Ink, monotype and gouache on Japanese tissue
I finished three works for the On a Small Scale exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery this week. Usually I catch the train to Edinburgh to hand them into the gallery, it's a highlight of my year - the beautiful journey across the Forth Bridges followed by a warm welcome when I arrive at the Gallery. This year was different, though, due to coronavirus measures. Fife, where I live, is in tier 2 restrictions at the moment while Edinburgh is higher in tier 3, and people have been told to remain in their own health board districts and not to travel unless absolutely necessary. I decided to post my works this year.
Great! There were no queues, I handed the envelope through the glass screen where the lady member of Royal Mail staff swooped on it with a sort of intake hiss. "I see you have bought postage for a Large Letter." "Yes," I replied innocently. With a flourish, she whipped out a large metal board with slots in it and attempted to push my envelope through to demonstrate with great delight it was not a Large Letter but in fact a Small Parcel, which slot completely dwarfed my envelope. She repeated the performance several times to drive her point home.
"Oooh," she said, "they won't like that at the sorting office. They are sticklers for their sizes! They will make a charge at the recipient's end, if they don't send it back to you."
"Oh," I said, "in that case can I pay the excess to upgrade the postage?"
"We don't handle cash here" was the smug reply.
So my shamed little Jiffy bag went out into the world with its precious cargo, underpaid and forlorn. When I got home I calculated the difference was £1.44, so I emailed the gallery and warned them and said if they were charged I would reimburse via bank transfer. The next day I received an email from Royal Mail 24 Tracked saying my parcel had been delivered. I assume everything was fine because the gallery haven't contacted me asking for the excess postage. Only in Britain!