The traditional meaning of PC

PUBLISHED: 11:58 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:34 06 May 2010

AS the holiday season gets into full swing, I note with sadness the apparently drastic decline of a particularly British tradition. It s had its heyday, granted, but the nation will be a more sorrowful place if what is predicted comes to pass and we see t

AS the holiday season gets into full swing, I note with sadness the apparently drastic decline of a particularly British tradition.

It's had its heyday, granted, but the nation will be a more sorrowful place if what is predicted comes to pass and we see the demise of the holiday postcard.

Perish the thought, but some say that those little pieces of card decorated with saucy scenes or picturesque photos will some day be replaced by soulless electronic versions.

Life will not be the same if they are.

For kids and many adults, I would suggest, one of the joys of going on holiday is sending postcards to friends and family stuck back home.

The pleasure in sending them involves the whole paraphernalia of choosing the appropriate ones, dreaming up a witty few words - but quite often failing and instead writing something inane like "having a lovely time" - buying stamps, sticking them on and then depositing the mail in the post box.

When I was a lad on family holidays, one of the first things we did on arrival at the seaside was to buy the postcards.

They may not have gone on their way for a day or few after that but they invariably were delivered to their destinations before we got back.

That was in the days when the Royal Mail was a seven-day-a-week service and really was first class.

Then, nearly everyone went on holiday in this country. Now that we prefer to travel to more exotic climes, its odds on that the postcards will not arrive before we return but that, of course, is the fault of the foreign postal services.

According to new research, nearly seven out of 10 of us would prefer to send personalised electronic postcards via the internet.

The main reasons given were that it would save the hassle and time of the snail mail type.

But it is for those very reasons that the card postcards are special.

Recipients know that real effort has gone into sending postcards, some of which are highly cherished and kept for years. Can you imagine anyone bothering to do that with electronic postcards? They may be glanced at before being quickly deleted and never thought of again.

Who would bother to print out an electronic postcard and stick it on the office noticeboard?

Although the demise of traditional postcards is said to be nigh, I think otherwise.

I am heartened by another fact which emerged from the survey. This showed that nearly six out of 10 people who responded to it said they still send postcards while they are away.

What also worried me was this - the surveyors pointed out that with the benefit of digital and mobile photography, it is now easier for people to share their own personal snapshots with loved ones - almost instantly if they like.

Once they used to organise a special evening for displaying of holiday pictures weeks after getting back. And that gave you plenty of time to come up with an excuse for not attending.


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