit late for you isn't it, it's 2.30 in the afternoon!" said Postman Des, temporarily taking the other hand off the handlebars to look at his watch.

"I don't care what time it is, I want you here in this cafe now!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.

"Mrs G, I can't, I've got a job to do ..." said Postman Des. Suddenly he noticed PC Plod riding along the road on his own bicycle. "Oh no, it's against the law to ride on the pavement, I'm supposed to be riding on the road!!"

With one hand on his telephone, the other on the handlebars, Postman Des attempted to ride off the pavement and onto the road. Unfortunately, this proved to be no mean feat for a novice cyclist like Des, and instead he managed to ride it into a lamp post.

"Whoops!!" said Postman Des, getting up from off the ground. He was unhurt - but the same couldn't be said for his bicycle, which was completely mangled. "Oh no!!! What's Postman Pete going to say?!?! It's only my first day and I've already wrecked the transport!!"

"Des!! Des!!" shouted Mrs G through his mobile phone.

"Oh shush, Mrs Greasy!" said Postman Des, switching it off. "Now what am I going to do? If only someone would conveniently happen to be walking along the road and offer a solution..."

Just then Dickie the Vicar, who conveniently happened to be walking along the road, came up to him.

"Good morning Postman Des, what's the problem?!" said Dickie.

"Good afternoon Dickie the Vicar," said Postman Des. "I've crashed my bicycle!!"

"Oh dear, what a pity," said Dickie. "May I offer a solution to your problem? I've got a bicycle you could use!!"

"Excellent!!" said Postman Des, rubbing his hands in delight. He picked up his post bag and the two of them walked over to the church hall.

"I keep it in this shed," said Dickie, taking Postman Des round the back of the church hall.

"How long can I borrow it for?" said Postman Des. "When do you need it back?!"

"Oh, it's very old, I don't even use it any more," said Dickie. "You can keep it if you like!!"

"Excellent!!" said Postman Des. "Postman Pete might never even notice..."

Dickie unlocked the shed door and they walked inside.

"Or maybe he will," said Postman Des, when he saw Dickie the Vicar's old bicycle. "What on earth is that?!?!"

"It's a penny farthing!!" said Dickie the Vicar. A penny farthing was a bicycle with a large front wheel and a small rear wheel. "They were very popular in Victorian times!!"

"When you were young," said Postman Des.

"That's right!" said Dickie.

"How am I supposed to get on it?!" said Postman Des. The seat was mounted at the top of the large wheel, and you couldn't just get on it like a normal bicycle.

"Try this!" said Dickie. He brought over a stepladder. Postman Des walked up the steps and mounted the ancient bicycle. "Now all you have to do is pedal like a normal bicycle!!"

Since the penny farthing evidently hadn't been used for decades, the pedals were a bit stiff, and in fact the whole bicycle was a bit rusty, but it wasn't long before Des had managed to get it going.

"Surprisingly, this is actually easier to ride than a normal bike!!" said Postman Des, riding out of the shed. "See you later Dickie!!"

"See ya at the disco!!" said Dickie.

"Probably not!!" said Postman Des. "Now where's the next delivery to..." He rummaged in the post bag which he had now balanced on his lap. "Oh just my luck...Mrs Greasy's cafe."

Mick and Clive were sitting inside Mrs Greasy's cafe when Des drew up outside on his penny farthing.

"Good grief," muttered Clive when he looked out of the window. "I know when you come to this place it feels like you're going back in time, but this is ridiculous!"

"Come on, there's only one person daft enough to buy a penny farthing," sighed Mick.

They waited for Des to walk inside and proclaim that he had bought a penny farthing. They waited...and waited... But still the penny farthing remained parked outside. Eventually they gave up waiting and went outside to have a look.

"Hello!!" said Postman Des, still sitting on the penny farthing. "I knew you'd all come out eventually!! I've got a letter for you, Mrs Greasy!!"

"Well aren't you coming inside?!" said Mrs Greasy.

