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Highland 'Postie'

"Highland 'Postie'", watercolour, 25 x 36 cm

This was one of those subjects that turn up by chance sometimes. I had been out sketching this view and was walking back, when a post van passed me. I had seen him coming across the moor in the distance, and the striking colour of the vehicle in the vast, empty, landscape gave me the idea for an unusual painting. My own van happens to be the same make and model, so I was able to use that to get a drawing at the right angle. Then I just had to combine my sketches into one drawing to paint from.

The Royal Mail postal workers, or 'posties' as they are affectionately known, used to be a much-loved part of rural life. They still are, but they don't have the importance that they once did. In a time before electronic devices, when all communication was by written or spoken message, the postal service was a vital link to the outside world for remote communities. As well as carrying mail and messages, postmen and women would often deliver essential supplies and medicines. Unfortunately, with letters almost consigned to history, and business increasingly conducted on-line, I wonder how much longer a postal service can continue.

The van in the painting is on its way to  the farmstead at Dalnawillan, and maybe to the Glutt beyond; a round trip of 12 or 20 miles on a rough stone track. I wonder whether a private company would provide that service for the same price as anywhere else!


  1. Another grand panorama skillfully seeded with a bit of history Keith! I so enjoy reading these!

    The red "postie" offers up the opportunity to serve as a set of visual quotation marks on that vast panorama... an echo the decreased appreciation of the lengthy service and importance that postal service has offered since its early existence. A very "bang for the buck"... or deal, as they say around these parts. And to think that it all started in England... with... "one penny post."Simply amazing in my mind!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Good morning Bruce, I'm glad you enjoyed the read. We've taken it a bit for granted over the years, but the postal service was certainly a wonderful invention.

      All the best,

  2. Ah the wonderful highland postie and his stops at neighbours for his fly cup and news by the fire! This painting would make a fine book illustration!

    1. Hi Caroline. Times have certainly changed. A postman was telling me that they have to follow all sorts of regulations now. They are even told how long they can take for each delivery.

  3. Keith , Loved your history lesson along with a wonderful painting.
    Barbra Joan

    1. Hi Barbra Joan, glad you liked the painting and the story.

  4. Such a lovely painting, Keith. The red van pulls it all together and gives it another dimension. The postal service is, sadly, going the same way here in Australia. As you say, with fewer and fewer people writing letters, red postal vans will soon be a thing of the past.

    1. Thanks Diane. Yes it's sad but inevitable. So much is changing these days that I suppose we just have to be glad of our memories.


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