Life Imitates Art as a Small Town in Dorset Acquires Its Very Own Version of Postman Pat and Jess in the Form of Terry and Beezley
"People have said, 'Don't tell me he's called Jess,' because of Postman Pat's cat, and I have to explain that he's not even mine."
-- Postman Terry Grinter
Ever since 1981 children all over the world have been treated to the wholesome adventures of Postman Pat and his lovable black and white cat, Jess. Set in the fictional rural community of Greendale, the animated series from the BBC chronicles the exploits of the daring duo as they not only deliver the Royal Mail but also become embroiled in the everyday lives of the villagers that they serve.
Now, in a classic example of life imitating art, the coastal community of Lyme Regis in Dorset has acquired its very own real-life version of Postman Pat in the form of forty-four-year-old letter carrier Terry Grinter. Like his more famous fictional counterpart, Grinter also has a cat who rides atop his mailbag in the basket of his bicycle. (See photo above.)
The cat's name is Beezley and he is a six-year-old ginger and white tomcat who has been riding with Grinter for a little more than a year. Oddly enough, he does not even belong to the Brieftrager.
"People have said, 'Don't tell me he's called Jess,' because of Postman Pat's cat, and I have to explain that he's not even mine," Grinter told the Daily Mail on September 15th. (See "The Real Postman Pat and His Ginger and White Cat.")
Grinter, who lives in nearby Charmouth, became acquainted with Beezley while delivering letters to the house of his owner, thirty-seven-year-old Peter Ward, and the pair soon became buddies. "I'm a cat-lover so I always used to stroke him," he related to the Daily Mail. "The first time I lifted him into my basket, I expected him to jump straight out."
To his surprise, however, Beezley did not object and he now accompanies Grinter on his appointed rounds once or twice a week. Whereas Grinter's calling requires that he work in all sorts of inclement weather, Beezley is not under any such obligation.
"He likes sunny days; he's definitely not a wet weather cat," Grinter confessed to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra.
As to why Beezley decided to get into the mail delivery business, there are at least two plausible explanations. For starters, he seems to enjoy all the attention that he gets from the people along the route. Moreover, Grinter's mailbag makes a nice pillow and he takes full advantage of the trip in order to grab a few winks.
The traffic does not seem to bother him but once he gets close to home he impatiently hops out and hoofs it the remainder of the way. Grinter is thus left to complete his work by his lonesome.
Upon reflection, it is not surprising that Beezley would be attracted to the postal service. Cats are known for having a philosophical bent and delivering the mail provides him with plenty of time to speculate upon the state of the world. Besides, the work is not all that strenuous and that is a major consideration with cats as well as with all intelligent beings.
As for the fictional Pat Clifton and Jess, both are still going strong and show no signs of slowing down. (See photo above.)
Photos: Richard Austin of the Daily Mail (Grinter and Beezley) and BBC (Postman Pat and Jess.)