I have been much enjoying the Times Archive Blog recently. Old news can be so much more appealing than new news â€“ that is, news â€“ particularly when, as in this case which I belatedly bring to your attention, it features a postie toppling into a ditch, a scene that could come straight from a Hooting Yard story:
About noon on Thursday as a labourer, in the employ of Mr Cooper, of Pyrford – a village about seven miles from Guildford – was passing through Pondfield, in the neighbourhood of his master’s farm, he espied an object in the ditch, which attracted his attention. On examination the object, which was nearly covered with snow, turned out to be a man named Tappin, the messenger who delivers post letters in the outlying districts of which Pyrford and Wisley form part. Mr Cooper was at once communicated with, and he speedily arranged for the delivery of the letters, while with equal promptitude the messenger was assisted from his bed of snow, where he had been for some hours. Tappin’s account is that he got into the drift and pitched headlong into the ditch, when he was too exhausted to extricate himself.
As the Times’ archivist notes, how pleasing it is that the reporter assures us of the safe delivery of the post beforeÂ mentioning the rescue of the hapless Tappin. I suspect strongly that, almost a century and a half after his ditch trauma, Postie Tappin may be resurrected as a Hooting Yard character.