I have ordered a new pair of wellies from Amazon for the daily walk to school. My current hardly-at-all-old pair has developed a fissure along one toe. I only noticed this when I was wading along the stream that flows brownly past bobbing Argos bags en route to the afternoon pick up, and I was not pleased. They are a glamorous pair with pink spots and white swirls, bought to ease my daughter's pain in ackowledging a wellie-wearing, stream-paddling mother in public.
I now distrust wellies with spots and swirls, so order a safe-looking green pair. Better to be waterproof than glamorous. Royal Mail gets them as far as my door, thrusts through a 'Sorry you were out' card, and promptly loses them. Amazon is sympathetic and dispatches a replacement pair. This also makes it to my door and again a card is left. This time I decide to pick them up in person from the Royal Mail depot.
The man behind the glass screen makes off with my delivery card and probably has a cup of tea and a nice sit down because it is a long time before he returns. He looks cheerful. 'We've lost them,' he says. I suggest that they might be keeping company with my first vanished pair. The man gazes at me amused. 'What would you be wanting them for anyway?' he giggles. Evidently he suspects kama sutra with a sack of John Innes.
He shuffles off for another look - or another reviving beverage. I realise that a queue has built up behind me and am embarrassed, but to my surprise they beam contentedly back at me. 'It's not wellie good, is it?' says an elderly man. 'I think they ought to give it some wellie!' pipes up another. This one could clearly run and run which is just as well because the Royal Mail official is evidently now enjoying full afternoon tea. Eventually he returns, still chortling, and tells me that the parcel is thoroughly missing, but that I can write out a form and I might get some stamps instead.
I go home and tell Amazon that a certain London postman seems to have a rubber fetish. Amazon, apparently accustomed to this, sends an unquestioning refund and advises me to buy my wellies from a shop. And so I do and now all is well, except that my once jovial encounters with my postie now make me blush.