17th October 2008

One of our highlights every day is seeing the little yellow La Poste van scuttling down our lane. The lady who drives it zooms up to our gate-side green postbox at 10.30 a.m. six days a week without fail, giving us a cheery wave as she posts something mysterious for us. Our driveway, like our life, is a long and winding one so it's always good exercise to walk down and investigate, even if it's nothing special. I wonder, though, what's going to happen in the future as a special commission has been set up in Paris to discuss the future of La Poste against privatisation plans. La Poste is staffed by French civil servants (fonctionnaires); there aren't any yet run by private businesses as in the UK. But like most locals, I like La Poste just as it is. I like the yellow vans, yellow post office signs and yellow postboxes set prominently in every village and town. The post office logo itself though looks like a blue paper aeroplane on a yellow background. Lately there've also been strange American-looking signs proclaiming: I (red-heart) L.A. Many people have been puzzled, wondering why La Poste loves Los Angeles. But it's the new Livret A - a high-interest post office account - they're promoting in an attempt at modernisation. Of course, trouble's already brewing with the Post Office unions. General secretary for Trade Union CFDT Francois Chereque recently said: 'We have to have a public debate on the matter otherwise we cannot understand it or accept it'. But there's the usual stand-off between him and the head of La Poste Jean-Paul Bailly, who said the company would be open to full competition, without fail, on Jan 1st 2011. So, battle-lines are drawn and boxing gloves are at the ready. Pity. I like living in my own little toytown village. You remember Trumpton on children's TV: Drew, Drew, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub...or something. Perhaps the days of our delightful little yellow post van are over. Quel catastrophe!

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