27th December 2023
Hello lovely letter writers! Have you had a good Christmas? It’s a little difficult to keep track of the days around this time of year, isn’t it, but instead of spending the early evening in limbo, grazing the Christmas leftovers or looking out at the terrible weather in a trance, I thought it might be nice to hide away upstairs in my childhood bedroom and write a few words looking back on 2023 and what stood out from all the lovely highlights.
Maybe I should have planned this out more. Been chronological about it, but I don’t know, me and planning? For example, for all the (I’d say about 100) notebooks I have at home, and generally carry around with me, I forgot to bring one away so had to buy another one on a flying visit to Tesco for bread and milk. It was only a pound and has “Make yourself proud” on the front, which felt very motivational for nearly the New Year. (Let’s see how long that lasts.) I also forgot my favourite blog writing pencil so resorted to rummaging around all the pots and drawers and counters for a working one. I found one eventually, but it’s possibly from the 1980s by the state of it and the eraser on the end, but by some miracle I did also find a semi-working pencil sharpener to hand, so we’re all set.
So, looking back at 2023, the highlights, off the top of my head… Lots of wonderful Society shoutouts from the lovely Rob Beckett on BBC Radio 2, as well as having a chat with him the week before Christmas; going to meet the talented and charming Axel Scheffler at his exhibition at Taunton Museum back on a hot summer’s day; a dedication in Jackie Morris’ postcard box-set; the Society’s Big Summer #PostcardDrop2023; our 6th Birthday celebrations; and, of course, our feature on the hit TV show Have I Got News For You!
The quieter, less showy moments over the year, contained within handwritten letters sent to THLAS HQ with messages of thanks and encouragement for setting up the Society are always something that lodges in my head and heart too. Members, friends, family and strangers make up such a special community of letter writing, postbox and stationery enthusiasts. It’s like truly finding your people, but gathering up everyone else on the way as well. A completely inclusive club, if that isn’t an oxymoron. So mostly, I just wanted to say thank you for helping to slowly but surely put handwritten letters back on the map, the world over!
Oh, and how could I forget the amazing #PostboxSaturday phenomena (if that isn’t too grand a word) that has gone from strength to strength. Between us we only went and got it trending at Number 1 back in July! As we drove up here to Oxfordshire and stopped off at a nice “topped” postbox at Lytchett Minster, I pondered a nation (world!) of postbox spotters pulling up in a street or layby, or stopping off on a walk or cycle ride, alone or with friends and family, to snap a photo of a handsome or pretty, or neglected and forlorn postbox to share with other postbox admirers around the globe. Much like letter writing, a gentle pursuit to make ourselves and others smile. We might get mocked for it but I guarantee those who mock eventually start spotting postboxes and reporting back or whatsapping finds from days out to those they teased.
So yes, little Tesco “Make yourself proud” notebook, I think all of us members here at The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society can definitely feel that, wouldn’t you agree? I don’t know what 2024 holds for us, well, apart from some lovely letter writing and postbox spotting, but we can all hold our heads up high and remember what a good job we’re doing to keep letter writing well and truly alive.
Carry on, team!