"No, I'm fine up here thanks!" said Postman Des. In fact, he had not yet figured out a way of getting off the bicycle. Or, for that matter, how to get back on it again without a stepladder. "Here's your post!!" He passed the letter down to Mrs Greasy, and then cycled off.

"Cor, the cheek of it!!" said Mrs Greasy. "I've got some lovely black pudding standing by for him!! Oh well, you'll have to have it instead, Mick."

Mick grimaced.

By the end of the day, Postman Des had finally managed to deliver all of his letters, having received a lot of strange looks along the way. Since it was too much bother for him to keep getting on and off the bicycle, he had ended up just dumping everyone's post outside the front doors. He rode his penny farthing home, where he leapt off it, and left it in his drive where used to live his Fiat 126 before Mike the Manic Mechanic sold it to Trendy Tracy.

Des was awoken once again the next morning at what was really 6.00, but 10.00 by his clocks. After breakfast, he put his postman's uniform on again and left the house. Still not wanting to admit that he had crashed his original bicycle, his plan was to take the bus to the sorting office, collect his post, get the bus home again and then continue his deliveries on his penny farthing.

However, when Postman Des arrived at the sorting office, his boss Postman Pete had a few questions for him.

"Postman Des, exactly what time did you actually finish your deliveries?" he asked.

"Ummm..." said Postman Des.

"And where did you leave your bicycle? We can't find it anywhere!!"


"Look, I haven't got time for your umming and erring now, we've got a busy day ahead," said Postman Pete. "Postman Matt has called in sick, so we need you to cover his round as well as your own."

"Oh no," groaned Des, seeing as yesterday it had taken him all day just to do his own round.

"But that does mean you get to take the van," said Postman Pete.

"YES!!!" exclaimed Postman Des. Postman Pete took him round to the van. But Postman Des still didn't look totally happy.

"Now what?!" exclaimed Postman Pete.

"Don't I get a cat?!" said Postman Des. "Like Postman Pat?!"

Postman Pete slapped his hand across his face.

"No you don't, now be on your way!!"

Postman Des drove along the road in his post office van, humming the 'Postman Pat' theme tune to himself.

"Postman Des, Postman Des, Postman Des and his..." He looked at the empty seat behind him. "And his nothing. This isn't right, I need a cat!! And I know just where I can find one..."

Postman Des drove his van back to his house where, surprise, surprise, Clive's cat was sitting in his garden.

"What's the point in Clive having a cat when it spends all of its time in my garden?!" said Postman Des. He peered at the cat. "Trouble is, it's the wrong colour. I need a black-and-white cat...not a tabby... Hmmm...I've got some spare paint in the, Clive might not like that... Cats can be a nuisance anyway...what would be better, would be for someone to dress up like a black-and-white cat... Now who would be stupid enough to agree to that..."

"'Allo Des, it's yer ol' mate Wayne 'ere!!" said Wayne, poking his head through the window (luckily, it was wound down at the time).

"Wayne!" grinned Postman Des. "How do you feel about a trip to the fancy dress shop?"

"BRILLIANT!!!" exclaimed Wayne. He got into the van.

"Hey, Des!!" said Clive, rushing out of his house having spied the post office van parked out in the street. But it was too late - Postman Des and Wayne had already driven off to the fancy dress shop.

Before long, Postman Des was driving along the road in his post van, with Wayne dressed in a black-and-white cat costume, sat alongside him.

"At last!" said Postman Des. "I have achieved perfection!!" Then he looked across at Wayne, who was sitting next to him, grinning his face off. "Well, as close to perfection as I'm ever likely to get."

"MEIOWWWW!!!" exclaimed Wayne. "Are we gonna deliver yer letters then?!?!"

"Yes, in due course," said Postman Des. "But first of all, now I've actually got some proper transport, there's a few important things I need to do first. Wayne, we're going to Sainsbury's."

Postman Des spent the day doing all of the shopping that he had been needing to do for a while, dumping it all in the back of the van. He also used it to take some old junk down the tip. As they drove back from the tip, Des's mobile phone rang. As it is, of course, illegal to use your mobile phone while driving, Postman Des asked Wayne to answer it.

