4 x letters from estate agents telling me they have just let property on my street. It is an extremely long street. This does not impress me.
6 x assorted loan offers from various financial companies.
1 x article my mum has cut out for me from the Sunday Times on ways to either a) increase my income or b) meet men*.
2 x letters from Virgin Media imploring me to give them my Broadband business BUT I NEVER WILL, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? EVEN IF YOU GAVE IT TO ME FOR FREE, I STILL WOULD NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR HATEFUL AND INCESSANT STREAM OF UNINVITED CORRESPONDANCE.
Any 2 of the following: bank statement, payslip, bill.
2 x catalogues from smug middle-class, 'quality' clothes companies with adorable, rosy-cheeked children in brightly coloured wellies on the cover, companies I have never ordered from, yet who arrived in my life just as I started ticking the 33 and over age box, as suddenly and unwelcome...ly as back fat and monstrously hard skin on the soles of my feet did at around the same time.
Number of items of genuine, personal, non-financial, addressed-to-me-by-hand correspondence: appoximately 0.2 (based on receiving one item around every 5 weeks).
So you can imagine my giddy excitement when I came home to find a crisp, cream envelope that bore my name and address, written in an elegant hand, waiting for me on the communal shelf in our communal hallway.
I took it into my flat, sat on my sofa and looked at it for a little while, enjoying the promise of genuine human contact contained within. Whatever was inside would inevitably prove to be a disappointment, so I allowed myself to bathe in the potentiality before I uncovered the hollow truth. Life taught me to be pessimistic at a young age, when Jim'll Fix It did not respond to my letter.
But I was wrong. Inside was a card written to me by a shop assistant who had sold me some perfume in Jo Malone about six weeks before. I had thought the time we spent together discussing woody florals and uplifting citrus meant nothing to her. Oh, foolish, foolish girl.
Aww. R had sat down, after a hard day of spraying perfume on white shards of card for indecisive idiots like me, to write to her valued customers, no photocopying, no Dear Sir/Madam, no automatic franking machine, but instead tender strokes of biro and stamps. Stamps! I was, whatever flippant showing off is to follow, genuinely pleased to receive her card and impressed by her superior approach to customer service (NB: she does not have a Saturday job in Bromley, as far as I am aware, and is over the age of 20).
Now I'm not entirely sure how to respond.
Should I write back?
'Dear R, how lovely to hear from you. I hope you have been well. You must be very excited about the new English Pear & Freesia fragrance rolling out across stores nationwide in September. I know I am! I've had the week off work, so I've been able to up my pitiful blog-post rate temporarily. Too bad no one told the weather I was on holiday! Looking forward to catching up with you soon and don't work too hard! Fondest regards, Miss Jones x'
On the another hand, perhaps I should surprise her by waiting outside the shop until I can see, through the window, that she has her back turned, then sneak in and put my hands over her eyes and say 'Guess who?!' (I may disguise my voice at this point. I do quite a good Loyd Grossman. Or one particular group of ex-colleagues used to love it when I did the voice of the pineapple from the old TipTop advert.) Then when she prises my hands from her eyes – her voice rising in borderline panic/irritation – and turns round, I'll give her a massive hug and ask her if she wants to pop out and get some lunch with me.
Maybe I could take her in a tuna sandwich and a latte.
This is ridiculous, of course.
She might be a vegetarian. I should make it egg mayonnaise.
* I should say that I would be very sad indeed if she stopped doing this.