You should have mail

Letterboxes can say a lot about a neighbourhood. Clearly the people in this set of units don’t like the person in unit four and relocate their junk mail accordingly.
Letterboxes can say a lot about a neighbourhood. Clearly the people in this set of units don’t like the person in unit four and relocate their junk mail accordingly.

SOME might think letterboxes have become redundant, what with the rise in use of modern electronic mail programs like Twitface and GoogleTube, but that’s not necessarily the case.

People still need to receive their mail in something. How else would we be able to get the parcel of 58 watch batteries we bought off GumBay’s List for $2, or know that we’d won $5000 dollars within those yellow envelopes from Readers Digest?

What I’d really like to see is letterboxes in backyards. It’s been part of my Backyard Letterbox Campaign (BLC) that’s been running since 1998.

I enlisted some big names to help promote it as well, like Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz and former Family Feud host, Rob Brough.

Even though I “enlisted” them (ie. used their name in promotional materials) they never had any actual involvement. Might I just add though that Cameron Diaz has a very courteous lawyer.

Anyway, the idea behind backyard letterboxes is to draw the community together. As we all know, the mailman/woman, postie or letter-dude is the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood.

What a wonderful thing it would be if they were able to pop around the back of a house to personally deliver a bill?

They’d stop for a chat or pat the dog or even feed your budgerigar while you’re away.

The scheme has real merit, albeit “plagued with privacy and logistical issues”, as Australia Post put it in their official response letter to me.

In the meantime while our letterboxes are still out the front they could do with some serious renovations.

The letterbox renovation market is huge in Europe but relatively unknown down under. In Australia, we disregard our letterboxes as something to be laughed at or as a novelty item.

Here are few things you can do to liven up your paper communications reciprocal unit.

  • Think Outside the Letterbox:

    Fridges, wooden boxes, microwaves, cream cans- they’ve all been done to death as letterboxes. Think really broad: grandma’s ashes urn, a crocodile skull, a Tupperware container, the glovebox out of a car, an Apple iMac G3- all these things make truly eye-catching letterboxes.

  • Home Sculpted:
  • t’s a known fact that all postal workers are collectors and admirers of art so a hand-sculpted letterbox is really going to win you some postie points. Grab a chisel and some ice, ivory, coal, petrified wood, rock salt, opal, jelly, ballistics gel or any other common household material and get sculpting. Don’t forget your house number.

  • Security First:

    There are few things more annoying than heading out to collect that William and Kate collectible Franklin Mint commemorative plate only to find it’s been flogged. Padlocks can be a visual deterrent to mail thieves but I’d advise going further. A combination of thumbprint coding, retina scan and 64-number combination lock will give greater piece of mind. Moving the letterbox to a different position each day will also throw would-be thieves off the trail, although you may find your mail simply dumped over the fence from a fed-up postie.

  • Living Mailboxes:

    One of the new waves of letterbox fashion to come out southern France this year is living mailboxes. French homeowners are quickly taking to securing a small box on the back of their pets so as they are always on the move and can be retrieved by simply calling out for Fido or Trixie. Some rural property owners may consider attaching a length of PVC in-between their prize bull’s horns or to the udder of a slow moving cow. Again, the patience of the mail person may be tested but if they truly value their job, they’ll go the extra mile for you.

    Remember to join the Backyard Letterbox Campaign and let’s Aussie letterboxes as iconic as meat pies, Steve Irwin, kangaroos and Centrelink.

  • Tip of the Month: Though difficult to source, bunyip manure makes terrific lawn top dressing. Sensational!

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  • DISCLAIMER: The information within this column is of a satirical nature and therefore the advice within should not be heeded. All views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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    Better Backyards with Gherkin JarvisSelf-proclaimed gardening expert and carpet enthusiast, Gherkin Jarvis, brings you his thoughts on Australia’s great lifestyle tradition, the backyard.


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