The snow had all sorts of effects here in Scotland (another three inches busy glittering this morning). It closed schools and colleges for several days. It led to "accidents on untreated roads". It led to more "untreated roads". In fact, the road where we live has not yet had a treat.
However, there were some beneficial effects, too. Among these was the free stamps.
Okay, it isn't quite as generous as I make it sound. However, it is a fact that during the snow in December, when postal deliveries were delayed or prevented, many letters, parcels (and Christmas cards) arrived un-franked. (Just occasionally, a dedicated sorting office employee would strike through the stamp in vicious biro).
My mother claims she had one whole delivery of un-franked Christmas cards in Sussex.
I spend a huge amount annually on postage. It used to be about a thousand quid. Now it's nearly two. I live in fear of under-stamping, so quite often I significantly over-stamp. If I post out between one and three pamphlets, it often falls inside the weight category 101–250g, which is 81p second class.
There are no 81p stamps any more. There used to be. I bought the last 100 from our local post office last August.
However, a large-letter second is 51p, and a second-class ordinary size stamp is 32p and I have a lot of those. So often I put 51+32, resulting in 83p -- two pence over-stamped. Hell, what's two pence between close associates?
For its part, the Royal Mail delivers a number of parcels and packets un-franked, so that I can use the stamps again.
Yesterday, for the first time in ages, a whole delivery of mail arrived with ALL THE STAMPS FRANKED! Oh, wait a minute though -- there was one second-class stamp in pristine condition -- the frank had just missed it. I cut it off the envelope and added it to my collection.
Then, out of curiosity, I counted how much I had amassed, in usable stamps, since November.
There were lots of the little gems in my plastic bag: mostly ordinary first and seconds, but a good number of large-letters seconds too, as well as an assortment of others. They amounted to a total of £17.71.
But wait -- last week I re-used all the un-franked, reusable packets I'd collected. One of them was stamped (un-franked) with four x £1.00 stamps plus 4 x 41p. Wahey! They were probably worth about another tenner.
£27.71, then. Reduce, re-use, re-cycle.
One should not look a gift stamp in the mouth.