We've all received mail a few days late, sometimes even a week or two.
However, earlier this week, Kirsten Montgomery-Willcox of Macgregor received a postcard that was first posted over a century ago - 108 years to be exact.
What's more remarkable is the postcard's original recipient wasn't even Kirsten, rather her great great grandmother, Jane Tatchell, who lived in England her whole life.
The postcard was posted on August 29, 1911 from the seaside village of Sheringham in north-east England by Ethel Tatchell to her mum (Jane), who at the time was living in Fulham in London.
However the vintage postcard, depicting a couple of Sheringham fishermen, went missing for 108 years until it unexpectedly turned up in the letterbox of Mrs Tatchell's old home this year.
Bewildered as to the arrival of a century-old postcard in his letterbox, the resident had never heard of a Mrs Tatchell (not surprising given she died around 1939) and turned to Facebook to try and find a living relative.
Amateur genealogist Julia Carter saw the Facebook post and subsequently tracked down Kirsten via her family tree on ancestry.com.
"I couldn't resist taking a look at the 1911 census to see if I could locate the Tatchell family," she says.
Kirsten was "more than happy" to finally receive the postcard on her great great grandmother's behalf.
"I couldn't believe it when I was first contacted. Just how could a postcard go missing for so long," she says.
"I must admit I did give a chuckle when the postcard arrived safely in an envelope complete with a sticky note, cheekily worded 'Better late than never'," she muses.
As to the contents of the postcard. "Well it was basically Ethel, who was about 18 at the time, writing to Jane, her mum, about her trip to the coast," Kirsten says.
"It's nothing controversial, just the sort of postcard any daughter would write to her mum at that age."
While Royal Mail was able to confirm the postcard was first posted in 1911, when contacted by this column the British postal institution didn't react positively to the suggestion it might have been somehow responsible for the inordinate delay in the delivery.
A Royal Mail spokesperson downplayed its role, explaining "it is difficult to speculate what may have happened to this item of mail, but it is likely that it was put back into the postal system by someone recently, rather than it being lost or stuck somewhere. Royal Mail regularly checks all its delivery offices and clears its processing machines daily. Once an item is in the postal system then it will be delivered to the address on the card."
Kirsten doesn't buy Royal Mail's explanation and instead suspects the postcard "may have fallen behind a table or machinery at a post sorting depot and only recently rediscovered during a clean-out."
"I'm not sure what Royal Mail did with it for 108 years, but it's great to finally have it in the family's possession," she says.
While the whereabouts of the postcard for the past century may forever remain a mystery, Kirsten is doing her best to ensure it won't be misplaced again by proudly hanging it on her loungeroom wall. Yes, with the "better late than never" sticky note still attached.
Lost and Found
This column's exposé on John Evan's camera that he lost on a mountain peak in Namadgi National Park in 2017 and was found earlier this year still in the same spot, prompted other readers to reveal other, equally extraordinary tales of lost and found items in our region. Here are my top three.
Gail Neuss, who worked for many years at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, reports that during the 2016 Tidbinbilla Open Day "a lady lost her wallet while travelling on the bus that was taking visitors on loops of the reserve".
A thorough search on the day failed to uncover the lost wallet. However, according to Gail, "on the very next Open Day, 12 months later the wallet was found by a passenger on a bus transporting visitors around the reserve".
"Clearly the wallet had been misplaced on the very same bus, and possibly wedged under a seat, but for it to suddenly be found exactly a year later at the very same location it had been lost is a remarkable coincidence," Gail says.
After she "dropped a bird whistle in Tallaganda State Forest [near Captains Flat] while on a Duke of Edinburgh hike back in 1996", birdwatcher Meg Byrne thought she'd never see it again.
However, Meg reports that "about a year later while walking through a different part of the same forest and nowhere near a track" she noticed something blue in the leaf litter.
She bent down to investigate, and you guessed it.
"It was the same bird whistle I'd lost a year earlier," she exclaims, adding, "although it was weathered and chipped, it still worked."
When newlyweds Justin and Mindy Bush of Bruce went for a picnic at the Cotter on New Year's Day in 2017, they were enjoying the sun until Justin's wedding ring somehow slipped off his finger and into the river.
Panic-stricken, he and his wife searched the river for hours trying to find the lost ring.
"We were about to give-up when suddenly the sun just happened to catch a glint off the ring that was wedged in between two large rocks in the middle of the stream, and Mindy saw it," Justin recalls.
"I've never been so relieved in all my life."
Justin has since had the ring re-sized "to fit more snugly" on his finger.
Search for city's silent cops continues
It seems that most of Canberra's old-style silent cops are long-gone.
While several readers were able to pinpoint the locations of several newer, smaller, bread-plate sized silent cops, the larger dinner-plate sized road features, common at so many intersections in the 1960s and 1970s, appear to have vanished from ACT roads.
And many readers are glad to see the back of them. "Many a Mini (classic ones) was marooned on a silent cop with gearbox oil spilt all over the road," muses Paul Murray, while Kayla Silins reports "mum ran over one once and busted a tyre".
While it seems that many of Canberra's old school silent cops have ended up in the tip, others have been squirreled away in man caves.
"I've got one in my shed, and it's not going anywhere," reports Alan George, of Kambah.
Across our borders it's a different story with many NSW country towns still sporting a silent cop or two. Robert Hancock and Amy Wiggins both report the one at the intersection of Mackay Street and Jindabyne Road in Berridale has been the bane of locals for many years.
"Drivers used to keep running over it, not seeing it so it was recently painted yellow," Robert reports.
Further north, Christine A says, "there are still lots in Newcastle where I learnt to drive, so I notice them but my husband seems to be oblivious to them and sometimes drives straight over the top which drives me crazy," she muses, adding "it's hard evidence he's driving in the wrong spot".
Interestingly, many younger readers including Russell Nankervis and Brost Freezeman had never heard of silent cops, or wondered what their dad had been talking about when in the car as youngsters.
Meanwhile, Leigh Palmer reports on their original purpose. "Silent cops were originally primarily introduced in the 1960s to mark the centre of the intersection, but after diamond turns were allowed, many became redundant".
WHERE IN CANBERRA?
Clue: Near one of Canberra's earliest European cemeteries.
Degree of difficulty: Easy-medium
Last week: Congratulations to Michelle Paxton, of Chisholm, who was the first reader to correctly identify last week's photo (below) as the ruins of the Tooths and Co Brewery in Southey Street, Mittagong, also known as the Mittagong Maltings. Michelle just beat a hoard of other readers, including Roger Shelton of Spence, Geoff and Jenny Wardrobe of Gordon and Cathy Bennett of Wanniassa, to the prize. The maltings was built in 1899 and operational until 1980, after which it became a haunt of those who like to (illegally) snoop around abandoned buildings. It was recently purchased by a developer which has fenced it off, but is yet to release its long-term plan for the historic site.
How to enter: Email your guess along with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first email sent after 10am, Saturday September 14, 2019, will win a double pass to Dendy - The Home of Quality Cinema.
Earlier this week while traipsing around the bush near Bega, Matthew Higgins discovered the wombat he has occasionally spotted, and nick-named "scarnose", was a female.
"I could see movement and hear sound from her pouch," reveals Matthew, who, after watching patiently was eventually "treated to a lovely view of the baby poking its head out of the pouch".
Oh, how cute.
Did You Know? Wombat pouches face backward so that they don't get filled with dirt when the mother is digging.