"MEIOWWWW!!" said Wayne, answering the phone.

"Wayne, is Des there?!" said Clive, for it was he. "I need to speak to him urgently!!"

"MEIOWWWW!!" said Wayne.

"For goodness sake, Wayne, pass the phone to Des!!" said Clive.

"MEIOWWWW!!" said Wayne.

"I want to know what time he thinks it is!!" said Clive.

"'Ere Des, Clive wants to know the time!" said Wayne.

"Strange, hasn't he got any clocks at his house?!" said Postman Des. "I'm not the speaking clock, you know!!" He looked at his watch. "It's 8.20." In reality, of course, it was 4.20.

"It's 8.20!!" said Wayne to Clive.

"Look, just tell him to hurry up delivering my post!!" said Clive. "I'm expecting some tickets for a concert I'm going to tonight, so I need them urgently!!" He rang off.

"What was all that about?!" said Postman Des.

"Dunno," said Wayne. "MEIOWWW!!!"

Eventually Postman Des finished driving around doing all the things he needed to do. He drove the van home and parked it in his drive.

"Now I'm sure there was one other thing I had to do," said Postman Des, as they got out of the van. "I think it was quite what could it have been..."

"Deliver the post!!" said Wayne.

"That's it!!" said Postman Des. He opened the doors to the van, and saw not only all his shopping, but also saw the bags of letters still waiting to be delivered. "Oh no, there's so much there. I'm so tired, I've been up early two days in a row, I just want to sit down and have a rest!"

"I'll do it!!" said Wayne, still bursting with energy.

"Well..." said Postman Des thoughtfully. "Okay then." All he had to do was deliver the letters to the addresses on the envelopes - surely even Wayne couldn't mess this up?

Just as Wayne, still dressed as a cat, had driven off in the van, Clive appeared in Des's driveway. He didn't look very happy.

"WHERE'S MY POST?!?!?!" exclaimed Clive.

"Wayne's just gone to deliver it," said Postman Des. "I'm sure he'll get round to your post in an hour or two."

"It doesn't matter now, it's too late!!" exclaimed Clive. "I'll never make it to the concert now anyway!!" He stormed off.

"What concert?!" said Postman Des. "Oh, whatever." He went inside to have a rest, like he said he would, safe in the knowledge that Wayne was getting all the post delivered.

The next morning, Des arose early once again. He drove the van over to the sorting office to begin his third days' work. As he made his way there he remembered that he hadn't cleared all of his shopping out of the back yet. When he got there, Postman Pete did not look in the least bit happy.

"Morning Postman Pete, how's it going?" said Postman Des.

"Would you like to explain exactly what you have been up to?!" exclaimed Postman Pete.

"Oh, you know, this and that, delivering a bit of post, you know the kind of thing," said Postman Des.

"I have received reports that last night, households across your round received items such as frozen peas, fish fingers and squashed packets of chocolate biscuits through their letterboxes!" said Postman Pete.

"How strange," said Postman Des. "Nothing to do with me!!"

"An individual dressed in a black-and-white cat costume was seen pushing these items through people's letterboxes," continued Postman Pete, "and an individual matching the same description was also seen driving a post office van with the same registration as this one!"

"Oh!" said Postman Des. He opened the doors of the van and was alarmed to find that all of his shopping had vanished. All that was left was all the post that had still to be delivered. "WAYNE!!!!"

"Postman Des," said Postman Pete. "I have no option but to give you the sack."

"Oh good," said Postman Des. "I'm looking forward to another day's work. For a moment there I thought you were going to give me the...oh..."

Des went home on the bus.

"Darn, there's still a week-and-a-half before Mike the Manic Mechanic gets back," he said to himself. "What am I going to do till then?" Then he noticed the penny farthing that he still had sitting in his drive. "Actually...things might not be that bad after all..."

Copyright © Robert Williams

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