Mister postman, look and see, have you a hammer in your bag for me?

Do things like this happen to other people? To me they seem normal, but I’m often told they’re not.

A few days ago I left my phone charger round someone’s house, so it was posted back to me. But the postman delivered it at a point in the morning when I was out, so when I got back it was jammed into the letter box, in a parcel. I pushed it one way, then the other, then ripped off the package so only the charger was left, utterly immovable, impervious to any shoving at all. So I tried whacking it out with my cricket bat, but the bat was too big to swing in the area behind the door. Then I remembered my daughter had been given these kiddies’ golf clubs, kiddie size but proper metal ones, as if they were designed for blasting phone chargers that were wedged in letter boxes.

So I chose my club carefully, and could almost hear a commentator mumbling “Ooooo he’s going for the putter – brave choice.” Then I stood by the front door ferociously swinging this thing, but even on the occasions I connected perfectly with the charger it didn’t budge at all (although the sports fanatic in me thought ‘Hmm, I’m pleased with the way I timed that one’).

There’s a moment in a crisis like this one where you panic, and contemplate the consequences if the problem can’t ever be solved. I could get a new charger, but what would I do with the door? How would I get any post? Was there a way this could go that would end up involving the fire brigade? Could it result in the whole street being condemned and all my neighbours being put up in temporary accommodation at a DSS hostel? So I went to the sorting office, where I know all the staff, and they all started laughing. Then someone got the manager and, being a manager, he only giggled politely. But he got a hammer and came to the house where the two of us bashed and shoved the bastard thing, occasionally getting excited because it squeaked a millimetre sideways. Passers-by were infuriatingly English, allowing themselves a puzzled glance, then marching on, perhaps assuming this was an experimental form of anger management called ‘Letter box aggression therapy’.

After about half an hour it surrendered and popped out, probably because all the bashing had increased the size of the letter box by about three square miles. You feel such a moment of triumph in that sort of situation, you want to lie on your back and yell out an exhausted groan like Nadal after the winning point against Federer. “Here you are,” said the manager nonchalantly as he handed me the liberated charger, and he gave me an “I don’t know – honestly” look, as if it was MY fault. But maybe it was. Because perhaps things like that don’t happen to anyone else. I don’t know.

Still, I bet you won’t get service like that if it’s all privatised. Or there’ll be a ‘jammed charger hammer tariff’, or you’ll have to ring a call centre that goes “If the jammed object is perpendicular to the door frame press seven.”

Then a couple of nights ago I was walking home when two local postmen ran out of the pub they were in and yelled across the street “Here Mark, got anything stuck in your letter box mate. Haaaaa haaaaa.” I almost felt like a celebrity.