I’m a nosey neighbour

…And a really crap blogger at the moment, too. But more on that again.

Tonight I got back from work slightly later than I’d intended yet again, almost walking on some post as I walked in the main door. Shuffling through it to make sure that nothing had arrived for me or the flatmates, something caught my attention. In amongst the numerous circulars and other crap that our neighbours seem to receive was a large brown envelope marked RETURN TO SENDER.

This was no ordinary envelope. It was strengthened by a peice of card which formed the back of the envelope, and printed on the paper front near the bottom, in red ink were the words Do Not Bend. Across the central portion, a smaller white pocket-style envelope had been affixed horizontally, presumably in order to allow the larger one to be reused. Hand-written across this space was the following address:


Subsequent wikipedia-ing to satisfy my curiosity as to who this rather familiar-sounding gentleman was led me to an article on General George William Casey Jr. (note not a Major yet, it seems) who it transpires is in charge of the entire U.S. Army presence in Iraq.

So back to the envelope.

Bordering the address on the front of the envelope were various markings – both hand-written and stamped – indicating that this particular item of correspondence should be returned to where it came from. Three UK first class stamps had been attached on the top right, and thoroughly post-marked by the Royal Mail. This letter had obviously gone somewhere before being sent back.

The last two vital clues, which were roughly equal in size were to be found on the back of the envelope. The first contained the name and address of the sender – who I shall identify only as JE – in the form of a British Heart Foundation self-adhesive label. Obviously not meant for use on international post, the word ‘ENGLAND’ has been scrawled in the white space at the very bottom of the label, seemingly in the same pen used to write the recipient’s address. Second was a red stamp indicating the date on which the item had been received by the Pentagon as well as the date on which some check or other had been carried out upon it. Both dates were the same – 28-06-2006.

But despite passing its security check, it seems the message had failed to penetrate much further into the heart of the U.S. military bureaucracy before it was sent back unopened to the strange man that sent it, who LIVES IN OUR BLOCK OF FLATS. And there it lies still – at the bottom of the stairs by the front door.