So, a ham, brie, lettuce and mayo sandwich, packet of crisps, cup of tea, two milk chocolate malted milk biscuits, a hot chocolate (in progress) and a handful of Bitsa Wispa bites, oh and searching out my favourite pencils, weirdly ones from tourist attractions, in this case a yellow Hurst Castle one and a pink Blenheim Palace one both miraculously with erasers still in tact, later and I’m ready to write a blog! Hold on, just a couple more Bitsa Wispa…
Once I get going I love it, but it’s the getting going sometimes isn’t it. Maybe it’s because it feels like a luxury to come and sit up the shed pondering the wonderfulness of having, well, not just 500 members, but 525 as of this morning’s post, and especially while there are loads of boring jobs to be doing, so some weird psychology says don’t do the thing you’d enjoy but stick a load of washing on and/or run the hoover round or maybe just grab yourself something else to eat first! Even the hot beverage is a distraction, not least because as I went to fill the kettle up and wash all the limescale out (hard water area) I noticed the nozzle off the tap that husband had glued back on two days ago floating around in the bottom of it. I daren’t Google any possible side effects.
But 525 members. That is such a lovely milestone, it deserves a little blog even if it is a bit waffly. By chance I found a copy of a letter I sent to Stephen Mangan back on 6th August 2018 and I was telling him how excited I was to have 24 actual paid up members. It was quite something to write again last night and tell him we had 524. A whole 500 more, and each one of those will have had a letter to say welcome onboard. I wrote to see if he’d write to the lovely Matty Hatton. Someone may have contacted him already but Matty went on the BBC Children in Need Mastermind a few years ago and Stephen was hosting it. I always say there’s no pressure to write but equally I thought he might remember him. I must try and find the link to Matty’s victory – it was very impressive.
I also wanted to tell Mr Mangan all about the amazing Society highlights since I last wrote but it’s a blessing in many ways that there’s only limited space on a single piece of parchment you want to wax-seal. But actually I decided the loveliest thing about the last three years has been the positive impact the Society has had on people who have found us. That and the feeling still, that for me at least, writing letters is my cure-all.
I’ve started collecting little quotes from people’s letters to show others the effect letter writing has, and also when I one day apply for a grant to take my Postbus out on the road I’ll have some real evidence of the change writing letters brings.
Letter writing feels like my constant no matter what the state of the world and is always there to lend a hand and make sense of it all. I don’t know what the next few weeks, months, years hold but I’m so glad you’ve all come along for the ride, and I don’t just mean THLAS members but anyone who has picked up a pen and sent a letter. Our quiet revolution in the art of intimacy is really gathering pace, and it’s wonderful to see.
Now, if you’ll excuse me it must be time for a jam ‘n’ cream biscuit and another cup of tea (nozzle sealant optional).
Some of the lovely quotes from letters I’ve received:
- I came across your wonderful Society on social media and I would very much like to join.
- I was excited when I accidentally found your website “The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society”. What a find for someone who enjoys the almost lost art of letter writing. I have been perusing the website features – the art, articles, etc, as well as the links. Thank you for doing such a comprehensive job.
- Thank you for your letter and delighted to have become a member of the Society – seldom have I joined anything so worthwhile for a very long time.
- I’m so pleased I came across your lovely Society, although I regularly handwrite letters and have done since a small child you’ve opened up and fired my enthusiasm.
- Happy 3rd birthday to The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society. Thank you for creating it. I have already derived such joy from the group, creating friendships with those I would not have otherwise met.
- Well, 2021 approaches, and not long after that the anniversary of my joining your brilliant Society. I wanted to say thank you for all your encouragement and for brightening up the year. I’m sure that I have written many more letters than I normally would have done – and I have made new friends too. Creativity has been unleashed and a love of stationery re-awakened.
- I was so happy to receive my membership pack in the post, and thank you for your letter, which I really enjoyed reading. Gosh, I’d forgotten how special it feels to receive a handwritten letter.
- I just wanted to thank you for the joy you help spread through The Handwritten Letter Society and your social media posts.
- I am so pleased to be a member of a fast-growing group of letter writers. I find the tempo of writing a letter matches the rhythm of my soul. Writing one often gives me the same sense of warmth and relief of sharing a belly laugh with friends or having the perfect cup of tea.
- You have created a wonderful “page” on Twitter! Thank you!
- I’ve been reading through your “Adventures in Letter Writing” blogs most mornings during the festive season, usually with a mug of tea and chocolate biscuit (got to empty the tin before crack down (Jan 4th). Really interesting reading, thank you.
- I have just read your article in the Swanage Oracle, and was thrilled to learn of your existence. There is so much pleasure to be gained from penning a letter and I would love to know more about your Society.
- I think letter writing is such a positive action, it allows one to express your feelings and work out solutions in a sharing way. Please carry on with this great work.
- I’ve had a lovely time enthusing about letters and talking to people. I think your little Society is a HUGE success! Well done you!
- Thank you so much for yesterday! My son couldn’t stop telling us how fun it was! He had a great time and now he wants to write letters to everybody! We really appreciate all you have done!
- I’m also hoping to encourage my two boys to become letter writers – they are 6 and 10 and love making up stories and reading so I figured letter writing would be the next step. So thank you for being the inspiration to start letter writing again.
- On behalf of Sandford and Wareham WI, thank you so much for such an enjoyable talk last Monday. We really enjoyed it.
- I think THLAS is fantastic. All these different lives, connected by paper and ink.
- Many thanks again for your lovely note. It is heartening to know that other people relish the prospect of tearing open an envelope with words in it!
- The HLAS is going from strength to strength, which is brilliant to see.
- By the way my new hobby is writing letters to other people. You have really inspired me to do it. Thanks for the badge and certificate! I love them.
- So good to hear from you and thank you for adding me to the Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society and thank you for starting this initiative!
- Thank you so much for your kind letter, and the membership pack. I put the certificate in a frame on top of my bookcase. I think that it’s wonderful to have a society dedicated to handwritten letters.
- I found you online and read your website and then I was impressed!
- Many thanks for setting up THLAS, we hope it gives inspiration to many more people in the future.
- My congratulations on your truly marvellous innovation in creating such a fabulous Society, one I am most proud to be part of.
- I am delighted to be a member of your Society; long may handwritten letters flourish.
- I’ve been inspired by your Handwritten Letter Society to include handwritten letters in Christmas cards this year.
- Well done for inspiring the next generation to keep on writing to each other.
- Keep up the good work of keeping letter writing alive.
- Your Society is a wonderful idea.
- An inspirational lady all year round!
- You really are the “Bees knees” when it comes to creating something very special. Many congrats on the 2nd anniversary of the “HLAS”.
- Thank you for the hard work you are undertaking to get people writing again.
- Being able to send letters and cards during these COVID times has made me so happy. Thank you for running your Society. It brings joy to so many people’s lives.
- Thank you for entertaining us with a lovely “old fashioned” pastime…
- I feel this is going to become a wonderful addition to my life so thank you very much for allowing me to join.
- This group is one of the groups that has kept me going!! – so thank you.
- Thank you so much for the inspiration and I hope that you can continue to inspire me and countless others in the future.
My evening with Mr Mangan (sort of)…