Even The Properlys, with their penchant for mailed thank you notes, have to admit that it's been a while since they wrote a real letter. They're inspired. And who doesn't love receiving truly personal mail?
Pliny the Younger loved nothing more than a good letter: "There is nothing to write about, you say," he once wrote. "Well then, write and let me know just this – that there is nothing to write about; or tell me in the good old style if you are well."
Needless to say, the ancient Roman friends and family of Pliny the Younger (not to be confused with his more famous philosopher uncle Pliny the Elder, who you imagine could probably have bashed out an interesting postcard) had no email, text messaging, smartphones or other distracting gizmos with which to dull their letter-writing senses. But it's rather reassuring to know that even at the turn of the 2nd century many people, as now, struggled to find the right words when the occasion demanded it.
Fear not though: help is at hand in the form of comedian and serial tweeter Sue Perkins, who is fronting a campaign to get people back into the habit of writing to one another.
"I'm known for being quite gobby but but also I'm quite old fashioned in the sense that I like writing letters," she explains. "I have an almost entirely written correspondence with a few friends of mine who are really busy. We exchange quite long and sometimes quite whimsical, sometimes quite meaningful, sometimes silly letters."
According to Royal Mail research, nine out of 10 people say they love receiving handwritten letters in the post, but most feel too overawed by the process of sending one to start up a correspondence. So on Thursday morning from 11am-12pm, Perkins will host a live letter-writing workshop for followers of her Twitter feed, encouraging people to personalise their letters and cards by helping them compose limericks or jokes.
"Basically it's just to encourage people to be creative," she adds, "to not worry too much about not having Copperplate handwriting and scented notepaper. That culture of letter-writing that can be quite oppressive."
And what would Perkins' current screen foil in their BBC2 series Giles And Sue Live The Good Life, the Times food critic and legendary grammar pedant Giles Coren, make of using Twitter to help people compose letters?
"I'm sure it will antagonise Giles, but don't worry about spelling and grammar and all the rest of it," she advises. "I think it's better to just express oneself than to not do so because you're worried you're not using nuanced phraseology."
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