When I was a kid my absolute favourite book was the Jolly Postman. I'd spend hours opening the little envelopes, examining the contents and then putting them neatly back inside to rediscover another day. Sat in the children's play area of The Postal Museum I flicking through the same book made me feel glowy inside.
With Claire, Paddy, Phoebe and Rory
Claire is a friend I've stolen from my friend Lucy. When we were small they were both in the class below me so I never really knew her well but over the years, through Lucy, we got to know each other. She's one of the most genuine people I know and Paddy is her lovely hubby.
There's something romantic about post, the fact that every envelope or parcel holds something important, something worth sending, worth packaging up and taking to the post office. I wonder how many of the text messages we type would seem worth sending if we had to go through that process.
The Postal Museum captures that magic really beautifully. It has a very carefully curated mix of facts and artefacts to pique the interest of adults and things to press and fiddle with low down for the minis (although we had a go too.) It tells the story through the years, how posties brought the news of deaths during the war, how postage was so expensive in the early days people wrote both ways across the paper to decrease the weight and we saw a 5 wheeled basketed post bike that I think would have struggled to carry my Amazon parcels.
After the museum we hit the kids play area, a mini town for the children to sort, move and deliver packages and letters. Not being an aficionado of these things I asked for Claire's feedback, 'The soft play section was genuinely brilliant. Much more interesting and creative than a bog standard one. It was well laid out, not overcrowded and the kids loved posting letters, sorting parcels, pushing trolleys and going down a properly fast slide. The little uniforms to put on were a really good touch and I think it had a lot for both tiny ones and older children.'
Then, and here's the bit I was most excited about, we set off for Rail Mail, the postal train! A fun little trip on a tiny train through the tunnels with projected stories that left the kids spellbound. If i could have imprinted their expressions on my brain (or got my camera to focus in the dark) I'd replay it whenever I feel a bit jaded.
All in all a really fun day for children and wannabe children of all ages.
Buy tickets for The Postal Museum here.
'The stupid thing is that I have been excited about coming to this museum since it opened, and really love trains. But if we hadn’t got this invitation from you, I don’t imagine we would have pulled our finger out and found a time to do it. A real reminder of the value of doing something new.' Paddy.